Op-Ed from the UK Desk
There is no real name for fans of cars, apart from simply drivers, fans of trucks are known as truckers, and fans of motorcycles are bikers. But there’s no overall name for fans of cars.
A chauffeur for one doesn’t sit quite right. It was one of the first names for a driver, derived from the French for “heater-up.” It was used as a term for those who stoked the engine in a train or on a ship.
Probably a better term might be motorhead, but due to the heavy metal group with the similar name it doesn’t sound quite right. Those with a need for speed might be known a speed freak. If you constantly rev up your engine but don’t necessarily go fast you might call yourself a “revhead.” But that might get confused with a Vicar with a penchant for cars? Who can say?
In the UK, a slang term for the fast, teenage speeder is a “boy racer” (there doesn’t seem to be that many girl racers). The dictionary points to “hoon” as an alternative, which is short for hooligan. But these are not names young speeders give themselves as much as derogatory names given to them by the older member of society (who may need to think twice before throwing stones as they have their own driving problems.)
Someone with a lack of consideration for other road users might be known as a “road hog”. Those who drive at you, “taking their half out of the middle,” might be called “line hogs”. Or you might look elsewhere in the Animal Kingdom and call them “Mr. Toad”, the character from the children’s classic The Wind in the Willows? If they cut you off you might just call them a rude word?
Apart from driving style we have what you like about cars:
… those who like to look under the hood–a “gear head”
…those who look for car parts online or junk yards–a “piston head”
…those who tinker with their cars– a grease monkey
No doubt they can also be called “greaseballs” or “greasers”; it depends on the amount of grease involved. Maybe tinkerer is better? Originally it meant someone who sold pots and pans but now it means someone who might not be that competent, but has a go, especially in the area of car repair.
Perhaps we should look to the noises and motions that mechanics make and call them tutters or head-shakers? Maybe “bangers” to describe the mystery sounds they make under your car when it should be ready now. There must be something to call someone with a strange sensation to see underneath – a dipper? A diver? Someone who runs amok with your beloved car?
What about fans of individual cars? Again, there’s no specific name. Fans of 4×4 might be known as “fourbys” and fans of Minis might name themselves after the recent film “Minions” (they could take refuge in an early film franchise and call themselves “Herbies.” Women who like vans could possibly call themselves “vanettes” and female lovers of BMW could be “Beemettes” but it’s not clear what the male version could be. Still it all comes down to your imagination, really.
In the end it’s all in fun. If you have a suggestion on what to call fans of cars leave a comment on this post.