At just 20 years old, it seems like Joe Stephens is an old soul in the car game. His ’96 Chevy Caprice rolling on 24s out of Merritt Island, Florida, is making some real noise down in these parts. Don’t know about Dooney & Bourke? Do your homework. The ladies understand. Let’s talk to Joe about where it all came from, where it’s at and where it’s all going for him.
Swrv: Hey Joe, how old were you when you got your first car and what kind of car was it?
Joe: I was 16 years old when I got my first car and it was a Pontiac Bonneville. I started hooking it up myself. I did the interior and added a new carpet kit, then I threw it on some 18-inch wires.
Swrv: So you had your first car on wires, huh? That seems to be an ongoing theme with most of the people that we spoke to, pun intended.
Joe: Yeah, I did that. Then I got an ’85 Caprice, had it painted, did some motor work on it and it put some Cadillac seats in it. And on that one, I had some 22-inch wires. This car, I originally had painted blue with black rims. Then I was wanting to build something from a ladies’ point of view since that’s who we really build the cars for anyway.
Swrv: Ain’t that the truth when you break it all down.
Joe: Yeah, it is, but me and my boys are always trying to come up with something different so we’re always thinking about what we can do that would be different. Everyone was doing LV, Gucci and such, so I wanted to do something that the ladies would get wet over. I started checking out the East Coast Ryder videos and I got ideas for different things. This car was two years in the making. It took a while to get my money right for it. I wanted to color code the entire undercarriage, something I really hadn’t seen. I added marine speakers so you could hear my music clear outside the car. Now you see it everywhere. And the Dooney & Bourke thing was different with the blues and pinks.
Swrv: Sometimes being different can backfire, though, can’t it?
Joe: It could, but I don’t build my car for car shows. I build it for me and people who appreciate it. At the Augusta [Georgia] show, I didn’t win anything, but I had people coming up to me all day telling me that I had the best car in the show. That’s enough for me. I don’t need no trophy.
Swrv: Well, that’s nice to hear for a change. But I’m sure like anything there are always haters.
Joe: Yes there are, but you know that haters will hate. I had some fool break into my garage while I was at the show and steal some 24-inch Dub Trumps and some 22s that I had in there for my girl’s car. In the end, they can kiss my ass. That ish ain’t hurt me. I’m gonna keep grinding. I work hard at a legal job, keep my paper right and my car tight. Haters get a job!
Swrv: That’s some real spit. Fools need to put those sippy cups full of “Hatorade” down. Any more mods on the car in the near future?
Joe: Right now I’m just gonna take a break for a few months and stack some more paper and then make a couple of changes that I’ve been thinking of.
Swrv: Any parting words?
Joe: Yeah, I’d like to shout out my Moms, Jonathan, Erica, my grandparents and my girl Kamira for having my back through thick and thin.
Dooney & BourkeOwner: Joe StephensVehicle: ’96 Chevrolet CapriceCity/State: Merritt Island, FloridaClub: No affiliation
Engine/Drivetrain: Stock Chevy 350
Body/Paint: The Dooney & Bourke paint scheme was created in the mind of Joe and made real by Emard’s Customs in Cocoa, Florida. The DuPont white basecoat with the D&B logos was done by Larry as well as the Lambo doors. The undercarriage was also given all of the love that the exterior was given and then some.
Interior: Innovative Customs in Sanford, Florida, stitched up an interior that Dooney & Bourke would be proud of. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if that’s the case, this interior is bowing down. The hot pink, baby blue and white vinyl may seem like some weak-ass colors, but when you combine that with the D&B logo you up on some real ish that has the ladies flockin’ and leakin’.
Sound System: South Park Audio in Titusville, Florida, did the installation, but there’s nothing funny about the sounds coming out of the D&B car. A total of 12 12-inch Memphis Audio subs are powered by a couple of Earthquake amps for a low-end roar that’s mind blowing. Tweeters and mids grind out the upper end of the sound spectrum.
Suspension: A custom deal here, a one-off that was done by Rydes by Rusty in Cocoa. What started out as a FabTech lift kit for a truck wound up being modified for the “bubble.” After extensive cutting, the lift-off was finally successful.
Tires: P295/35-R24 Cooper
Wheels: 24-inch Inox