Much as Autofrei is want to identify cars by their neighborhoods and regions (and vice versa), cars do more than just gravitate into local communities. Some cars are built and bought to travel long distances. While the Pinto up the street from me is likely to remain a neighborhood car, a full-size Chevrolet like this seems to be prepared to make the trip up from its native Virginia to the Upper West Side.
And it is indeed a native Virginian. From what I can tell, the state is very much a home to donks. I can’t really claim to understand why huge cars lifted up on massive chrome rims took off, but I can see the sense in how much style they offer for such an available, affordable car.
Full size cars are not particularly space efficient, but they do have plenty of room and show off the owner’s ability to buy into some excess and pay that little bit more on style over substance.
And that’s really all I care about. I don’t pay much mind to the aesthetics themselves, but I can completely appreciate how this Chevy’s owner went that extra mile to put some style on the road. Old car ownership isn’t always about used-car economies; there is usually some sentimentality or plain irrationality behind buying and maintaining a less-than-perfect old car over, say, a sensible but heartless 1990s Altima or 2000s Taurus.
In that sense, there is little separating a custom donk like this 1990s Caprice from a 1970s BMW. Both cars make their impracticality plain to see.
Irregardless of the typical plea for universal car appreciation, this Chevrolet does stand out as a particularly American vehicle, even though it has little to do with amber waves of grain or purple mountain majesties. Just because this Chevrolet is not a pickup for hauling cattle around like those West Texas Chevys seemed ready to do, this Caprice is a US Domestic Market-only vehicle that still drives the long interstate trips associated with the old American vehicular stereotype. That makes it just as goddamn American as anything else you’ll see on this website. America isn’t just about broad horizons and agriculture; lifted, chromed Chevrolets also tell a particularly American story of long-distance travel, attachment to automobiles, and a flavor for small-scale custom manufacturing.
God bless America.