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This is a glossary of some of the more common terminology used to describe types of car body design, and equipment fitted thereon. It is by no means the last word, just a guide to help you through.

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| N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |


- a general description of an object having special value because of it's age (usually more than 100years old) in automotive terms it tends to refer to a vehicle that was built prior to 1915.
ALL WEATHER - a term used in the twenties and thirties to denote a four door convertible sedan.

- the literal translation is 'bath tub'. It refers to cars at the beginning of the century in Europe with two rows of raised seats (single seats or divans) similar to those used in turn of the century horse drawn carriages. Baquets were generally without front doors, a top or a windshield. In the United States the term 'touring' was often used. Also see Phaeton
BARCHETTA - an open top car dedicated to racing without doors or a top and with uniform and streamlined bodywork. It could have one or two separate seats.
BAROUCHE- a carriage term very rarely used for automobiles. The driver sat in an open front seat with two couples facing each other inside a closed cabin. There was a folding top over the rear seat.
BATEAU - The shape of the rear end of open-topped racers at the beginning of the century, which looked like the hull of a boat. Also see Boattail.
BERLINE - a sedan
BOATTAIL - the tapered form of the rear-end. The term literally describes the shape of the vehicle tail, which resembled the bow of a boat. Popular in racing. Also see Bateau
BONNET - English term for panel that covers the engine. Americans call it a hood.
BOOT - English term for panel that covers the rear luggage compartment. Americans call it a trunk.
BROUGHAM - in early motoring this broad term signified a closed car for two or four persons. In later forms it was often found to describe a car with an open front driver's compartment. When coupled with sharp lines and flat surfaces it may be called a 'Panel Brougham'.
BULLNOSE - a term in use in England during the 1920's to indicate a type of radiator, which supposedly resembled the nose of a bull! E.g.: Bull-nose Morris.
BUSINESS COUPE - a simple two-door coupe without a rumble seat, such as used by doctors, bankers and salesman etc. Everyday transport for the middleclass.

- generally this means a convertible car with windows. However, this term has changed meaning significantly over the years and can even mean different things in different countries. During the 1920's and 30's in Europe it meant an open car with a top, two doors and four seats, which was most often derived from a sedan. The equivalent in Great Britain was called a drop-head coupe while the English used the term Cabriolet to mean a four door open top car. Concurrently in the United States, the term used was Convertible coupe. Today Cabriolet describes open top cars derived from a sedan or coupe. It could also be understood to mean an open top car with two rows of seats with just two doors. Although in reality it can have any number of doors and windows.
CHUMMY - In England from 1920 and up, a chummy was an open top car. The vehicle was usually a 2+2 i.e.: two full-sized seats up front with two small 'occasional' seats in the rear.
CLASSIC - according to the Classic Car Club of America this term refers only to specific or important marques built between 1925 and 1942 (with certain post-war exceptions). It is however applied today by owners of almost any collectible car more that is more than 25 years old.
CLUB COUPE - a two-door closed car with a rear seat.
COACH-LINE - a painted accent line on the body of a car. Modern equivalent is the pinstripe.
CONCOURS (d'Elegance) - a gathering or show of the elegant.
CONVERTIBLE - In short, a car with a folding top and windows! In the US from 1927 on, the term was used to mean a car with a soft, retractable top was hooked permanently to the bodywork, and therefore not removable like a roadster's was. Other requisites were side windows that opened and the absence of any framework above the waist of the car apart from the windshield. The most common example of the was therefore called a convertible coupe these had two doors, whilst cars with four doors were called convertible sedans. In both cases four or five people could be seated.
CONVERTIBLE ROADSTER - a convertible is an open car with windows; a roadster is an open car without windows, hence a term which contradicts itself. Used by Lincoln, Chrysler and others about 1930 to emphasize sportiness.
CONVERTIBLE VICTORIA - a four passenger two door two-window cabriolet.
- a closed car with two doors for two or three people and a roofline that generally curves at the back. May also have a rudimentary rear seat in which case it is usually called a Club Coupe.
COUPE CHAUFFEUR - chauffeur driven car with passengers fully enclosed and the chauffeur exposed. Body has a blind rear quarter.
COUPE DeVILLE - or "town coupe", applied imaginatively to various body styles Usually a four passenger two-door car with a permanently closed roof over the rear seats and a removable top covering the front seats. See Sedanca
COUPELET - a term used especially by Ford to describe a Model T two seater Cabriolet.
COUPE LIMOUSINE - chauffeur driven car with the passengers fully enclosed and the chauffeur exposed. Body has rear quarter windows.
CYCLE FENDERS - usually a front and sometimes a rear fender similar to that used on a motorcycle which follows the curvature of the wheel.

- a sliding roof over the front seat with side arms that folded back into the remaining roof thus producing a Sedanca configuration in metal rather than the usual fabric.
DICKEY - or Rumble seat. An extra external seat that could be accessed by lifting a forward-opening 'trunk-like' lid in the rear of the car.
DROPHEAD COUPE - British term for the equivalent of the American convertible, or the European Cabriolet.
DUAL COWL - a design of touring car, which saw the cab, divided into two compartments, front and back. Separated with a rear windshield mounted on a folding cowl, which covers part of the rear compartment.

- a station wagon, or four-door, four passenger car with an extended roof line plus a gate or hatch in the rear for increased cargo capacity.

