What Are Donk Cars?

A donk car is a 1971-76 Chevrolet Caprice or Impala that has been modified to have more ground clearance, larger tires, and a more striking visual appearance.
Written by Holden Easterbrook
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
A “donk car” is a heavily modified 1971-76 Chevrolet Caprice or Impala that features high ground clearance and large, low-profile tires. Donks frequently also have high-performance racing engines and striking visual accents.
Have you ever seen a lifted Chevy sedan with oversized, thin tires? While the car was certainly showcasing its owner’s tastes, it was also an interesting footnote in American automotive history. Known as donk cars, these high-risers quickly became a favorite at car shows and drag races for their unique designs and embellishments.
Keep reading for more about donk cars, their history, and how to affordably insure your own.
MORE:

What is a donk car?

While the definition of a “donk car” has broadened over the decades, there are still some features that are generally required for a vehicle to qualify as a donk.
For purists, the body of a donk car must come from a 1971-76
Chevrolet Caprice
or
Impala
. From there, the car will need to be modified for significantly higher ground clearance and be outfitted with oversized (minimum 24 in.), low-profile tires.
It’s important to keep in mind that these qualifications are just to establish the baseline for donk cars. Most donks will meet these requirements and then go well above and beyond, showcasing additional features like:
  • Visually striking paint jobs
  • An abundance of chrome plating
  • Highly stylized interiors
  • Over-the-top entertainment systems
  • High-performance engines for drag racing

Other types of high-risers

While it’s not uncommon to hear “donk” used to classify any heavily modified car, it’s far from accurate. As mentioned before, the gold standard for donk cars is the 1971-76 Chevy Caprice or Impala. Any other vehicle with similar modifications would fall under the broader category of “high-riser.”
Of course, high-risers wouldn’t be a true style of car modification without additional sub-categories. Due to the nature of their body shapes, a modified 1977-90 Chevy Caprice is known as a “box” and a 1991-96 Caprice is known as a “bubble.” Though knowing these terms won’t make getting your hands on a donk any easier, you’ll certainly look like you know what you’re talking about the next time you’re at a high-riser auto show!
icon
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

The history of donk cars

Though the very beginning of the donk car movement is lost to history, the first donks began appearing in southern Florida during the early 1990s. At the time, this style of car modification seemed like a temporary fad, but it continued to spread and find fans across the nation in the following decades.
Donks began to make a name for themselves when they started appearing in drag racing competitions. On the surface, these cars seem poorly built for the sport due to their excessive weight and high center of gravity coupled with an emphasis on appearance. However, the addition of high-performance racing engines has turned this unlikeliest of contenders into a regular feature of most amateur racing events.
Nowadays, you can expect to see a donk car just about anywhere. With auto shops that specialize in custom donk modifications and even the formation of a National Donk Racing Association, this style of car will be a staple of the American automotive scene for decades to come.
Compare quotes from 50+ insurers with Jerry in under 45 seconds?
icon4.7/5 rating on the App Store | Trusted by 5+ million customers and 7 million cars
icon4.7/5 app rating | Trusted by 5M+ drivers

The problems with donk cars

Before you run off and purchase a Chevy Caprice or Impala to start your custom donk build, you should be aware of the inherent problems of this particular style of car.
To begin, the low-profile tires that are a staple of this style mean that there’s less cushioning between you and the road. Don’t expect a smooth ride in a donk, because you’ll feel every bump and pot-hole along the way.
Additionally, the high-riser style will mean a much higher center of gravity for the car. When you’re driving around sharp turns, you’ll have to be careful, otherwise, you may find the car rolling over before you can straighten out.
Finally—and this is the most important—you could find yourself paying an extremely high premium for your donk’s car insurance policy. Because of the donk car’s prominence on the drag racing scene, insurance providers will place your vehicle in the same category as sports cars (which automatically classifies you as a higher-risk driver). 
To make things worse, the modifications the average donk car receives quickly add up to a very expensive vehicle in the end, and insuring all of that will push your rates up even further.
Key Takeaway While they are interesting and visually striking vehicles, donk cars are expensive to insure due to their drag racing history and costly modifications.

How to find affordable car insurance for a donk car

Whether you just bought a vintage Chevrolet Caprice with intentions of modifying it or already have a tricked-out donk car, you need to protect that investment with a great car insurance policy. Luckily, you don’t need to spend hours comparing the rates of different car insurance companies to find the best deal—the
Jerry
app will do it for you.
As a licensed car insurance broker and
trustworthy super app
, Jerry has access to the best quotes being offered by a selection of more than 50 insurance providers. You won’t have to wait on hold for hours or haggle with a salesperson to access these amazing deals, just download the app. All said and done, you can save an annual average of $887 in less than two minutes.
Already have car insurance? That’s not a problem. Along with saving you money, the Jerry app will save you time by signing you up for your new policy and helping cancel your old policy for you. What’s even better, Jerry will continue to send you new coverage options each time you need to renew it.
You won’t find customer service like this anywhere else, so download the Jerry app today and stop wasting your hard-earned money!
Jerry
was so easy to use. A representative texted me my lowest quote, and when I responded yes, Progressive emailed me 2 minutes later with the next steps. I highly recommend it if you don’t want to look for quotes alone!” —Sayad A.
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

FAQs

While there are a lot of unofficial or spur-of-the-moment donk events, you can find organized car shows and races by checking out the National Donk Racing Association’s
official website
. Along with keeping a list of events, they are working towards standardizing donk racing and getting the best racers the recognition they deserve.
Kelley Blue Book
and
Edmunds
are good places to begin looking for a classic donk car to customize. However, if you are unable to find anything, you may need to
contact an auto shop
that specializes in donk cars for recommended dealers.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings