Story By: Jonathan Millstein
Photography By: Andrew Link
Chicago conjures up images of Lake Michigan, deep-dish pizza, even the easily forgettable Cubs. But what it doesn’t invoke for most are images of a custom-car culture, let alone one influenced by Donks. However, Ramiro Elicea, owner of Global Chrome Finishes, is on the verge of putting Chicago Donks on the map in a big way with builds like his 1975 Chevy Caprice.
“The Donk culture in this area is not very defined,” says Ramiro. “We pretty much are establishing the market on it.” It is that undefined market that allowed Ramiro the freedom to take his Donk in a direction counter to many down south. “Our cars aren’t really built for loud and bright colors; we kind of build our cars based upon a luxury look, a luxury feel,” he says.
It’s that desire for luxury above all else that led to many of the car’s features, from the electric boot cover to the newer trend of halo lights in old-schools. “We try to class it up, kind of like a new-age Donk,” says Ramiro. And helping to keep it “new age” is a set of fully concave 26-inch Forgiato Girato wheels that were a first from Forgiato, who played a major role in the car coming to life.
While out to dinner with a Forgiato representative in L.A., talk turned to SEMA, and Ramiro learned they were in the market for a Donk for their booth. Having just purchased this ’75 body himself, Ramiro seized the opportunity to build and showcase a Donk at SEMA. The only catch: The show was five weeks away. “We did a five-week frame-off restoration,” says Ramiro. “I just built the car how I’d build a Donk.”
Toned down and guided by his desire for luxury over flashy, that’s just the way Ramiro finished his Donk. “We’re not trying to overdo a car, we’re not filling a car with TVs,” says Ramiro. In fact, the car features a very modest amount of Alpine audio in the trunk in the form of just three Type-R subs with Rockford Fosgate amps.
By the looks of this Caprice, they are clearly doing Donks different in Chi-Town, and it’s a style that will undoubtedly have you thinking Lake Michigan, deep-dish pizza and Donks in no time.
Spec The Technique
Performance: 498 big block by Borowski Race Engines; Billet Specialties pulleys; Monster transmission; Currie Enterprises rear end
Exterior: Tri-stage graphite gray; frame-off restoration; red emblems, body stripe; LED lighting system; custom convertible top
Interior: Custom red leather lowrider interior by Joe at California Upholstery; carbon-fiber trim by Global Dip Printing; Dakota Digital dash; push-start ignition
ICE: Three Alpine Type-R 12-inch woofers, interior speakers, head unit; Rockford Fosgate amps
Wheels / Tires: 26-inch Forgiato Girato wheels; Pirelli tires 255/25/26 with custom red lines
Shout-outs: The team at Global Chrome Finishes and Global Elite Motoring; Joe at California Upholstery; Borowski Race Engines; my good friends A.C. and Gary at Forgiato; Elite Electronics; the Tire Surgeon