- a fixed head coupe made to resemble a cabriolet.
FENCERS MASK - The term used to describe a type of radiator grille design from the 1930's which resembled a fencers mask for it's shape and fine weave of the grille.
- a closed coupe.
FORDOR - Ford's name for a four door sedan.

- a body with a 'tear drop' design, flowing down to the rear.
GOVERNOR - a device used with the carburetor to restrict maximum engine speed.
GRAN TURISMO (GT) - grand touring
GP - Grand Prix or Great Prize.
GT - Grand Touring

- a removable top to replace the soft-top. It typically made from fiberglass, although sometime steel and usually painted the same color as the body of the car.
HOOD - American terminology for the sheet metal panel covering the engine.
HOOD - British terminology a convertibles soft-top.
HORSELESS CARRIAGE - a term defined by the Horseless Carriage Club of America applying to cars built before 1915 (See also Antique)


- a partially opened limousine. The open part was usually in the front where the driver sat.
LANDAULET - a Landau limousine in which the section over the rear seats also opens or folds down.
LIGHT - a small window as in sidelight, quarterlight, skylight etc.
LIMOUSINE - a chauffeured sedan often with a longer wheelbase and usually with a division between the driver and the passengers. The rear compartment had luxurious features with controls for heating, radio and opening and closing the glass or wood division.

- a make or brand of car.
MM - Mille Miglia, a 1000 mile Italian road race from 1927 to 1957.
MOTHER-IN-LAW SEAT - a single sideways-facing rear seat. Usually found in coupes or cabriolets.


- a two door closed car with a small folding seat beside the driver. This allowed easy passage to a rear seat for two, usually offset to the right in left-hand drive cars.

PHAETON - it means opened top car with four seats. French term taken from the Greek "Phaeton" who drove the chariot of his sun-god father, Helios. A small four door open touring car.

or QUARTER LIGHT- the small triangular side window to the rear most of the rear door glass, and foremost of the front door main glass.

- See soft-top
RIB - a bow made of metal or wood that makes up part of the rigid or semi-rigid frame of a convertible top.
ROADSTER - The term roadster has had several meanings depending on the origin and period. One thing everyone agrees on is that they did not have a top. Most recently the term has meant sportscar, generally it's accepted to mean, small and powerful two-seater sportscar.
ROLL BAR - A metal bar fashioned in such a way to protect the driver in the event the car rolls over.
RUNABOUT - A small light two seater. Runabout was mainly an American term to indicate small open car, very basic and cheap. Predecessor to the Roadster.

- A type of early body design in which the top extended for a quarter of a circle and covered only the passengers in the rear seats.
SHOOTING BRAKE - This is a European term used typically to describe a car that is a cross between a two-door sports coupe and an estate car. Made popular by the well heeled as they wanted a vehicle to move larger than normal amounts of cargo (even dogs when grouse shooting) without having to resort to a dowdy estate car or station wagon!
SPORTIF - a very tight or narrow type of Phaeton.
SPORT COUPE - a closed coupe with a cloth top and sometimes landau irons resembling a convertible.
SPYDER - a light two-seater roadster (also called a Spider). The European term for the English Roadster.
SS - Super Sport
- a utility car built of wood, typically with four doors.
SUBURBAN - a seven passenger limousine
SUICIDE DOOR- a rear hinged door, typically for the front seat. At speed any chance opening would cause the door to whip backward with great force.
SUPERLEGGERA - super light

- a coupe with a removable roof panel (or panels) from above the heads of the front seat occupants.
THREE POSITION COUPE - A Coupe de Ville which may be presented as a fully closed coupe, a deVille Coupe with the front section open or a fully collapsible convertible.
TONNEAU - the rear compartment of a car body, usually an open touring body. i.e. Phaeton
TONNEAU COVER - soft cover used on parked roadsters to protect the cab from rain when the top is down.
TORPEDO - a long wheelbase very smooth touring car with flat panel's low doors and sides that offered no protection from the weather. They succeeded Tourers and Phaetons.
TOURING CAR - a four door open car, four seats and without windows. US equivalent of the European Baquet.
TOWN CABRIOLET - A town car in which the covered rear section converts to an open car.
TOWN CAR - a chauffeur driven car with the passengers fully enclosed and the chauffeur exposed. Also known as a Sedanca de Ville or Town Brougham
TUDOR SEDAN - Ford's term for a two door.
- Packard's first twelve-cylinder car introduced in late 1915 and produced until 1920. When Packard reintroduced the new V12 in 1932, the term was reused for that first year only.

- an automobile whose frame passed underneath the axles. Used primarily by the American Motor Company of Indianapolis from 1907 to 1914

- a close coupled two-door sedan or an enlarged coupe with a rear seat. Also a four door open car with folding top over the rear seat only.
VINTAGE - formerly a term describing cars built between 1915 and 1925 but now used broadly, especially in England, to include cars manufactured between 1920 and 1942.
VIS A VIS - a term used generally to describe a seating arrangement where the passengers sit facing each other.

- a patented body in which wooden frame members were joined by metal strips preventing the wood from touching and squeaking.
WINDOW STRAP - a strap attached to the base of a window, which passed inside the body up to the sill, and into the interior of the car. It could be used to pull the window up. Holes in the strap could be buckled against an interior pin to hold the window at various elevations.
- English term for windshield
- English term for fender
- a patented name for a shuttered radiator cover by the Pines Co., which could be opened and closed to regulate engine temperature.
- a motor vehicle incorporating natural finished wood for structure and all exposed parts of the body. The term has been loosely applied to any car, which uses wood coverings, even over metal.


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