Recently I’ve received quite a few inquiries regarding some of the terms we use in our features and tech stories. Having been a truck/car/motorcycle nut practically my whole life these queries initially caught me a bit by surprise, I mean, no disrespect intended, what self-respecting gearhead wouldn’t know what a blower or a Panhard bar is? That is until, upon some reflection, I realized that questions such as these are extremely exciting occurrences and in my eyes bespeak a growing interest in our favorite hobby, an occurrence which bodes well for us all.
There’s a sort of formula in the publishing industry that figures for every one reader who takes the time to contact a publication with a question or viewpoint represents seven to fifteen others who have the same or similar viewpoints or questions. In the case of CLASSIC TRUCKS (we’ve been getting about three or four emails a month for the last four or five) this could, in a best case scenario, add up to be up to sixty potential new classic truckers a month! Again, positively good news for us all! Just think, if this is indeed the case, then you, the current crop of builders and enthusiasts, are very likely the major contributors to what we hope is the continuation of a meteoric rise in the popularity of classic pickups. For if it wasn’t for the awesome, eye-catching trucks you build, drive, and display (and, I’d like to think, the features and stories we print), these large numbers of welcome newcomers to the hobby would be considerably less. So, with this in mind, the next time you’re approached at a gathering or event by an admirer who asks what at first may sound like a dumb question, take a few seconds or minutes if need be and share a bit of your knowledge. You could very well be mentoring a new member of the brother or sisterhood of classic truckers.
With that thought in mind, here are my explanations of the few bits of automotive jargon I’ve been questioned on over the last several months (mind you, they’re in no particular order). CT
Blower: A supercharger or turbocharger.
Supercharger: A mechanical devise that forces large or concentrated amounts of fuel air mixture into the combustion chamber of an engine, seriously increasing its horsepower.
Panhard Bar: A transverse rod that attaches to a vehicle frame on one end and the rearend housing on the other, preventing the body and chassis from moving side-to-side relative to the rearend.
Pitman Arm: A lever that converts the rotary motion of a steering box to linear motion needed turn the wheels.
Plug-Weld: A weld made through a hole in a piece of tubing or sheet metal connecting with another piece either slipped inside or directly underneath.
Cowl: The portion of a truck body directly below the windshield and directly behind the hood.
Rocker Panel: The portion of a truck body directly below the door opening.
Rolled Pan: A curved sheet metal filler panel used front or back either under or in place of a truck bumper.
Chopped: A truck roof that’s been lowered by cutting it free and shortening the pillars and then reattaching it.
Channel: To lower a truck body over the chassis, thus lowering it without modifying the suspension.
Billet: A part or accessory machined from a solid chuck of metal (usually aluminum).
Cut & Buff: To wet sand and polish a fresh paint finish.
Airbag: An inflatable rubber bladder used in place of a conventional spring in automotive or truck suspensions.
Tie Rod: The link between the pitman or idler arm and the steering arm in a steering system.
Tie-Rod End: A spherical joint at either end of a tie rod.
Section: To remove a strip of material from the center of a panel, thus reducing its height.
Slammed: A truck that’s been radically lowered (commonly by the use of airbags).
Hammered: A truck that’s roof has been chopped a significant amount.
Frenched: A part or component (often head or taillamps) that have been recessed and molded into another part (such as a fender).
Short-Block: An engine block fitted with a crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshaft, timing gears and chain, and appropriate bearings, but missing external items such as the intake manifold, cylinder heads, and exhaust manifolds.
Long-Block: A short-block assembly with the external parts like heads, manifolds, etc. attached.