Like every subculture, the automotive also has its own slang, an exclusive and niche vocabulary that allows one to recognise oneself among enthusiasts-or, sometimes, real industry nerds. Here below we have prepared a short but intense encyclopaedia of the strangest, most evocative and meme-like expressions of this universe, which from English have managed to settle into the Italian language of motoring enthusiasts.
CARMATARYAll of us, ever since our first road trips as children, have well impressed in our minds the image of expanses of wrecked cars, crushed and piled up in areas along the ring road in urban suburbs. Car cemeteries (car + cemetery) are those places that can transmit as much desolation as fascination, as much nostalgia as astonishment, astonishment at how many cars-which have been part of someone's life, travelled and experienced who knows how many adventures-are now unknown, anonymous and ready to be forgotten. The feeling is similar to that one feels in a graveyard of tombstones in the hinterland of a place that does not belong to us, that we do not know. Believing and practising motorists: pray for the dead (cars).
VALDEEZEThis is a verb, conjugated, and means 'to lose oil'. It derives from one of the world's most famous environmental disasters, the crash of the supertanker Exxon Valdez, which ran aground on a reef in Alaska in 1989, releasing more than 40 million litres of oil into the sea, the damage of which is unfortunately still visible today. A bit theatrical for a little oil on the pavement at home, but we'll give you that.
SLAMMEDOn a first layer of slang, slammed can mean rotten drunk, practically in an alcoholic coma. In the tuning world, however, it is a term peculiar to low-riders (perhaps because they are sick??): lowered for aesthetics or performance it doesn't matter, you can always call them slammed.
DIZZYIf you pass by the dizzy, you're refuelling. It's an automatic nickname for 'petrol station', but in English it happens to mean out of tune, dizzy. It fits, either because your car is drinking like crazy, or because you're groggy from petrol fumes.
I’M IN ME MUM’S CAR, BROOM BROOMAn old school millennial phrase, ingrained in the vocabulary of anyone who had access to the internet in the early 1910s, it has to be pronounced with the worst possible UK English accent. It is perhaps one of the most famous vines after "And they were roommates!" and the one about the kid who gets a basketball thrown repeatedly at his head. In short, when you're driving your mum's car you have to say it, and if she's with you, you hope she says "Get out me car".
PASSENGER PRINCE/PRINCESSWe all have that friend*, partner or relative who has never even remotely set foot in a driving school, is in his forties and has been getting dropped off everywhere at all hours of the day and night since time immemorial. He always travels shotgun, i.e. passenger side, so he can look at himself every two minutes in the courtesy mirror. They even make stickers out of it.
BACKSEAT DRIVERSimilarly to the category above, the backseat driver is another character we would never want to deal with while driving a car, and usually coincides with your grandfather. "Slow down", "Turn left to go faster", "It's green", "Are you sure you're in third gear?" You will regret the years on the moped.
This is only an infinitesimal part of the real amount of expressions typical of the car world. If we were to go into detail about tuning slang, we would end up in a loop of extreme technicalities, but if we opened the vine archives and collected all the derived car lingo, we would die laughing. Maybe a part 2 will come out soon. Stay Tuned.