CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Poem or passage from literature about car engines?

Greetings, I teach automotive engineering and I wish to share with my students a good poem or passage from literature about the car engine. Any suggestions? I’ve got examples about cars in general, I’m most interested in one specific to the engine. Thanks!

I can’t think of any that are only about the engine but I can think of 2 where the engine displacement is the title. “409” about a Chevy and “413” about a Plymouth.

thank you for your response, I’ll investigate and if anything else comes to mind I’m still interested

Yeah, plenty of songs (going back to 1905’s “In My Merry Oldsmobile”), but I don’t know about poems or passages.

Come away with me, Lucille,
In my merry Oldsmobile.
Down the road of life we fly,
Automo-bubbling, you and I.

To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells will peal,
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile.

Come away with me, Lucille,
In my merry Oldsmobile.
Down the road of life we fly,
Automo-bubbling, you and I.

To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells will peal,
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile.

Come away with me, Lucille,
In my merry Oldsmobile.
Down the road of life we fly,
Automo-bub-bub-bubbling, you and I.

To the church we’ll swiftly steal,
Then our wedding bells are gonna peal,
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile. Sh!

I can see automotive students interested in car songs , but poems , doubtful.

Joshua, I think this is question for your school librarian .

Great point, and I’d be happy to consider a song. Again, I’ve found lots of examples about cars in general but none specific to the engine.

“409”?

Shes real fine my 409
Shes real fine my 409
My 409

Well I saved my pennies and I saved my dimes
(giddy up giddy up 409)
For I knew there would be a time
(giddy up giddy up 409)
When I would buy a brand new 409
(409, 409)
Giddy up giddy up giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 40…

Nothing can catch her
Nothing can touch my 409
409 ooooo
(giddy up giddy up oooo)
(giddy up giddy up oooo)
(giddy up giddy up oooo)
(giddy up giddy up)

When I take her to the track she really shines
(giddy up giddy up 409)
She always turns in the fastest times
(giddy up giddy up 409)
My four speed dual quad posi-traction 409
(409, 409, 409, 409)

Giddy up giddy up giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 409
(giddy up giddy up 409)
Giddy up 40…

Nothing can catch her
Nothing can touch my 409
(409 409 409 409)
Giddy up 409
(409 409 409 409)
Giddy up 409
(409 409 409 409)

1 Like

“We’re the rocker arm assembly” song and cartoon from 1971 Mobil ad.

The song “I’m an Old Cowhand” by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Not about the engine, but the key point of the song is “I ride the range in my Ford V-8.” Done also by Bing Crosby in 1936.

Google!

Most poems about cars are bad. Like, we’re talking rejected-by-beatniks bad.

But here’s a seasonally appropriate song, by Da Yoopers:

Dashing through the snow
In my Rusty Chevrolet
Down the road I go
Sliding all the way
I need new piston rings
I need some new snow tires
My car is held together
By a piece of chicken wire

CHORUS
Oh, rust and smoke, the heater’s broke
The door just blew away
I light a match to see the dash
And then I start to pray
The frame is bent, the muffler went
The radio, it’s okay
Oh what fun it is to drive
This Rusty Chevrolet

I went to the IGA
To get some Christmas cheer
I just passed up my left front tire
And it’s getting hard to steer
Speeding down the highway
Right past a Neguanee cop
I have to drag my swampers
Just to get the car to stop

(chorus)
(instrumental)

Bouncing through the snowdrifts
In a big blue cloud of smoke
People laugh as I drive by
And I wonder what’s the joke
I got to get to Wal-Mart
To pick up the lay-away
Cause Santa Claus is coming soon
In his big old rusty sleigh

See if your students can explain all the car lingo in “Shut Down”:

Tach it up, tach it up
Buddy going to shut you down

[Verse 1]
It happened on the strip where the road is wide
(Oooo rev it up now)
Two cool shorts standing side by side
(Oooo rev it up now)
Yeah, my fuel injected Stingray and a four-thirteen
(Oooo rev it up now)
Revving up our engines and it sounds real mean
(Oooo rev it up now)

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]
Declining numbers at an even rate
(Oooo moving out now)
At the count of one we both accelerate
(Oooo moving out now)
My Stingray is light the slicks are starting to spin
(Oooo moving out now)
But the four-thirteen’s really digging in
(Oooo moving out now)
Got to be cool now power shift here we go
Superstock Dart is winding out in low
But my fuel injected Stingray’s really starting to go
To get the traction I’m riding the clutch
My pressure plate’s burning that machine’s too much
Pedal’s to the floor hear the dual quads drink
(Oooo pump it up now)
And now the four-thirteen’s lead is starting to shrink
(Oooo pump it up now)
He’s hot with ram induction but it’s understood
(Oooo pump it up now)
I got a fuel injected engine sitting under my hood
(Oooo pump it up now)

You folks are good, I’ll say that. Just as an aside I’m reading a few books that take place in the UP of Michigan. The folks up there are called Yoopers. They get lots of snow.

1 Like

Yes. The Beach Boys song lyrics. “409” and “Shut Down” also Paul Revere and the Raiders “SS396”. Also “Hot Rod Lincoln” with the most popular version performed by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen.

