Home Cars Classic Muscle Car Terms Drivers Just Can’t Forget

Classic Muscle Car Terms Drivers Just Can’t Forget

Vukasin Herbez September 7, 2019

Magnum 500

  1. Magnum 500

One of the most popular wheel choices in the muscle car era was the beautiful Magnum 500 wheels they introduced in late 1963. First available in 14 inches, they later became available in 16 inches as the dimensions of the wheels grew. The Magnum 500 was a common factory option on almost all muscle cars, so Ford, GM, and Mopar used them on their cars.

Interestingly, only one company refused to install them on their muscle cars. That’s right – no Pontiac ever came with the Magnum 500, but with their own version they had named Rally II wheels.

6 Banger

  1. Six Banger

The term, “Six Banger” or “6 Banger” is quite old and refers to a car with a six-cylinder engine. But back in the heyday of the muscle car culture, six-cylinder cars were commonly a straight-six configuration.


  1. N.O.S.

The abbreviation N.O.S. stands for “New Old Stock,” which describes a part or component they produced back in the day but never used. N.O.S. parts are still in their original packaging and never opened or messed with. Collectors like to pay top prices for such items since they deliver originality to their restorations.

But beware, since some N.O.S. parts like rubber hoses or weather stripping kits are not recommended since the rubber has probably deteriorated over time.

Numbers Matching

  1. Numbers Matching

The phrase “Numbers matching,” or matching numbers, means the engine, gearbox, and drivetrain are the same as the VIN and production code. Numbers matching cars are original as the day they left the factory assembly line.

As a result, they command higher prices than cars that have updated or different drivetrains.

Ram Air

  1. Ram Air

The term “Ram Air” stands for the induction systems characterized by the openings on the car’s hood, grille or even below the bumpers in some Oldsmobiles. They design them to feed fresh air to the engine. Almost all muscle car manufacturers produce some kind of Ram Air device.

Pontiac is the most famous for naming its system “Ram Air,” marketing it as a special performance package on the GTO and Trans Am models.

Pistol Grip

  1. Pistol Grip

When Mopar presented their muscle models for 1970, they debuted numerous improvements, designs, and interior features. However, one of the most interesting and popular was the Pistol Grip Shifter.

In reality, it was just a shifter knob they designed like the grip of a revolver. And soon, they became immensely popular with car buyers. Even today, pistol grips are a common aftermarket accessory.


  1. Restomod

The term, “restomod,” stands for restoration and modification. Most restomods are classic cars they’ve restored to perfection, adding modern engines, transmissions, suspension parts, and creature comforts. During that process, all the flaws are eliminated and the new creation is a thoroughly modern machine.

Restomods perform much better, yet retain the classic style and looks. This is a common choice among classic muscle car owners because it helps modernize old cars. This process updates older cars to the performance and handling levels of modern machines.

Acid Dip

  1. Acid Dip

When you wanted to make an extreme performance car in the late ’60s, one of the first things you did was to acid dip the body. Back in the day, this was a popular method of making the body lighter by submerging it into a tank full of aggressive acid. That acid removed all the paint from the body, the body filler, and even some metal, making the car significantly lighter.

Interestingly, racecar builders first used the process to cheat on their propositions. Soon, anybody who wanted the maximum performance out of their car used it.


  1. Shaker

The Shaker is a hood scoop they mount on top of the car’s intake system that sticks through the hood. Since it is an integral part of the engine, it also moves and shakes as the engine works, hence the name.

Most popular shakers were from Dodge and Plymouth, but almost all muscle car brands have at least one model with this feature.


  1. SS

The double S stands for SuperSport, which is a prime Chevrolet designation for the performance models starting back in 1961. Over the years, Chevrolet produced the Impala SS, Camaro SS, Nova SS, and Chevelle SS, among others.

In fact, they were close to introducing the Corvette SS. However, “SS” can also stand for Super Stock. It was a popular drag racing class back in the day for stock and factory models.


  1. Z/28

The Z/28 is a production option for numerous Camaro models starting in 1967. It was always a lighter, nimbler version than the SS models. The first Z/28 package included front disc brakes and a close-ratio four-speed manual transmission. Also, they revised the suspension and steering, adding exterior trim details like racing stripes, a vinyl roof, and headlight covers.

But the real treat was under the hood. The power came from a 5.0-liter V8 cranking out 290 HP and a high revving nature. This engine proved to be ideal for the Z/28, giving the car thrilling performance numbers while retaining the low weight and nimble handling.


  1. Body-in-White

If you want to be an established racer or prepare muscle cars for racing, the first step is to get a factory-provided body. That is the basis for modification and preparation. So, the “body-in-white” term refers to a clean body shell.

Also, they add some cross members and strengthening parts to withstand all that track torture.

Cross Ram

  1. Cross Ram

Back in the day, you could buy a performance intake with two carburetors and a manifold that positioned them above the cylinder banks.

They called it a “Cross Ram” and it provided more power and torque. Chrysler muscle models often used cross rams is as production items in the early ’60s.

Dog Dish

  1. Dog Dish

The animal-themed moniker “Dog dish” is a common term for base-model hubcaps. Back in the day, hubcaps consisted of pressed aluminum and looked like dog-feeding dishes.

Obviously, that’s why they were called “dog dishes” or “dog dish hubcaps.”


  1. Eight-Lug

During the ’60s, Pontiac introduced a special and unique eight-lug wheel pattern on full-size models. The Pontiac wheels made from 1960 to 1968 were special and today, this is a highly sought-after option.


  1. High-Rise

The High-Rise or High-Riser is a type of aftermarket intake manifold they designed to make air travel longer. And doing that adds a ram effect and provides more torque as well. This was a common modification for serious street racing cars back in the ’60s and early ’70s.

Max Wedge

  1. Max Wedge

This term refers to a Mopar line of highly successful drag racing models that were semi-street legal. The Max Wedge cars got their name from the Wedge V8 motors they used.

Although they only offered them for just a couple of years, those Max Wedge cars preceded the Hemi racers and are highly collectible today.

Day Two Muscle Car

30. Day Two

You might be wondering what “Day Two” means. Well, back in the day when somebody bought a new muscle car, they often modified it right off the bat using period-correct parts from the 1960s and the 1970s. Today, a car modified almost immediately is called a “Day Two” car.

These are 30 of the classic muscle car terms you just can’t forget. Hopefully, you have learned a few new car-inspired expressions to use at your next party.

Please wait 5 sec.