The 1961 Chevrolet Impala Bubbletop is renowned for its distinctive roofline, a hallmark of automotive history. Will Posey, the mastermind behind Big Oak Garage in Hokes Bluff, Alabama, dared to transform this classic into a one-of-a-kind custom piece, aptly named “Dirty Martini.” This green Impala has garnered numerous accolades, including the prestigious Goodguys Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year award in the GM Iron category.

Modifying a Classic
Will Posey’s vision for “Dirty Martini” went beyond mere customization for the sake of being different. Posey saw an opportunity to elevate the iconic Bubbletop to an unprecedented level of artistry. The car’s owner, Dan Duffy, inspired by his late best friend’s 1956 Chevrolet, trusted Posey to create something equally extraordinary.

Under the Hood
At the heart of this 1961 Impala is a Lamar Walden-built, 509 cu.-in. W engine, a tribute to the legendary 348 and 409 engines of the third-generation Impala. Paired with a TREMEC T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission, the engine is both a nod to history and a showcase of raw power.

Innovative Design
Posey’s approach involved a reverse wedge-cut, a technique that extended the rear of the car rather than lowering the front. This unique modification included vertical extensions of the rear quarter panels, reshaped rear wheel openings, custom-modified doors, and rocker panels. The bumpers were meticulously adjusted to integrate seamlessly with the car’s lines.

Posey addressed his dissatisfaction with the Bubbletop’s rear windshield design by cutting four-and-a-half inches off and crafting a new roof. The result is a sleek, green-tinted windshield and back glass, flush-mounted with custom trim by Greening Auto Company.

Engine Bay Perfection
The engine bay of “Dirty Martini” is a marvel of cleanliness and precision. Posey aimed for a “super sanitary” look, achieving it with a polished aluminum block and cylinder heads, custom valve covers, and an Offenhauser intake with six Autotrend EFI throttle bodies. Custom Alumicraft air cleaner assembly and stainless steel headers complete the engine’s pristine appearance.

Modern Meets Classic
The Impala now rests on a Roadster Shop chassis, boasting modern features like tubular control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, a four-link suspension, and Baer brakes. The floors have been re-engineered into a unibody structure, simplifying maintenance and enhancing structural integrity.

Eye-Catching Exterior and Interior
The custom “Dirty Martini Green” paint, a creation of Posey and Axalta, is perfectly complemented by Tavis Highlander-designed Schott Performance Wheels. The wheels feature gold centers and measure 20 x 12 at the rear and 20 x 8.5 at the front.

Inside, the car features an off-white leather interior with suede inserts, crafted by Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors. The interior trim was designed and machined by Atomic Machine and Fiber Forged, while Dakota Digital gauges and Clayton Machine pedals add a modern touch. A custom-machined steering wheel mounted to a Flaming River tilt column completes the ensemble.

Recognition and Future Plans
“Dirty Martini” has not only turned heads but also earned numerous awards, including the 2022 Goodguys Fuel Curve Custom of the Year. Posey’s innovative work has established him as a preeminent builder in the custom car world, earning him the Chevrolet Performance Builder of the Year award.

Posey’s passion extends to the autocross scene with his new venture, GRIP Autocross. He plans to transform a two-door OBS Tahoe with the Connect & Cruise package into another autocross competitor, showcasing his continuous drive for innovation and excellence.

Will Posey and Big Oak Garage have undoubtedly set a high standard in the world of custom automotive builds with “Dirty Martini,” a true testament to creativity, skill, and a relentless pursuit of perfection.

Specs and Performance Highlights

  • Engine: Lamar Walden-built 509 cu.-in. W engine
  • Transmission: TREMEC T56 Magnum six-speed manual
  • Chassis: Roadster Shop chassis with modern suspension
  • Brakes: Baer brakes
  • Custom Paint: Axalta “Dirty Martini Green”
  • Wheels: Tavis Highlander-designed Schott Performance Wheels (20 x 12 rear, 20 x 8.5 front)
  • Interior: Custom off-white leather with suede inserts by Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors
  • Notable Features:
    • Reverse wedge-cut body modifications
    • Custom roof and green-tinted windshield/back glass
    • Super sanitary engine bay with polished aluminum block and custom components
    • Unibody floor structure for ease of maintenance
    • Custom-machined interior trim and steering wheel

The 1961 Chevrolet Impala “Dirty Martini” stands as a pinnacle of custom automotive artistry, blending classic style with modern performance and innovative design.

Source: Chevrolet/The-Block
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