Jalopy is a common slang nickname in the English language for an old, decrepit and unreliable automobile which has limited mechanical abilities, and at times can barely move. It does not refer to a well kept antique car, but to cars which are mostly rundown or beaten up.

When a jalopy gets to a state in which its maintenance becomes too expensive, its owner would be required to make a decision about its fate. Some owners abandon it in the street as a parked car (an action forbidden by law in most jurisdictions).) If it remains parked, the local authority commonly tows it to the junk yard. Other people may then sell it (or deliver it) to be stripped for spare parts for use in other vehicles.


The origin of the word is unknown. Is it possible that the non Spanish-speaking New Orleans-based longshoremen, referring to scrapped autos circa 1920 destined for Jalapa, Mexico scrapyards, pronounced the destination on the palettes "jalopies" rather than multiples or possessive of Jalapa.

Parallel nicknames in other languages

  • Rablā (in Romanian)
  • טרנטה (Tarante) (in Hebrew)
  • Carcancha (in Spanish)

See also

External links

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