The choice between building a show car or one you’re willing to drive daily. Typically a driver can stop short of all the great detail that goes into a show vehicle. When Joe Horisk started his 1961 Impala wagon, he wanted the best of both worlds.
The aim was to be able to take his Double Bubble wagon on the road and still take home prizes. So far he’s been a finalist for the Ridler Award, won the Pirelli Great 8, and a Street Shaker Award. This restoration was the perfect way to please his lifelong love for the Impala Wagon.
His first car was also a ’61 with a four speed and 350 horsepower coming out of a 348. That was 50 years ago when the Impala Wagon was the fastest and largest full sized Chevy. Five decades later he’s in the same model year with extensive mods and nearly twice the power.
The Merlin 540ci big block that’s now under his hood runs out 600 horsepower. Starting out as a 409 from a 1963 Chevy, the displacement was pushed to 473 cubic inches. This was finally paired with a McLoed clutch and a Tremec five speed transmission. The engine bay is so clean and tidy thanks to precision sheet metal work.
As for the exterior, he started by working with an artist and designer. His vision was to make the Impala wagon into what he thought it always should have been. A second bubble top came from another of the same car to make it a true Double Bubble. Chrome trim finishing touches were finally added from tip to tail.
Custom pillars and window moldings were paired for unique style. Billet side trim came from a CNC machine, lower stance gets an assist from modified fender flares. 3D printed lenses and machines bezels emphasize the headlights. These lights draw attention to the custom front bumper. Fender spears were also 3D printed to feature even more lighting.
The same detail coloration comes inside the vehicle in the best possible ways. In addition to tan leather on the seats from a ’61 El Dorado, there are matching door panels. As well as adding contrast to the tan, a darker toned original era dash also adds a genuine feel. Custom chrome trim inserts and razor shaved carpets finish off the interior design.
With its show ready design, the Double Bubble is ready to take on any car show it goes to. Finally, after being a trophy contender, Joe will be taking the Double Bubble on the road. He set out with two different goals in mind and accomplished both with his 1961 Impala wagon.