A glossary of terms relating to
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
brightwork Anything reflective added to a car to enhance appearance. May also be called chrome.
cab Short for cabin. The enclosed compartment of a vehicle which contains the driver and passengers.
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.
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.
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.
greenhouse The windows of an automobile.
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.
overhang The distance which the car extends beyond the wheelbase.
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.
powertrain All the components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface.
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.
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.
valvetrain The mechanisms and parts which control the operation of the valves.
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 ]