1974 Chevrolet Caprice

This Donk comes from rural country, but it ain't a rube.

Story: Evan “Evo” Yates

Photography: Andrew Link

Peoria, Illinois, and Donks are far from synonymous. In fact, car shows that cater to them are held literally once a year—okay, maybe twice. So Melvin Murry, owner of Murry’s Custom Autobody in Peoria, is a bit of an outlier when it comes to custom cars in his town, as you may remember his ’Maro Muscle from last year. But in the pages of RIDES, he’s right at home.

The manner in which Melvin acquired the Caprice was as a byproduct of his local fame after a newspaper story surfaced. “They had an article in the paper on my shop, and an older lady read it and called me,” he explains. “She said she had an old-school in her barn that was her husband’s before he died. I went out there and bought it on the spot.”

Once the ’vert was back at Murry’s, color selection was the first order of business. “We were at a big car show in St. Louis and saw the Outrageous paint in person, so we decided to go with that,” says Melvin. “It’s some really nice paint, not hard to spray at all and not nearly as difficult as candy.” With one of the more subtle Outrageous hues chosen (Amber Gold, which has a black base but flips between gold, green and blue), Melvin proceeded to the guts.

Peanut-butter suede with a forest-green detail was chosen for the interior, resulting in an elegant yet custom feel throughout. The trunk enclosure was upholstered with the same sea of tan suede covering all the trim panels and a custom subwoofer enclosure housing the four JL Audio subwoofers.

If nothing else, Melvin is a true motor head, so there was no way this ’74 land yacht would be doin’ stock numbers. He went with a 468 big block bored .30 over, along with a slew of other upgrades that guarantee this captivating Caprice will be able to roast the tires and the competition. “What’s the point of building it but not being able to enjoy it?” Melvin asks. “The most fun thing you can ever do is get on the highway with a bunch of your friends all in custom cars going down the road.” He continues, “We drive it to the Chicago car shows, on the highway, everywhere—all my cars are like that.”

After the paint, guts and motor met Melvin’s standards, the rim selection would have to be made, and admittedly, he struggled with it initially. “At first we had some DUBs on there, and they weren’t doing anything for it,” Melvin proclaims. “When you see the top-notch cars in the game, they all have three-piece wheels. That staggered rim just gives you an incredible look—so I had to do it.” He went with a set of staggered 26-inch Forgiato Veccios with painted accents on Fullrun tires, and with that final touch, Melvin’s Chevy graduated to the big leagues. “When you spend 20 or 30 grand on a car and it looks better than a 100-grand car, I think you’ve done something,” he says. “It’ll stand with any Donk in America.”

Spec The Technique:

Performance: 468 big block Chevy; 350 turbo transmission; B&M Torque Converter; March pulley system; custom air intake breather; Flowmaster exhaust

Interior: Custom suede and leather interior; custom convertible boot and car seat by Jerry at A1 Upholstery in Bartonville, Illinois

Exterior: Outrageous Ecstacy Amber Gold paint

Ice: Four JL Audio W6 12-inch subwoofers, twelve 5.25 component speakers powered by a six-channel amplifier; Kicker ZX2500.1 amplifier in a custom ported box; two Stinger batteries, wiring; 250 Mechman alternator; Kenwood DNX8120 head unit by Sound of Peoria; Dakota Digital dash; HID headlights

Wheels/Tires: Staggered 26-inch Forgiato Veccio wheels; Fullrun tires, 255/30/26 front, 275/25/26 rear

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