The car hobby has its own language, as do most special interest groups. Many terms sound foreign to newcomers. References to people and events take time to learn.
Within the greater automotive spectrum there are many subgroups—each with specialized terms. The following lexicon is designed to help readers better understand all things Mopar.
Many words cross over into general car talk, and some have slightly different meanings when used outside Chrysler circles. For example, a 1969 Camaro cross ram intake manifold positions one staggered carburetor near each valve cover, but an early sixties Chrysler longhorn cross ram intake places the carbs outside the valve covers, almost touching the inner fender wells.
Some terms can be slang, regional, or dated, but the following definitions are generally accepted and should help you speak passable Mopar.
AAR ’Cuda: A 1970-only, mid-year introduction special model built so Plymouth could compete in the SCCA Trans-Am race series. AAR stands for All American Racers, which was the name of Dan Gurney’s race teams. Gurney fielded an AAR ’Cuda team. The cars were powered by a special 340-ci V-8 with tri-power. Total AAR production was 2,724 units.
A-Body: The designation for rear-wheel-drive compacts such as Dart, Valiant, Duster, Demon, and first generation Barracudas.
A/FX: The NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) class known as A/Factory Experimental. This is the class where altered wheelbase Mopars competed in the sixties.
A100: The model designation for compact, cab-forward Dodge half-ton vans and pickups built between 1964 and 1970.
Airflow: The revolutionary streamlined body style used from 1934 through 1937 on Chrysler, De Soto, and Imperial sedans and coupes. The look was too far ahead of its time and didn’t sell well.
Air Grabber: The pop-up, driver-activated hood scoop introduced on the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner and GTX. Dodge called their version the Ram Charger.
Altered Wheelbase: Dick Landy pioneered the forward placement of the front and rear wheels for better weight transfer and greater traction. These non-stock changes led to the A/FX Mopars.
B-Body: The designation for rear-wheel-drive sixties and seventies full size cars such as Coronet, Belvedere, GTX, Charger, Road Runner, and Super Bee.
Billboards: Oversize graphics that covered virtually all of the rear quarter panels and part of the doors on high performance 1971 ’Cudas.
Carter AFB: A popular Mopar four-barrel carburetor. AFB stands for aluminum four-barrel. Twin Carter AFB carbs fed street Hemi engines.
Charger: Dodge’s highly successful full size fastback (and fastback styled) B-body that combined performance and luxury.
Charger 500: This 1969 limited production Dodge Charger was the Charger Daytona predecessor. The Charger 500 was built specifically for NASCAR. It had a flush mounted rear window and grille for improved aerodynamics. The Charger 500 designation was also used in 1970 on middle trim level Chargers.
Chrysler 300-Hurst: A limited edition 1970 Chrysler two-door hardtop coupe that was customized by the Hurst Shifter Company and sold through Chrysler dealers. All 500 coupes were white with gold trim.
Chrysler, Walter: Founder of the Chrysler Corporation. He was previously General Manager of Buick and President of Willys-Overland. He bought the Maxwell Motor Corporation in 1923 and used it as the foundation of Chrysler. The first Chrysler branded car appeared in 1924. He bought Dodge and originated Plymouth and De Soto.
Cross Ram Induction: A style of dual four-barrel intake manifold that places the carburetors side by side instead of inline.
’Cuda: A contraction of Barracuda used to designate the highest performance models.
Direct Connection: The original 1974 name for Chrysler’s high performance and racing parts program. It was an expanded version of Chrysler Performance Parts. Direct Connection sponsored many successful seventies drag racers and outstanding performance seminars. The Direct Connection catalog was an industry leader. The name was changed to Mopar Performance.
Dodge, Horace and John: The two brothers that founded the auto company that bears their name. They originally made engines for Henry Ford and were Ford shareholders. Walter P. Chrysler bought out the brothers in 1928 and merged their company with his.
Dodge Ram: The hood ornament and logo was designed in 1932 by sculptor Avard Fairbanks.
