There is an old maxim which says America and Britain are two countries divided by a common language and in the automotive world this does seem to hold true. Not having been born in America, nor in England, I can see the broader picture with what I believe to be some slightly amused detachment. In spite of the fact that America was at one time a British colony, and but for a little spat over taxes might still have been (in this case it might have been cheaper in the long run to have stuck with the King!), the differing versions of the English language grow ever further apart. Leaving aside the American decision to move the steering wheel from the right-hand side to the left-hand side of the car, we have those little peculiarities where the luggage space at the rear of the car is called a “boot” in England, but a “trunk” in the U.S., and the large lift-up panel at the front changes from British “bonnet” to American “hood.” I guess in clothing terms those are much the same. Windscreen in English changes to windshield, so once again not a great deal of difference in that one. Further along we have engine (English) and motor American. I could go on.
However, it is in the area of motor racing, or as you guys say, auto racing, where we discover so many variants. I say “you guys” because having been raised a British subject I learned the British nomenclature long before I ever encountered the U.S. versions. It was when I first arrived in America, as a Can-Am mechanic, that I began to learn this second language. Initially, just the simple ones such as an anti-roll bar being called a sway bar, and a gear lever being called a shift lever (and understanding the breakfast question, “Ya’all want some grits?”) but then we moved on to things like “jounce” (you what?), which turned out to mean “bump.” Brake pads translate into pucks, brake discs turn into rotors, exhaust pipes turn into headers, trumpets become stacks – the list goes on. A British crown wheel and pinion is called “ring gear” in the U.S., and an engine (motor) sump seems to be commonly known as an oil pan. In Britain an oil pan is the container into which you drain the oil from your engine or gearbox.
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