Big Oak 1961 Impala
From Dakota Digital
Let’s call it “Dirty Martini Green” Will Posey of Big Oak Garage told his longtime friend and customer Dan Duffy. This ’61 Impala is a prime example of how busy Dan keeps Will and his team with over 13,000-man hours into this build alone covering a 5-year span. Why so long you ask? Well virtually every piece on this car has been modified. In the early design stages, Will and Dan agreed upon an idea that is rarely done to a car, they “reverse wedge cut” it. What that means is they added material to the sides of this car. Starting at the “A” pillar of the windshield, Will created a tapered spear of extra sheet metal all the way to the tail lights eventually adding 2 ½ inches of height at the rear. What this also accomplished is it pushed the front end down and gave the car a unique, menacing stance. As if that wasn’t enough, 4 ½ inches were taken out of the windshield and back glass, rear wheel well openings were re shaped, the hood was extended to eliminate the cowl panel, the bubble top got a new skin with a new shape, custom trim, bumpers, tail light bezels and the list goes on.
A few years ago, Will sent me a picture of the car next to a stock Impala. Side by side the modifications were blatantly obvious, but by itself, they are all quite subtle and to the passerby, it’s somewhat stock appearing still. Under the hood the subtleties continue with a pair of “W” motor valve covers with a factory appearing Chevy black and gold sticker on them. Look closely though, those “W” valve covers are not on a 348 or 409 power plant, it’s an all-aluminum 509 cubic inch engine built by the legendary Lamar Walden Automotive who’s claim to fame was “World’s Fastest 409”. According to Will, any 61 or 62 Chevy needs a “W” motor powerplant, he never said it had to be stock though.
Inside the dash of the green and white interior you will see a custom Dakota Digital HDX gauge system that is similar to the stock sweep gauge normally in these cars. The 3 small satellite gauges in the steel dash were eliminated and all Will wanted the needles to point out was RPM, water temp and oil pressure. Thanks to the left and right digital screens, all other vitals can be monitored in those information centers like, speed, volts, fuel level, odometer and even performance readouts in case Dan wants to open up that 509 c.i. engine.
2022 was a busy year for Will, in February, 2022 at the Grand National Roadster Show, the Impala took home the Sam Foose Design Award presented by Chip Foose, the Sid Chavers Stitch of Excellence Award for the interior, the Von Hot Rod Award of Excellence and competed for Al Slonaker Memorial Award for best non-roadster at GNRS. After that, it took home Daryl Starbird’s Go for the Gold award, and later on it captured the Goodguys 2022 Custom of the Year. In November at SEMA in front of all his peers, Will was presented with the Goodguys Trendsetter of the Year Award, and the Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year. Maybe in 2023 Will can find time to work on building a trophy case.