Why Are Cars Called Whips?

cars-called-whips Credit: jmcarthy99/CC-BY 2.0

Cars are sometimes referred to as whips because steering wheels were called whips when they were first introduced. This was because steering wheels were used to control cars in the same way that whips were used to control horses in horse-drawn buggies or carriages.

The term “whip” was used in early rap and hip-hop music to mean “an expensive car,” but has since evolved to mean “a car.” According to urban legend, rap and hip-hop artists noted that the Mercedes-Benz logo looks like a steering wheel and began calling Mercedes-Benzs and other expensive cars whips. In the automotive industry, “WHIPS” also refers to Volvo’s whiplash protection system, which is designed to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries in car accidents.