Normally, to describe something which has special abilities or something secret, we use the phrase Something up its sleeve or something similar to that.

Now, if I had to say the same thing about a VEHICLE, which word other than sleeves should I use?

What could construe as the vehicular equivalent of sleeve?

  • 1
    I suppose you might say "something up its fenders". Hard to say how many people would "get" the reference, though. But it's completely idiomatic to say the car has tricks up it's sleeves.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 24, 2016 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


I'm hard-pressed to think of an actual vehicle system that somehow functions like a shirt sleeve and could also conceal unexpected abilities, though no doubt someone could devise a humorous version. But if you used the sentence, 'This car has a few tricks up its sleeve', I'm guessing you would be understood.

The idiom is now almost entirely dissociated from magic tricks or cheating at card games, anyway, so for people and inanimate objects alike, literal sleeves (or their analogues) aren't necessary.

  • Yeah, maybe wheel wells might work. But as HotLicks says, it's hard to know how many work get the reference.
    – Jim
    Apr 24, 2016 at 17:37
  • I'd agree with this. If you wanted to avoid saying 'sleeves', you could also just say "It's got a few tricks!" which would imply the same idiom.
    – Tim Malone
    Apr 26, 2016 at 22:46
  • Could I bring in a little bit of humour by saying, "The old car still had a few tricks up it's sleeves...or wherever old cars stored their tricks..." Apr 27, 2016 at 13:09

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