1 Like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQrtKqf4bGk

WELL THIS LIFE IS ONE BIG AUTOMOBILE
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE IT’S REAL
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
WELL I’M WAY DOWN HERE WITH MY FEET IN THE AIR
I GOT GREASE AND OIL ALL IN MY HAIR
IT’S GETTING SO BAD, I’M STARTING TO SWEAR
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD

WELL I’M AWFUL HUNGRY I WISH I HAD SOME BEANS
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
I SPENT ALL BUT A DOLLAR ON VALVOLINE
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
I’M LUCKY I SAVED A BUCK TO GET SOMETHING TO EAT
TOO BAD I’LL SPEND IT LATER
ON WHEEL BEARING GREASE
A COP JUST TOLD ME TO GET MY CAR
OFF THE STREET, FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD

WELL I WENT DOWNSTAIRS I PUT ON MY GOOD PANTS
TO GO TO THE JUNKYARD FOR A VACUUM ADVANCE
I WAS JUST CLIMBIN’ INTO THIS SHIRT
WHEN I REMEMBERED I COULDN’T GO
BECAUSE MY CAR DON’T WORK

LET ME TELL YOU FRIENDS WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
I JUST DROPPED THE CRANK SHAFT ON MY KNEE
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
I GOT WATER IN MY OIL AND THE LONDON FLU
BURNT VALVES, VAPOR LOCK, WORN BRAKE SHOES
I GOT THOSE DEAD-BATTERY-BROKEN-FAN-BELT BLUES
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD

WELL I’M TRYING TO GET THIS ACCELERATOR CABLE FREE
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
ANDY GRANATELLI’S ON THE RADIO FOR S.T.P.
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD
I’M LOOKING FOR THE FLASHLIGHT FOR THE TIMING CHAIN
I JUST SKINNED MY KNUCKLES AND I’M IN GREAT PAIN
IT’S AWFUL COLD AND IT’S STARTING TO RAIN
FIFTEEN DAYS UNDER THE HOOD

1 Like

You must be the only person in the world I have not had to introduce Dan Hicks and his hot licks to. Taken a few to concerts, Old cowhand a catchy song, but if you don’t have a car take a train! https://youtu.be/aE0yvIzipkk

I grew up with that song and have probably heard it close to 1,000 times! For some reason my Grandson loves The Beach Boys and has constantly requested their “Good Vibrations” Greatest hits on my car stereo from the age of 2 through his current age of 9. I will give it a shot.

Tach it up, tach it up= Rev up the engine
Buddy going to shut you down= Win the race.

[Verse 1]
It happened on the strip where the road is wide
(Oooo rev it up now)
Two cool shorts standing side by side Cool Shorts were hot performing or looking cars. custom or stock.
(Oooo rev it up now)
Yeah, my fuel injected Stingray and a four-thirteen= The Corvette Stingray was probably a 1965 327 cu in 375 hp. The 1962 Super Stock Dodge Dart could have a 413 cu in Max Wedge engine with 420 hp, cross ram air dual 4 barrel carburetors, tuned header exhaust, heavy duty “TorqueFlite” 3 speed automatic transmission and 4.89 to 1 rear differential. It was a factory built drag racer although the 1965 Corvette Stingray could give it a “run for the money”.
(Oooo rev it up now)
Revving up our engines and it sounds real mean
(Oooo rev it up now)

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]
Declining numbers at an even rate= Counting down to the start.
(Oooo moving out now)
At the count of one we both accelerate
(Oooo moving out now)
My Stingray is light the slicks are starting to spin= Rear tires are losing traction.
(Oooo moving out now)
But the four-thirteen’s really digging in= The Dodge has maximum traction.
(Oooo moving out now)
Got to be cool now power shift here we go Shifting the Stingray’s 4 speed manual transmission with the accelerator pedal on the floor.
The Super Stock (Dodge) Dart is winding out in low= Approaching maximum RPMs with it’s automatic transmission still in first gear.
But my fuel injected Stingray’s really starting to go
To get the traction I’m riding the clutch= Slightly slipping the clutch to reduce rear tire spin.
My pressure plate’s burning that machine’s too much Slipping the clutch friction disc is overheating the steel pressure plate
Pedal’s to the floor (I) hear (his) dual quads drink= The Dodge is sucking copious amounts of fuel!
(Oooo pump it up now)
And now the four-thirteen’s lead is starting to shrink
(Oooo pump it up now)
He’s hot with ram induction but it’s understood
(Oooo pump it up now)
I got a fuel injected engine sitting under my hood
(Oooo pump it up now)
Shut it off. Shut it off, buddy I just shut you down.

thanks for sharing! this was a terrific send off to my students that just took powertrains and vehicle dynamics

2 Likes

this has some excellent references… thanks so much for sharing

and to all, thank you very much for taking the time to provide some examples

2 Likes

I found some fun quotations Googling “henry ford quotations” and “engine quotations”. There was one good one there by Ferdinand Porsche about why he chose to use an air-cooled engine.

Look up “the little Nash Rambler”