Appendix:Glossary of automotive design

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A glossary of terms relating to automotive design.


B[edit]

beltline
The line going from the hood which usually follows the bottom edge of the windows and continues to the trunk.
bling
(contemporary) See brightwork. May also refer to the strong use of jeweled lighting. Comes from the term bling-bling.
brightwork
Anything reflective added to a car to enhance appearance. May also be called chrome.

C[edit]

cab
Short for cabin. The enclosed compartment of a vehicle which contains the driver and passengers.
cab back
The cab of the vehicle is moved to the rear of the vehicle. Cars such as a 1970's Corvette could be considered cab back design.
cab forward
The cab of the vehicle is pushed forward. This design aesthetic was popular with Chrysler in the late 1990s.
chrome
brightwork using chrome plating.
cladding
material (usually plastic) added to exterior of the car which isn't structurally necessary. May be functional to keep out dirt/debris as in underbody cladding, or may be cosmetic.

F[edit]

frame-on-rail
A design used in older (pre-unibody) cars, trucks, and SUVs. The powertrain and body are mounted to a rigid structural framework called a rail.

G[edit]

greenhouse
The windows of an automobile.

H[edit]

hood
(Bonnet in English speaking countries outside North America) The hatch covering the engine on vehicles when the engine is located forward or aft of the passenger compartment.

O[edit]

overhang
The distance which the car extends beyond the wheelbase.

P[edit]

pillar
A structural member that connects the roof to the body of the car. Pillars are usually notated from front to back alphabetically.
plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
A hybrid vehicle that can be plugged into the electric grid to recharge its battery to reduce gasoline usage.[1]
powertrain
All the components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface.

S[edit]

scoop
any inset or protusion that implies the intake of air. May be functional for cooling/ventilation or purely ornamental.
sill line
an imaginary line drawn following the bottom edge of the greenhouse glass.
softtop soft-top
a convertible top which is made out of flexible materials like PVC or textile.
spoiler
A wing which is used to improve downforce. Some designs are more functional than others.
staggered wheel fitment
The front and rear wheels are different widths. On sporty rear wheel drive cars, the rear tires are usually wider than the front.
sage line
a crease or curvature in the side of the body used to create visual drama. Sometimes the crease is functional and improves rigidity of the outer body.

T[edit]

track
The distance across the car between the base of the left and right wheels. (Like wheelbase, but side to side.)
truck
A typically large vehicle built using frame-on-rail construction consisting of a cab and a separate bed for cargo.
trunk
(Boot in UK) Compartment for storage of cargo which is separate from the cab.

V[edit]

valvetrain
The mechanisms and parts which control the operation of the valves.

W[edit]

wedge
May be positive, negative or neutral. Refers to the shape of the car as seen in the side profile. If the front is lower than the rear, then it is wedge-positive. If the rear is lower it is wedge-negative. If the car appears level from front to rear, then it is wedge neutral.
wheel arch
The visible opening in the side of a car allowing access to the wheel.
wheelbase
The distance front to back measured from where the front and rear wheels meet the ground.
wheel well (or bucket)
The enclosure or space for the wheel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ See also "Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction"