The Mysterious Origins of the Word ‘Hooptie'

Andrew Koole
· 3 min read
There are a lot of terms, both affectionate and derogatory, to refer to a poorly maintained, old car. Some call them beaters; others call them clunkers; your grandpa and Archie Andrews called their’s jalopies. 
But few words combine the positive and negative feelings car lovers have for these vehicles better than the term “hooptie.” 
Much of its origins are unknown, but Sir Mix-a-Lot’s use of the word for his 1990 song ‘My Hooptie’ helped solidify its meaning—you only call your “piece” a hooptie if you still love it.

Hooptie = Cadillac “Coupe de” Ville?

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The exact genesis of the word “hooptie” is lost to history, but
Word Detective
says it first entered slang glossaries in the mid-1960s. 
One common theory is that it originated from “Coupe de,” a nickname for the Cadillac Coupe De Ville. Since the nameplate dates back to 1949, the idea of one being a piece of junk in 1965 isn’t too far-fetched.
The relationship to Cadillac also helps explain the appreciative aspect of the term. Unlike other types of old cars, there’s always something attractive or desirable about a hooptie. 
An aged luxury vehicle like a Coupe de Ville fits the bill perfectly. Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “six-nine Buick” also matches the description.
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Evidence against the “Coupe de” theory

After a surface-level investigation, linking the word “hooptie” to an old Cadillac model makes sense. But scan the comments section under Word Detective’s article, and the theory loses water fast.
Responses reference letters in which people referred to their old cars as “hoopies” almost 20 years before the first Coupe de Ville left the lot.
Others also point to
slang for any broken-down item as “hooped.” Early use of “hooptie” or its variations by Canadians is also disclosed.
Some even speculate that the term originated before the automobile in reference to old, worn-out horse-drawn carriages, though no evidence backing this theory up could be found.

Should you hold on to your hooptie?

Chances are if you call your car a hooptie, you’re holding on to it for sentimental reasons. Maybe it was handed down to you by a family member. Maybe it’s your first car and the memories of driving it and fixing it are too important to give up.
If it’s a dependable machine, holding on to an old car can help you save money on
car insurance
. But if repair costs are piling up, it might be more cost-effective to find something newer with better fuel economy. 
No matter what you decide to do with your hooptie, you should shop for car insurance quotes with
when it’s time to renew your current policy. 
A licensed broker that offers end-to-end support, the Jerry app gathers affordable quotes, helps you switch plans, and will even help you cancel your old policy. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year.

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