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Lot 667
1961 Chevrolet Impala "Double Bubble" Custom


Selling on Saturday Evening

CHASSIS NO: 11837L106806

• Recipient of numerous awards including Good Guys’ Builder’s Choice and Great 8 Riddler winner
• Over $1.5 million invested in fabrication, build and restoration
• One-of-a-kind styling, presentation, performance and potential
• Top-shelf design, construction and appearance; Proven winner

473 cid, V-8 engine, 600+ HP, EFI Injection Stacks induction, Tremec five-speed manual transmission, custom independent front suspension, live rear axle with Ford 9” and 3.50:1 gears, RideTech ShockWave® absorbers, four-wheel Wilwood six-piston caliper disc brakes; wheelbase: 119”

Joe Horisk loves custom cars. A few years back, he wanted to create a special vehicle that invoked the memory of his beloved first car, a 1961 Chevrolet Impala. Turning to the noted automotive stylist Erik Brockmeyer, Horisk told him that his goal was to create a modern incarnation of that classic design. Starting with the iconic “bubble-top” Impala, the two played with ideas such as the addition of a second bubble top, grafting it to the back of the original hardtop. After a number of preliminary sketches, it was decided that a completely new roof line and pillar arrangement would be needed, one that would incorporate the “bubble” theme into an operation liftgate/hatchback design. Once the concept was finalized, Horisk turned to Jeff Greening, owner of Nashville’s Greening Auto Company for the build. Taking several years to complete at a reported price tag of nearly $1.5 million, the “Double Bubble” went from dream to reality. When displayed at Detroit’s 2016 Motorama, it was the undisputed star of the show. Horisk’s vision, Brockmeyer’s design and Greening’s talents, as well as desire for perfection by all three, paid off by it being presented with the Great 8 Riddler Award. Since its debut showing, the Double Bubble has gone on to win numerous other honors including not one, but two Goodguys’ Builder’s Choice Awards!

Starting with a base Chevrolet Impala hardtop, the body was stripped down to bare sheet metal. Ahead of the cowl, the fenders were lengthened a full four-inches, with a matching handcrafted power-operated hood. All the exterior panels were massaged to perfection and shaved of all original side trim including the door handles. Once the build was started, Brockmeyer continued with mild revisions to make the final product flow. Original plans had been to graft a second 1961 hardtop to the first car, but it was later decided that the entire roof, including the opening rear hatch, was hand-formed creating the double-bubble effect. A subtle multi rib treatment to the rear surface of the roof was Horisk’s tribute to the 1955-57 Chevrolet Nomad. The top was chopped three inches, with the original windshield laid back seeing the lower lip of the glass tucked into the cowl where concealed windshield wipers also resided. Original side trim was replicated with CNC billet machined spears that capture the essence of the factory trim, but in a one-off elegant way. Finding the proper color was no easy task. Working with Glasurit products, just the right shade, finish and application was selected to highlight the sensuous curves and accentuate the subtle details with a dazzling result that shows off the workmanship. A close inspection of the Double Bubble reveals numerous details such as how the sheet metal seems to flow almost seamlessly into the engine compartment, down to the chassis.

The car is set upon an Art Morrison chassis that was highly modified and detailed to meet the demands of this build with included radiused corners, finished box rails and as much care into the prep and paint as the exterior panels. Under the hood will not disappoint. The Chevrolet’s legendary big-block 409 V-8 was reworked by Carma Performance of Nashville, Tennessee and was punched out to a healthy 473 cubic inches. Special Edelbrock heads were crafted specifically for this engine, along with a custom-built intake manifold to accept the 8-Stack Fuel Injection system. An Eagle crankshaft with a set of aluminum pistons, also from Edelbrock, the compression was boosted to 10.5:1 which provides plenty of power and a rumble that lets you know this car means business. This big-block V-8 is connected to a Tremec five-speed manual transmission with a McLeod clutch which transfers the power back to a Ford nine-inch rear end fitted with 3.50:1 gears. For wheels, Dave Wagner at Schott Wheels created these plus-sized replicas of the original 1961 Chevrolet design with 18” up front, 20” to the rear, with a set of Goodyear Eagles modified by Diamond Back Classic which created unique 3/8th sidewall stripe color matched to the side molding of the car. Six-piston caliper disc brakes from Wilwood were employed on all four corners, with a beefy set of CNC machined A-Arms connected to the Mustang sourced steering and Flaming River steering column.

Turning their attention to the interior of the car, the dashboard was completely re-engineered while maintaining a number of original 1961 Chevrolet components. A central cluster with Classic Instruments gauges continues the retro-theme and is located in the center of the dash utilizing several original trim pieces, but with modern upgrade electronic components. Using the same golden tan applied to the exterior’s trim inserts, premium leathers were applied to a pair of 1961 Cadillac Eldorado seats by artisan Paul Watkins. Also receiving this treatment were the backs of the bucket seats employing a “waterfall” effect with the same degree of skill used for the interior door and side panels. Even the dashboard was covered in stretched golden brown leathers with all these components tastefully accented with bright chrome aluminum trim. This color scheme is perfectly carried to the rear deck area where chromed strips protect the carpet which were hand shaved by Watkins. Helping to keep everyone cool is a Vintage Air climate control system through custom concealed vents. A complete sound system is concealed in the centrally relocated glove box out of everyone’s way. Jeff Greening of Greening Auto Company loves to accent his work with lights, and he created several custom trim pieces around lights, such as the twin chrome spears atop the fenders and concealed in the interior nooks. From any angle this is truly an automotive work of art and, even though it has been a consistent winner whenever displayed, there are many more honors and trophies in this car’s future – a future that needs a select caretaker to love and maintain the truly impressive famous “Double-Bubble”.

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