What Is a Box Chevy?

If you’re a hip-hop fan, you might have heard rappers like Rick Ross namedrop their box Chevys. What exactly are they talking about?
Written by Andrew Koole
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Dec 14, 2021
A box Chevy is a subgenre of ‘donk’ cars. 
For those not in the know, the term “donk” refers to a particular
type of customization
where mechanics outfit their cars with lift kits, unique paint jobs, and large, flashy wheels. Also known as hi-risers, donk cars originated from the Dirty South
hip-hop
scene of the ‘90s.
The original donk cars were modified models from the ‘60s and ‘70s, particularly full-size Chevy sedans like the Impala and the Caprice, but the trend followed as models from the next two decades gained “classic” status. With them came new terms to categorize each donk style.
Box Chevys and donk cars were a cultural phenomenon.

Box Chevys are donk cars from the late ‘70s to the ‘80s

According to
Motortrend
, true donk cars are full-size Chevys from 1971 to 1976. Anything built from 1977 to 1990 isn’t called a donk—it’s called a box Chevy. 
But not every car from that era is a box car. The donk treatment is generally given to American-made sedans and coupes like the
Oldsmobile
Cutlass Coupe and the Chevy Caprice Classic. Think long, big cars with straight lines and sharp edges—hence the name “box.”
The shape of these cars changed after 1990. New models had their corners rounded off, inspiring the hi-riser community to label them bubble cars. Classic examples of bubble cars are the Buick Roadmasters, Cadillac Fleetwoods, and Chevy Caprices from 1991-1996.

What it takes to build a box Chevy

Donk cars come in all shapes and sizes, but if you want to build something true to the Dirty South roots of the car subculture, you’ll want to find a Chevy Impala or a Caprice. To make it a box Chevy, it needs to be a model from the era mentioned earlier.
Autoweek
says you should look for something “clean,” meaning a car that’s been well looked after and hasn’t been sitting unused for years. You’ll want to match the car with a set of oversized wheels. Some box cars sport rims that are up to 32 inches wide.
From that point,
other modifications
are largely up to you. Trends within the community have changed over the years, with lift kits being exchanged for flush mounts. Specialized paint jobs and interior upholstery are usually part of the game. Make your box Chevy your own.

The cost of building and owning a box Chevy

Prices for lift kits, rims, and other modifications vary, but whatever choices you make, don’t expect to build a box Chevy for cheap. Wheels alone cost can reach five figures. Some of the big names in the donk car community spend over $100,000 decking out their cars.
The modifications needed to turn your Chevy into a box will also raise your insurance rates. But you can save by shopping for quotes with
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Allstate
AAA
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Chubb
ClearCover
CSE
Dairyland
DirectAuto
Elephant Auto Insurance
Kemper
Libertymutual
Gainsco
Mapfre
Mercury Auto
Metromile
Nationwide
Plymouth Rock
Progressive
State Auto
Safeco
Travelers
Metlife
Bristol West

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