Baldwin-Motion Phase III! 1969 Chevrolet Camaro 427

In the days before environmental matters and the resulting long arm of the law interfered with auto manufacturers, there were dealerships that specialized in ginning up the already potent performers rolling off of the Big Three’s assembly lines. Dodge had Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge while Ford and Tasca were synonymous with Blue Oval get-up-and-go. Chevrolet had numerous outlets to ply their products including Fred Gibb, Nickey, Berger, Yenko, and Baldwin-Motion located in Baldwin, New York. Today’s find is a Baldwin-Motion product in the form of a Phase III, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. This major-domo machine is located in Boca Raton, Florida and is available, here on Hemmings for $425,000 (gulp!). Thanks to Boot for this find!

The Baldwin-Motion lash-up was a combination of Baldwin Chevrolet and Joel Rosen’s Motion Performance both entities located near each other on Long Island. Those desiring factory hot-rods could purchase a Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Corvette, or Biscayne from Baldwin Automotive and then have it delivered to Motion Performance for some rework and unique identification. Operating between 1967 and 1974, Baldwin-Motion produced about 500 or so modified vehicles before Baldwin Chevrolet closed its doors and Motion Performance got itself in hot water with the EPA and the Justice Department. Of all of its vehicles, it is probably the Phase III Corvette that is most identifiable due to its dramatic appearance changes. The Camaro, such as our subject car, still managed to look the way that Chevrolet intended with the exception of the hood scoop, badging and American Racing wheels.

According to Supercars.net, the Baldwin-Motion Camaro was available with a standard 425 gross HP, 427 CI V8 engine, or a Phase III 427, good for 500 HP and guaranteed to run an 11.5-second quarter-mile run at 120 MPH with an approved driver on an NHRA/AHRA sanctioned strip. Supposedly Rosen never had to make good on a claim though I couldn’t determine what comprised warranty satisfaction. This Camaro is a Phase III version with the aforementioned 500 gross HP engine. By 1969, Chevrolet was actually installing the L72, 425 HP engine directly into the Camaro, courtesy of the Central Office Production Order  (COPO) system whereas in ’67 and ’68, an engine swap by Motion was necessitated. What exactly coerced the additional 75 HP from the 427 engine isn’t clear as the detail sheets, even blown-up, are hard to read. There is a reference, however, to a Holley carburetor, headers, and capacitive discharge distributor electronics. There is also the inclusion of traction bars and different shocks to help with that 11.5-second quarter-mile guarantee. This is, supposedly, the only Baldwin-Motion ’69 Camaro equipped with an automatic transmission. The seller claims, “Car runs as the day 1 it was built, will smoke the tires and make you feel like it is 1969 again…

There is no mileage listed for this Camaro and it has been in a private collection for some period of time, so it’s unknown if it is an original survivor or has experienced some refurbishment. Whatever the case, the Dusk Blue finish presents itself as new, nothing is disturbed or out of place. The period-correct wheels and red stripe bias-ply tires will make the owner feel like it’s 1969 again. There is even an original style spare tire still ensconced in the unmarred trunk. Assuming that this Camaro is all original, someone, years ago, must have known what they had and stored it properly for posterity. Of course, I’m not sure how one would do that with a car like this…it was meant to have the wheels driven off of it. So with that thought, perhaps this Chevy was restored somewhere in its past.

The curiosity item inside is the column-shifted automatic transmission – it detracts from this Camaro’s thunderous reputation a bit. There is only one interior image included and this is a console-less, black vinyl, bucket seat-equipped model. The under-dash gauges are a surprise as there was a full instrumentation option available on the Camaro but I believe that it required a console and if that’s the case, it would explain these gauges as an add-on; there is no reference of their inclusion in the accompanying Motion Performance documentation. Beyond that, there is also a Sun Super Tach strapped to the steering column but the rest appears as a standard ’69 Camaro interior.

This Camaro comes with a 1997 letter of authenticity, signed by Joel Rosen, along with the Motion Performance worksheet that details the component upgrades and prices. The Yenko Camaros seem to turn up more often at shows and auctions, and this is the first Baldwin-Motion Camaro that I have encountered in recent memory. At this price point, it’s more of an Investment Find than it is anything else but it surely is a remarkable representative of a time, long ago, when pretty much anything went as far as the American high-performance automotive scene was concerned. It would be great to hear from any commenters who have memories or stories around Baldwin-Motion’s performance line-up, is there anything that you can add?

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Comments

  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    While the auto may be rare, I still weeped a little.

    Like 7
    • 8banger 8banger Member

      Or is that wept…

      Like 6
      • John S Dressler

        Past tense – wept is correct.

  2. Tony Primo

    I always picture second generation Camaros when I hear Baldwin-Motion.
    https://youtu.be/w9atT2m8xEo

    Like 3
  3. Jcs

    The term Ro-Mo left me wondering, then i figured out that it referred to the Rosen, Motion collaboration.

    What a fantastic Camaro! Seems to be tailpipe week on BF. This car seems to be being represented as either original or sympathetic to original and is priced accordingly. I wonder if the tailpipe length is how they were equipped when sold? Unfortunately, I dont recall ever coming across any of these dealer sponsored Hotrods terrorizing the streets of N. Atlanta back in the day.

    Like 3
  4. Steve R

    Joe Oldham, Who authored Muscle Car Confidential and was a staff writer and test driver for Cars Magazine during the late 1960’s owned one for his personal transportation, until it was stolen out of his driveway and never seen again. Thats a great book. He goes over a series of test cars, testing procedures and what he really thought of them. He also covers their interactions with the manufacturers, what each party wanted, and how they were able to get their hands on cars they thought warranted testing.

