Donk’s, those cartoonish, brightly-colored and big-rimmed contraptions that people build, are typically thought of as tasteless, tacky, and ugly. Their massive rims are considered an an eyesore by many, and don’t help performance in anyway.
They aren’t fast, are seldom seen racing, and they aren’t usually thought of as hot rods. However, Tim Bourgoine from Oswego, Illinois, wanted to prove that these big-wheeled machines can be serious hot rods.
Tim is the owner of Bet It Up Kustoms, a shop specializing in building big-wheel Donks. The cars he typically builds, utilize suspensions that are perfect for cruising slow. That being said, when putting this car together, he wanted to do something different. For that reason, he undertook the strange quest of building a Donk that could drag race.
Tim took a 1976 Malibu, and dropped a 454 cubic-inch big-block under the hood. He tells us that the engine was over-bored .030-inch, has a Comp Cams Mutha Thumpr cam, steel heads, and an Edelbrock intake with a double-pumper carburetor. To make sure the power met his demands, he also added a 150-horsepower shot of nitrous oxide (the kit is actually adjustable up to 250 horsepower).
The big-block is hooked to a Turbo 400 transmission with a 2,400 stall converter, and there is a 3.73-geared rearend out back. The Malibu has yet to be dyno’d, but he believes the engine is making approximately 400 horsepower before spraying the nitrous, and close to the mid-500s when spray is ingested.
Believe it or not, the car is capable of rocketing to 12-second 1/4-miles times while sitting on those massive 28-inch wheels. Not bad for a car that weighs 5,100 pounds. The secret? A suspension that works. Tim builds custom suspensions using his Bet It Up Kustoms-fabricated control arms with Viking adjustable shocks.
During a recent test-and-tune session, he was paired against a 1983 Monte Carlo SS with an LS1 under the hood. The Malibu did a decent burnout for a car with rubber band tires, and surprisingly hooked and launched well.
It kept up with the Monte Carlo (who red lighted), and crossed the stripe while running an e.t. of 12.72 at 110.75 mph. The car then matched up against a red, first-generation Camaro running drag tires. While the Malibu got left in the dust, it still ran a 12.30-second e.t. During the final pass of the night, the Malibu clicked off a 12.16-second e.t. Believe it or not, this was the first time running the car at the strip, and he managed to pull a best 60-foot time of 1.85 seconds.
While we aren’t usually fans of Donk-style cars, we have to give credit where credit is due and admire the performance of this car. We honestly can’t get over how quick this car moves down the 1320. That’s the thing about test-and-tune sessions at a dragstrip, you never know what you will see.