Readers Rides

Muscle Car Terminology: Then and Now.

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By Mark Weisseg

I admit I get lost at times with the terminology used today regarding our classic cars. Let me try to figure out what is meant today versus when I grew up in the Middle Ages.

Shaved. That meant a razor and your face
Tubbed. That meant you finally got a bath
Channeled. This meant you focused your brain
Chopped. This meant you cut meat smaller
Rat Rod. You had mice in your car
Da Bomb. Meant a very loud explosion was about to happen
Bad. Meant your car was lousy
Lowered. Meant your pay was reduced
Hi rider. Meant you were wearing flood pants
Burnout. Meant one was a drug user
Boss. The person you tried to avoid at work

….And so on and so on. I guess I could go on but you get my drift. ( no pun intended)
I just find it funny how wording has changed from, Gee Wally, and Gosh Superman, or that girls were Chicks, and guys were Dudes. The English language has change so much in just a few decades. We spell words that do not sound as such and I wonder if we spelled words the way they sounded it would have been easier. Can someone explain how we ever came up with saying of the state Arkansas? Should it be Arkansaw?

Anyway it’s too late now to change the spelling bee but I do enjoy hearing new words being used. Slang has always been part of our being but it just takes us older guys a bit longer to catch on. I mean when I was young if a guy wore an earring it wasn’t acceptable and if he had a tattoo he was a gangster or a sailor. We never saw piercings and being a bald guy was bad, and you bought a cheap rug for your head. See, a bit of slang there.

I encourage the classic car slangs that somehow get started because I do not want to sound like Eddie from Leave it Beaver when I see a nice classic. “Gee Sir, that is one nice automobile you are driving and I hope you have a wonderful day.” Corny by today’s standards I guess, as long as we do not lose sight of the politeness factor.

Rarely if you see a car that is clearly bad you say to the owner, “you idiot, what a piece of garbage you are driving, I’d rather be seen in a coffin”. No, we are usually polite and smile and say something intelligent and leave and then break into laughter.
Let’s hope we do not lose sight of being courteous even if the words have changed. The first time someone said to me, “Mark, your car is smokin.,” I turned around expecting to see fire billowing out the fenders! Now, I listen closer to people so I don’t get left behind and say something corny and be the laughing stock for the day.

But a part of me wishes we could settle on what really is Rad and Boss once and for all.

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