    This car is probably worth every penny, if it’s as advertised. For many enthusiasts, it’s higher on the pecking order than Yenko Camaros.

    Steve R

    Like 18
    • Jcs

      Steve R

      At your suggestion I checked out the book that you mentioned and found a nice copy on Amazon. Seeing as it was the only decent hardback copy that I could find, I went ahead and purchased it. Should be here Monday.

      Thank you for all that you add to our hobby.

      Like 16
      • Steve R

        Thank you for your kind words.

        Hopefully you like it. It’s my favorite car related book. I hope you got a good price. Don’t forget to check eBay for items like this, that is my go to place when looking for memorabilia.

        Steve R

        Like 10
  5. Troy s

    Just keep bringin the heat, barnfinds!!!
    Ultimate Camaro, I was under the impression the Phase III used an L88 427 to reach that magical 11.bonkers quick ET, professional driver at the wheel of course.
    Great book, Steve R! Another similar book is Day 1 by Marty Schorr, Joe Oldham’s boss from back then. Its all fascinating to me.
    The wanted poster Baldwin Motion 427 Camaro, the black one, thats my favorite. Gotta go before I lose it here!

    Like 11
    • Steve R

      Thank you for the heads up, I just checked eBay, I think I’ll be ordering one from them. Cars and Super Stock were probably the two best monthly magazines from that era. Living in the west coast, they are hard to find on the secondary market, but over time it’s been possible to find a well rounded collection of back issues.

      Steve R

      Like 6
  6. don

    i use to skip school and drive there about a hour and 1/2 drive there in my 250 hp 74 super beetle and check out all the cars they also had motion mini car use to buy all by parts there too of my friends had motion car a 2gen camaro brown/black stripes the other was phase 3 vette. an friend picked up a 2 gen camaro and the body shop saw it was a motion car found a build sheet under the back seat from motion showing all they did to the car

    Like 9
  7. Big Len

    On an impulse, I drove my somewhat hopped up ’66 Nova to Motion Performance from northern NJ just to see this mecca of speed. I wasn’t disappointed as it was a busy place.

    Like 8
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Great stories about driving out and visiting an awesome speed shop in action.
      Alas, these places are probably gone, now that the Internet has taken over.
      A few years ago, I was visiting some relatives in Georgia, and we decided to drive over to Year One to check it out. They may have organized events, but when we went, all we saw was a showroom with very little merchandise and a couple of built cars. Nothing else going on, I guess we didn’t know what to expect.

      Like 2
  8. Larry

    Nice 427 camaro but not an s s model

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      These are SS Camaros, unlike factory built 427 COPO cars. These started life as 375 horsepower 396’s that received the 427 via an engine swap after they were delivered to dealer.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  9. Larry

    Up graded to a 427 with proof motion performance not an s.s. car

    • Boot

      Better than an SS………..as are the Yenko’s.

  10. Mark

    I’m not a fan of Camaro’s but the Baldwin cars are spectacular.

    Like 2
  11. Bill

    I thought these cars had aluminum heads and heater delete.

  12. JoeNYWF64

    I’m not sure what the more complex column shift buys you here – unless you like to slide over a lot & exit thru the passenger door – or the driver’s door won’t open. lol
    Not many gf’s back in the day(today, forget it even if you have a bench seat – unless you want a summons) would want to sit next to you on the carpeted trans hump.
    I think i’d rather drive a 6 cyl if it had the console horseshoe shifter.

  13. James Bishop

    All Camaro’s in the 1967-1969 years that gotten a Yenko ,Baldwin-Motion , Fred Gibb , Dana , Nickey Dealership program started out by ordering the car as a L-78 396/375 and paid to have the dealership do the engine swap TO the L-72 427/425. The only difference is if you ordered the COPO Camaro directly from any dealership and you knew about it ,wasn’t on any basic car order form. Then the COPO Camaro came with the 427 in the car directly . It was a special order (copo)-central office production order ) Same engine . Ordering Camaro’s back then wasn’t as it is now days . NO L-88 ,L-89 or ZL-1 was in any of these noted dealership programs . KEY word there PROGRAMS . If you wanted any of those 3 (L-88,L-89 ZL1) engines you simply ordered it through any dealer and paid the very high cost when you ordered the Camaro. There were 5/6 different 427’s and it depended on how you ordered it or if was in a dealership program . And it also depended how deep your pockets were . In reality back then, salesmen didn’t waste their time trying to sell you this type of car if your flipping burgers or have a paper route as income. So not many people knew much about the ordering ways or programs .As for this car, it looks legit but it lacks certain things possibly. It only has paperwork from 1997 , nothing from 1969 . Should show a picture of the cowl tag to start ,1969 paperwork, including original BM paperwork the statement letter from 1997 is not sufficient enough it doesn’t even state it is a SS Camaro only the VIN. All the questionable things , tailpipe , column shift , no console , add on gauges , traction bars . those are all possibly legit or could be some add on. Again different programs ,different dealerships ,50 + years ago . But I will say Don Yenko is the top gun in the dealership programs hands down . For all years 67-69 . This car doesn’t show much so you don’t know much . High command prices demand high amount of verifiable proof . To many people who are always talking trash! and don’t know what they are talking about .Be careful before you buy any car a lot of sellers trying to sell a Heintz 57 as original factory equipment and don’t tell you if you don’t ask or know . Happens everyday with Camaro’s mix and match with a sky high price tag .

    Like 2

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