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Santiago Diaz
Santiago Diaz

Petrolhead Adventures: Exploring the World in Your Car

What is a petrolhead and why you should be one

If you love cars, driving, and everything related to the automotive world, you might be a petrolhead. But what does it mean to be a petrolhead, and why is it a good thing? In this article, we will explore the definition, origin, culture, and lifestyle of petrolheads, as well as how to become one or improve your petrolhead skills. Whether you are already a car enthusiast or just curious about this fascinating hobby, read on to discover more about the petrolhead phenomenon.

The definition and origin of the term petrolhead

A petrolhead is an informal term used to describe a person who is excessively interested in or devoted to travelling by car. It is also used to describe a person who is overly reliant on the use of their car, resisting any suggestion to use other means of transport. In Australia and New Zealand, it is also used as a derogatory term to describe a bogan who is overly fond of their car or motorbike and enjoys showing it off and making noise with it.


The term petrolhead is derived from the word petrol, which is the British English term for gasoline, the fuel used by most cars. The suffix -head indicates a person who is obsessed or addicted to something, such as a pothead or a metalhead. The term petrolhead emerged in the late 20th century, probably influenced by the popular British motoring show Top Gear, which often used the term to refer to its hosts and fans.

The difference between petrolhead, gearhead, and motorhead

While petrolhead is the most common term used in the UK and other countries that use British English, there are other similar terms used in different regions and contexts. For example, in North America, the term gearhead is more prevalent, which refers to a person who is interested in the mechanics and technology of cars, as well as their performance and modification. Another term that is sometimes used interchangeably with gearhead is motorhead, which can also mean a fan of heavy metal music, especially the band Motörhead.

Although these terms have slightly different connotations and origins, they all share the same basic meaning: a person who loves cars and everything about them. Therefore, they can be used synonymously in most situations, depending on the preference and location of the speaker.

The characteristics and benefits of being a petrolhead

Being a petrolhead means more than just liking cars. It means having a passion, a hobby, and a lifestyle that revolves around cars. Some of the common characteristics of petrolheads are:

  • They have extensive knowledge about cars and their history, mechanics, performance, design, and culture.

  • They enjoy driving different cars and experiencing different driving modes and terrains.

  • They appreciate the aesthetics and sound of cars, as well as their speed and power.

  • They like to modify, customize, or restore their own cars or admire those of others.

  • They attend or participate in car events, such as races, shows, rallies, or tours.

  • They consume or create car-related media, such as magazines, books, blogs, podcasts, videos, or games.

  • They network with other car enthusiasts and join car clubs or online communities.

Being a petrolhead also has many benefits for personal development and well-being. Some of these benefits are Some of these benefits are:

  • They develop their technical and practical skills by learning how to service, repair, or modify their cars.

  • They improve their driving and safety skills by practicing different techniques and scenarios on the road or on the track.

  • They enhance their creativity and self-expression by customizing their cars to suit their personality and preferences.

  • They boost their confidence and self-esteem by achieving their goals and overcoming challenges related to cars.

  • They expand their social network and make new friends by joining car clubs or online communities and attending car events.

  • They have fun and enjoy themselves by pursuing their passion and hobby.

Being a petrolhead can also have positive effects on mental health, as it can provide a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, and satisfaction. It can also be a way of coping with stress, boredom, or depression by providing a distraction, a challenge, or a reward.

The petrolhead culture and lifestyle

Being a petrolhead is not only about cars, but also about the culture and lifestyle that surrounds them. Petrolheads are part of a diverse and vibrant community that shares a common interest and passion for cars. They also have their own subcultures, genres, events, media, and influencers that shape their identity and preferences.

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The types and genres of petrolhead cars

Petrolheads have different tastes and preferences when it comes to cars. Some prefer classic or vintage cars that have historical or sentimental value. Some prefer modern or futuristic cars that have advanced technology or design. Some prefer sports or performance cars that have high speed or power. Some prefer luxury or exotic cars that have elegance or exclusivity. Some prefer off-road or rally cars that have durability or versatility. Some prefer custom or modified cars that have uniqueness or personality.

There are also different genres or styles of petrolhead cars that reflect the aesthetic or functional choices of the owners. Some of the most popular genres are:


Muscle carA car with a large and powerful engine, usually from AmericaFord Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger

JDM (Japanese Domestic Market)A car that is made in Japan for the Japanese market, usually with high performance or reliabilityNissan Skyline, Toyota Supra, Honda Civic Type R

Euro (European)A car that is made in Europe, usually with high quality or sophisticationBentley Continental, Ferrari 488, BMW M3

Hot hatchA small car with a hatchback body style and a powerful engine, usually from EuropeVolkswagen Golf GTI, Renault Clio RS, Peugeot 208 GTi

SupercarA car that has extreme performance, design, or price, usually from EuropeLamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Chiron, Pagani Huayra

HypercarA car that has exceptional performance, design, or price, usually with hybrid or electric technologyKoenigsegg Regera, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder

Tuner carA car that has been modified to improve its performance, appearance, or soundMitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Honda S2000

Ricer carA car that has been modified to look fast or flashy, but without improving its performanceHonda Civic with a huge spoiler, Toyota Corolla with neon lights, Nissan 350Z with stickers

Rat rodA car that has been deliberately made to look old, rusty, or unfinishedFord Model A with a chopped roof, Chevrolet Bel Air with a patina paint job, Dodge Charger with a missing hood

LowriderA car that has been lowered to the ground using hydraulics or air suspensionChevrolet Impala with wire wheels, Cadillac Coupe de Ville with mural painting, Lincoln Continental with suicide doors

Lifted truckA truck that has been raised above the ground using suspension lift kits or body lift kits A truck that has been raised above the ground using suspension lift kits or body lift kitsFord F-150 with huge tires, Toyota Tacoma with a roll cage, Dodge Ram with a snorkel

These are just some of the many genres of petrolhead cars that exist. Each genre has its own fans, critics, and trends. Petrolheads can choose their favorite genre or mix and match different elements from differ


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