Muscle Car Terms to Know BEFORE
You Hit the Car Corral

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Here are just some of the common muscle car terms you will find when reading classic car advertisements or talking to used muscle car sellers. We'll add more as we think of them but this is a good start!

Why is it important? Here's just a quick example. Look at the two cars below. Anyone want a nice '69 Camaro Z28?

find-your-muscle-car shows a 1969 Z28 clone
find-your-muscle-car shows a real '69 Camaro Z28

Stunning looking hot rods, right? The selling prices are thousands of dollars apart. What's the difference? One's a clone and one's a survivor. Does that matter to you? The clone is on the left but I'd be proud to own either one. If you don't know the difference, read down the list of muscle car terms to get informed.


aftermarket - parts made for your car by manufacturers other than the original manufacturer; for instance, putting an Interstate battery or a Fram air filter in your muscle car is using an aftermarket product, aftermarket products are often used in resto-mod projects

broadcast sheet or build sheet - this sought-after piece of paper lists all of the original equipment and options the car was built with as it went down the factory line; depending on manufacturer, there may be multiple copies of this list tucked away under driver seat cushions, back seat cushions, behind glove box lining or other places on the car; having this important documentation can dramatically increase the value of a car for sale

car corral - a section at a car show where individuals and/or dealers are selling classic american muscle; a great place to find a muscle car clone or a survivor

clone - a car that has been modified to replicate a muscle car, an example of a muscle car clone would be turning a basic Plymouth Satellite into a Plymouth Road Runner or a basic Pontiac into a Pontiac GTO Judge; the modification can be as simplistic as using exterior details such as badges and stripes and adding hood scoops or it can be completely re-building the basic car to meet the factory specs of the target classic car; these are also referred to as tribute cars

daily driver or grocery-getter - a classic muscle car that is driven and enjoyed on a regular basis; typically not a high value low-volume vehicle that had limited production or is worth lots of money

NOM - not original motor, generally this indicates that the original motor was replaced with either a period correct motor from another car or a newer motor; some muscle car buyers would not pay as much for a car that was NOM

NOS - new old stock, original equipment manufacturer parts that were made specifically for the vehicle but that are no longer available through the manufacturer; these can be found at car shows in the swap meet area or online through eBay and parts sites and are sought by people who are doing a restoration project or even building a muscle car clone

numbers matching - a term that means the engine, transmission and other important components are all stamped from the factory with numbers that match the VIN to prove that the car is all original; be careful with this one...some sellers say "numbers matching" when only one component is actually original, for instance, the engine may be a replacement (NOM!) but the transmission is original

OEM - original equipment manufacturer, this term is generally used when describing parts on a muscle car that are from the original car manufacturer, not aftermarket or NOS

restoration (frame-off restoration) - one of several muscle car terms that talk about restoration types; this one refers to a car that has been disassembled completely and returned to original factory specs usually including the correct parts numbers and components for the vehicle as it would have come from the factory; it's also referred to as body-off restoration; lots of time and money spent here but a highly rated restoration is probably worth the price you pay

OR rotisserie restoration - this term means that all the mechanical and drive train components, glass and interior of the car were removed and the body was attached to a device that literally turned the car completely, like a chicken on your backyard rotisserie, so the auto body and paint technicians could have easy, full access for restoration work

resto-mod - a combination restoration and modification (or modernization) of a classic car, it typically means that the car has been modified to incorporate some of today's technologies in the areas of steering, braking, handling, and comfort/convenience such as improved gauges or sound systems; it's not a muscle car clone or a survivor

roller - a car without an engine or drive train, hence you have to roll it on it's tires to move it

survivor - a factory original car that typically has low mileage, original engine, drive train, paint, and interior components; these cars often bring the most money in the collector car market

trailer queen - a classic muscle car that is either a survivor or a meticulously restored dream car whose owner keeps covered in storage year round and only brings out of the garage to load it on a trailer and drive it to a car show or other event; these cars are usually not driven and never see rain or snow

Have we missed any muscle car terms?

If you've seen a word in a muscle car classified ad that you don't understand and it isn't listed here, please click HERE to let us know and we'll get right back to you AND add it to the list!


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