Dog dishes: Small, standard equipment hubcaps used on steel wheels. Dog dishes are often found on bare bones high performance cars. Also known as poverty caps or police caps.
E-Body: The designation for 1970 and later “pony cars” such as the Plymouth ’Cuda and the Dodge Challenger.
Elastomeric: Flexible, body color bumper covering introduced in 1970.
Elephant Motor: A Chrysler 426-ci Hemi engine, so called for its huge displacement and tremendous power. It was much more powerful than Chevy mouse motors (small-blocks) and rats (big-blocks).
Exner, Virgil: Highly influential Chrysler designer whose styling of fifties Chrysler products was known as the “Forward Look.” He was made the first Vice President of Styling in 1957.
Fargo: Canadian Dodge trucks marketed from 1936 to 1972 and sold by Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships (Dodge trucks were sold in Canada by Dodge-DeSoto dealers). They’re the same except for Fargo emblems and tailgates.
Formula S: A handling-based option package for first generation Barracudas (V-8s only).
Garlits, Don: Don “Big Daddy” Garlits is considered the greatest drag racer of all time. He built his first Hemi-powered “Swamp Rat” fuel dragster in 1956 and continued to race Hemis throughout his long career. He built the first successful rear engine dragster after a 1970 explosion in a front engine dragster took half his foot.
General Lee: The name of the orange (with a rebel flag on the roof) 1969 Dodge Charger driven and jumped by Bo and Luke Duke on the cult TV show Dukes of Hazzard. Spoiler alert: the car going up and the car coming down were two different cars.
Govier, Galen: Noted Mopar authority who specializes in authenticating Chrysler products and options.
GTX: The top model Plymouth Belvedere that was produced from 1967 through 1971 in two-door hardtop and convertible body styles (the convertible was dropped for 1971). The standard engine was a 375-hp 440 with the 426 Hemi as the only optional powerplant.
Hemi: Named for the hemispherical cylinder head combustion chambers. This half sphere allows ample room for extra large valves. Chrysler popularized this engine design with the 1951 “FirePower” Hemi engine (331-ci) that continued in various displacements (up to 392-ci) through 1958/1959 (cars/trucks). The modern, second design 426 Hemi was produced from 1964 to 1971. An all-new third generation 5.7-liter Hemi engine debuted in 2003 Dodge trucks. A 6.1-liter Hemi was added in 2005.
Hockey Sticks: The popular name for the side graphics that start at the rear door edges and go across the top of the rear quarter panels ending with Hemi or the engine displacement number. They were introduced on 1970 ’Cudas.
Hoover, Tom: A Chrysler engineer from 1955 to 1979 who is often called the “Godfather of the Hemi.” He was a key person behind the development of the 1964 race Hemi and 1966 street Hemi 426-ci engines. He helped develop the Dodge Li’l Red Express. He was also a founding member of the Ramchargers club.
Hurst Hemi Under Glass: A Hemi engine was installed in the rear seat area of a 1966 Barracuda, which turned the gold and black Hurst-sponsored, Bob Riggle-driven racer into an incredible wheelstander. Three Barracuda versions of the car were built.
Iacocca, Lee: Famous Chrysler Corporation President, CEO, Chairman and TV spokesperson. His trademark line was, “If you can find a better car, buy it.” He is credited with reviving Chrysler with a successful government bailout in the eighties.
K Car: The eighties platform (debut 1981) that was the basis for various front-wheel-drive Chrysler Corporation compacts such as the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant. It was also the basis of the highly successful Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager mini vans. The K Car is often called the car that saved Chrysler.
La Femme: A special trim option on 1955-56 Dodge Royal Lancer hardtop coupes aimed at female customers. The 1955 models were pink and white with color-keyed upholstery. Two-tone lavender was the 1956 combo. Special interior features included a cosmetic kit, raincoat, cap, and umbrella.
Landy, Dick: Legendary Dodge drag racer known as Dandy Dick Landy. He was instrumental in the altered wheelbase “funny cars” of 1964. He was a successful match racer and was an early Pro Stock driver. He was a very popular member of the traveling Dodge Performance Clinics.
