‘fang’

 

Prototype for RT Series Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ sports racing car, Nota Engineering, Parramatta (Australia) 1971

Prototype for RT Series Nota Type IV ‘Fang’ sports racing car, Nota Engineering, Parramatta (Australia), 1971

Chris Buckingham (1921-2015), who introduced low-cost motor sport into Australia, built this prototype Nota Type IV which he named the ‘Fang’. Source: Guy Buckingham and Australian Motor Racing, by Margaret Simpson – Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Sydney

 

 

 

MEANINGS

 

Australian, colloquial:
– noun: a drive taken at high speed
– verb: to drive a car fast and in an aggressive manner

 

 

ORIGIN

 

This word is said to be from the name of Juan Manuel Fangio (1911-95), Argentinian motor-racing driver who won the world championship in 1951 and then held the title from 1954 until 1957. But this might be a folk etymology, since the g in Fangio is pronounced as a j.

It is first recorded in works by the Australian playwright Alexander Buzo (1944-2006). The Front Room Boys (1970) contains the following:

If I were one of the back room boys, you wouldn’t see me here before noon. I’d be down by the pool or out for a fang in the Jag. Or I’d be on the deck of a yacht with a bird in the raw¹.

(¹ in the raw: naked)

And, in Rooted (1973), Buzo wrote:

Let’s hop in the B² and fang up to the beach. We could go up the coast and down an ale at the Arms.

(² B: an M.G.B., the ‘B’ model of the M.G. sports car)

 

In The Language of Traffic Policeman, published in American Speech in 1962, Don Dempsey, of San Diego State College, mentioned the following unrelated verb:

Fang. To give a vicious oral reprimand. “They only bumped fenders³, but the drivers were really fanging each other.”

(³ fender: the mudguard or area around the wheel well of a vehicle)

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