Car Design Terminology

Via Autoblog comes this interesting article on car design from the New York Times.

I’m going to brush up on my car design terminology prior to the Saab Festival. Hopefully Alex Daniel or Anthony Lo will be there and we can chew the fat about the Aero-X’s Six Line, it’s DLO and of course, it’s revolutionary Greenhouse.

Click the image to enlarge the diagram, and the terms are explained below.




Terminology explained (from left to right):

Plenium: The area at the base of the windshield where the wipers are parked.

Header: The structural roof beam above the windshield.

Strake: A crease in the sheet metal intended as a ‘speed line’ styling feature.

Tumblehome: The angle formed by the inward slope of the greenhouse sides as they rise from the beltline.

Fascia: The body-skin panel at the front of the car.

Overhang: The distance the car’s body extends beyond the wheels.

A-Line: The line running over the car from headlight to tail light, tracing the car’s silhouette. Similar to, but not to be confused with……

DRG or “down-the-road graphic”: The visual signature of a quickly glimpsed vehicle that makes it recongnisable – think C900.

Cowl: The base of the windshield.

Axle-to-dash: The critical relationship between the front wheels and the windshield.

Gill: A vent on the side of the fender that can be used as a hot-air outlet, but usually is decorative.

Rake: The tilt of a windshield; an extreme angle is said to be ‘fast’

Character Line: A line creased into the side of the car to give it visual interest.

A-Pillar: The roof support pillar closest to the front of the car.

Beltline: The line that divides the greenhouse from the lower body.

B-Pillar: The second roof support pillar from the front of the car.

Rocker: The body section below the base of the door openings.

Greenhouse: The glassed-in upper section of the car’s body.

Turn Under: The shape of the rocker panel as it curves inward at the lower edge.

C-Pillar: The rearmost roof support pillar.

Six Line: A line extending from the C-Pillar down and around the rear wheel well.

DLO: The Day Light Opening – the total area of the window glass.

Backlight: The rear window glass.

Deck: The horizontal surface at the rear of the car, which usually serves as the trunk lid.

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  1. i like the _strake_ in the upcoming ’08, 9-3.

    now, on the next-generation saab, if they can move the side indicatators from the _gill_ area to a tasteful design in the side mirrors, that would be wonderful.

    (i think i need “flashcards.”)

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