Leal, Butch: Successful sixties Mopar Super Stock racer known as the “California Flash” for his prowess with a 4-speed.
Letter Cars: High performance luxury Chryslers that began in 1955 with the C-300. The designation changed to 300-B in 1956 and 300-C in 1957. Early letter cars ended with the 1965 300-L, but the designation was used again in 1999 on the Chrysler 300M (no hyphen).
Lift-Off Hood: Fiberglass hoods with huge scoops that were used on 1969½ Road Runners and Super Bees equipped with 440-6 engines
Li’l Red Express: Dodge’s high impact, limited production performance pickup introduced in 1978. It was powered by a 360 V-8 that was slightly detuned for the truck’s final year, 1979.
Little Red Wagon: Credited with being the first wheelstander in 1965, the Little Red Wagon was a Dodge A100 pickup powered by a 426 Hemi. The bed-mounted engine helped produce full-track wheelstands. Bill “Maverick” Golden was the driver.
Magnum 500 Wheels: Optional chrome five-spoke wheels made by the Motor Wheel Corporation. Chrysler called them chrome styled road wheels.
Magnum: A common Mopar engine name, and, later, the name of a radically styled station wagon.
Max Wedge: A high performance engine package aimed at drag racing that was offered from 1962-1965. Displacement was 413-ci in 1962 and upped to a Stage II 426-ci in 1963. Performance was upped again in 1964 with the Stage III 426.
Mod Top: A rare flower pattern vinyl roof covering that was optional on 1969 and 1970 Barracudas. Plymouth listed the unusual roof as floral vinyl roof.
Mopar: A generic term for any Chrysler Corporation product. It was originally a trademark of Chrysler’s parts division (founded 1929) and stood for “Motor Parts.” The contraction MoPar was trademarked in 1937. It was eventually simplified to Mopar. The term gained favor in the sixties as a reference to Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars.
Mr. Norm: Norm Kraus of Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago was well known for selling large volumes of high performance Mopars and custom tuning packages.
Nosecone: The special pointed front ends for Dodge Daytonas and Plymouth Super Birds.
Pentastar: Chrysler logo created by Robert Stanley. It was used on the 1962 corporate report and first appeared on cars in 1963.
Petty, Richard: Easily the best-known NASCAR racer of all time, Richard “The King” Petty had the majority of his wins behind the number 43 Plymouths and Dodges.
Pistol Grip: Wood handled 4-speed manual shifters that resemble a handgun grip.
Power Wagon: The name for Dodge’s ultra-rugged 4x4 trucks was first used in 1946 on civilian versions of Dodge military ¾-ton 4x4 rigs. The term has been used on various sizes of Dodge 4x4 trucks.
Rallye Wheel: Chrysler added an extra “e” to distinguish their optional wheels from those of other manufacturers. The steel wheels had ten round holes, center caps and trim rings.
Ram Charger: Dodge’s name for the driver controlled 1970 pop-up trapdoor hood scoop. The name was previously used on non-pop-up fresh air intake systems in 1969.
Ramcharger: Dodge’s full size two-door 4x4 SUV – introduced in 1974 and produced through 1993. A two-wheel drive model was added in 1975.
Ramchargers: Car club formed by Chrysler engineers. Their bizarre 1949 Plymouth Business Coupe (known as the “High and Mighty”) was Hemi powered and competed successfully in the C/Altered class. Later cars were signature white with large red stripes. A series of funny cars were also campaigned under the Ramchargers banner.
Road Runner: A bare bones 1968 Plymouth Belvedere coupe with a 383 V-8 (with 440 cylinder heads) and a 4-speed. It was aimed at budget-minded young people with a base price under three grand. The unique “beep, beep” horn sounded like the cartoon character.
R/T: Road and Track; a high performance Dodge model equipped with the most powerful (or second most powerful) engine available each year. The R/T package also included appearance items.
