Vocalist Ian Gillan has stated that the lyrics are based on the true-life story of a man he once met in a pub during the recording sessions for the 1987 album The House of Blue Light. The two started talking, and Gillan wrote down the man's story on some napkins which he then put away and forgot about. He discovered them years later and they became the basis for the lyrics of "Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic". The song was a live staple during the Purpendicular tour, and has also played during more recent tours as well.
The "Vavoom" in the song's title comes from the end of each verse, where Gillan says the word, leading into the chorus. On all live albums that feature the song, though, the title is simply listed as "Ted the Mechanic".