Scat Pack: Dodge’s name for their top performance models started in 1968. The 1968 Scat Pack consisted of the Charger R/T, Coronet R/T, Super Bee and Dart GTS. Twin tail stripes were known as bumblebee stripes. The Scat Pack theme proliferated in Dodge advertising.
SE: Special Edition. Challenger SE models had vinyl roofs and smaller rear windows. The SE package could be combined with the R/T option.
Shaker: For Shaker hood scoop, a high performance hood scoop/air cleaner that mounts directly to the carburetors. Since it is independent of the hood, it can move or vibrate, producing a shaking effect.
Silver Bullet: Legendary silver 1967 Plymouth GTX that was considered the king of the Woodward Avenue (Detroit) street racers. The original 440 was replaced with a 487-ci Hemi.
Six Pack: Three two-barrel carburetors (tri-power) as used on Dodge and Plymouth 340 and 440 engines.
Six Pak: Graphics on the 1970 Challenger T/A said “340 Six Pak” even though the induction system was a Six Pack.
Slant Six: Mopar inline six-cylinder engines of the sixties and seventies were known as slant sixes, because they were mounted at an angle for greater hood clearance. The engines have a reputation as bullet proof.
Slap Stick: A console mounted automatic transmission shifter that could be “slapped” for rapid up shifts.
Sox and Martin: Legendary Plymouth drag racers. Ronnie Sox drove and Buddy Martin tuned the red, white and blue Super Stockers and A/FX cars.
SRT: Street and Racing Technology; Chrysler Corporation’s designation for their top performance models since 2002.
Suburban: A model name of Dodge and Plymouth base station wagons (mostly two-doors) starting in 1949 and used through 1960.
Super Bee: Dodge’s 1968 econo-racer version of the Plymouth Road Runner. It was based on the Coronet, which is a B-Body – hence the word play. A cartoon bumblebee was part of the logo.
Super Bird: Special aerodynamically-enhanced 1970 Road Runners that were designed to compete and win on NASCAR super speedways. If the standard Road Runner was a very fast bird, the Super Bird was even faster.
Sure-Grip: Chrysler’s name for a limited slip rear differential.
Swamp Rat: Don “Big Daddy” Garlits called his long series of Top Fuel dragsters Swamp Rats after his native Florida.
Sweptline: Dodge’s designation for full-width pickup boxes with slab sides.
Sweptside: The limited production deluxe Dodge D100 half-ton pickups that were built between 1957 and 1959 as an answer to the Chevrolet Cameo Carrier. Tall fin rear quarter panels from 1957 Dodge two-door station wagons were grafted to the standard pickup boxes.
T/A: Pontiac had the rights to Trans Am, so Dodge abbreviated the term T/A for the 1970-only limited production Challenger T/A. The T/A and its stable mate AAR ’Cuda were built to fulfill SCCA homologation rules.
TorqueFlite: Chrysler’s 3-speed automatic transmission name.
Town and Country: A name used on various limited production Chryslers starting in 1941. They featured beautiful wood body trim. Town and Country cars appeared in convertible, hardtop, sedan, and wagon forms. The last non-wagon Town and Country were 1950 models. The name resurfaced on less worthy cars.
Trail Duster: Plymouth’s version of the Dodge Ramcharger. It debuted in 1975, one year after the Ramcharger.
Viper: The Dodge supercar sports car introduced in 1992. Its massive 488-inch V-10 engine produced incredible amounts of torque. It was initially offered as a roadster, but the GTS coupe was added in 1996.
W-2: High performance, small block (340/360) cylinder heads.
Wayfarer: A 1949 Dodge single seat roadster that didn’t have rollup side windows. The model continued through 1951, but with convertible style rollup windows.
Wedge Motor: Mopar V-8 engines named for their wedge shaped combustion chambers.
Winged Warriors: The 1969 Dodge Daytonas and 1970 Plymouth Super Birds; called this because of their huge rear wings and highly competitive racetrack performance.