Vintage Supercar: 1969 Baldwin-Motion Corvette

There are those who, at first glance, might dismiss this car as a modified C3 Corvette unworthy of special attention. But to those in the know, this car presents the tantalizing possibility that it might just be one of the more rare custom sports cars in the world– a 1969 Baldwin-Motion Corvette Phase III GT. It’s located in the Tampa Bay area and advertised here on craigslist for $23,900. Many thanks to Patrick S for the tip!

Like many speed and tuner operations, Motion Performance developed organically, ultimately gelling under the leadership of Joel Rosen in 1966. Rosen set up shop in Baldwin, New York, a Long Island suburb of New York City, and quickly established a partnership with Baldwin Chevrolet, taking stock Chevy products– Camaros, Corvettes, and at least one Vega– to the next level. And what a level that was: Joel offered a guarantee that the modified cars, driven by a qualified driver on an AHRA or NHRA sanctioned track, would complete a quarter-mile in 11.50 seconds at 120 mph. To date, no one’s collected. Turning out cars from 1967 to 1974, the first iteration of Motion Performance was ultimately forced to cease production of its big-block monsters after a combined assault by the EPA and the Transportation Department.

The Baldwin-Motion cars are rare: Rosen has given a figure of 500 or fewer, of all models. Of these, only ten were Phase III Corvette GTs. That makes this example an extremely desirable collector piece– if it’s real. Much like Yenko or Dana, there are tributes, and considering that every car Motion Performance touched was built to the customer’s specifications, there’s little use trying to compare one example to another. Online sources suggest that the only person who can identify a car with certainty is Rosen himself. This service seems to be available, though expensive. Still, it would be worth it to remove any doubt about the car’s provenance.

The car is in rough shape and would require complete restoration. The ad states that it comes with a rebuilt 427 (wearing Motion Performance valve covers), which is currently out of the car. The interior is shot, even missing the shift lever, and what the underside looks like is anyone’s guess. On the other hand, should it prove genuine, there’s little doubt that the car warrants a complete restoration. Although Baldwin-Motion Corvettes rarely come up for sale, they have brought respectable six-figure prices at auction. Of course, they also bring a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of supercar history still capable of stupefying performance.

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Comments

  1. J_Paul Member

    Based on the photos I’ve looked at of other Baldwin Phase 3 Corvettes, this one has several styling differences that would make me want more proof of the car’s origins. While the headlights are similar, the enclosures seem sharper edged, and there are also a lot of differences in the hood and front/rear bumper areas,

    But since the seller isn’t asking $100,000+ for this, it may be worth looking into. Even if it turns out not to be a “real” Baldwin, $23,000 seems like it could be a reasonable starting point for a unique big block Vette.

    Like 7
    • Will Irby

      Yeah, there is something about the headlight nacelle shape that doesn’t look quite right to me, and I don’t recall the rear spoiler looking like that either. I’m going to pull out a couple of old magazines and compare. However, the round expanded metal air cleaner does look correct, and although I can’t be positive from the picture, that does look like the correct Holley 3-barrel carb. This one is in pretty rough shape.

      Like 3
  2. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    If it’s real, complete and the buyer has the wherewithal to rebuild it the deal is really pretty sweet-especially considering the seller is willing to throw in a 20’ car hauler with it.
    Good looking, good performance cars for their time and a snub to the know-it-all Corvette collectors that buy but don’t care to research the history of the marque.

    When you roll the dice you take your chances-if you know the game you can at least break even..

    Like 4
  3. John A.

    Get the vin and email Joel Rosen to verify it’s real. Be prepared to layout approximately $2500 to find out.

    Like 7
    • steve

      Going to be tough. The businesses were closed many years ago for tax problems I beleave.

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        There is still an active website that lists contact information and says it will forward requests for documentation. It isn’t cheap, but considering the value it brings to a car, it’s worth it.

        Steve R

        Like 9
  4. jerry z

    Don’t know why the owner just doesn’t spend the money to see if the car is the real deal. Joel Rosen lives in Florida too.

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      If you truly believe it is, you spend the money, it’s a no brainer. If you have significant doubts that it isn’t real, you are out a couple of thousand dollars and have to lower the price of the car. That’s the way the game works. I’d say, based on the ambiguous language he chose to use in the beginning of the ad, he has his doubts. “The best that I can figure out”, are the magic words, its what allows them to shirk responsibly if someone pays a premium for this car and later finds out there is no association with Motion.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  5. Steveo

    $2,500 for a guy to get up out of his chair, go to a notebook and compare a set of digits against another set.

    Seems reasonable.

    Like 12
    • Steve R

      It is reasonable. Considering that the documentation will most likely add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of the car.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  6. piston poney

    for someone claiming it to be a real Baldwin Motion Corvette you would think they would take better pictures, at least push outside in the sun, part of me wants it but 1 dont have the money and 2 with my luck it wouldnt be a real motion vette 3 i dont have the time go to Florida to get it, even if it isn’t a really motion vette it would still be cool have, tho id do a couple more modifications to it.

    Like 2
  7. mainlymuscle

    Logic dictates that the SELLER would increase his $2500 “investment ” ten fold ,with the verification from Rosen.Pure folly for a potential buyer to do so.
    Maybe this is Rosen’s car,and he’s hoping to get 10 potential buyers to send him the cash.The definition of having your cake and eating it too.

    Like 2
  8. Steve Clinton

    I can never understand why some owners turn these vintage Vettes into kit cars.

    Like 2
  9. Don Sicura

    The VIN can be traced through the Corvette Museum to see if it was ever delivered to Baldwin Chevrolet & at a minimal price, then you can decide if you want to move forward to contact Joel Rosen, I understand his desire to make some money if a person will be profiting from his documentation, but I would like to think that he could at least let people know if the car is NOT a Motion Performance build at a reasonable price.

    Like 6
  10. Mark

    Mr. Rosen can be credited with making some awesome powerful cars that’s for sure. I remember his performance guarantee and have a pic of him doing a launch and pulling the front wheels on one in front of his shop.
    But regardless of its lineage, this is one ugly Vette. GLWTS.

    Like 4
    • Steven Ramos

      My uncle bought a phase 3 Baldwin Corvette but he turned it into a pimp mobile…My cousin his son still has the Corvette and it’s numbers matching but to bring it back to that way it was is gonna cost lots of $$$$

      Like 1
  11. Al

    You MUST give Joel the vin # & then he will tell you if it’s a genuine Motion car. Back in ’99, a friend wanted to sell me his ’67 Chevelle SS. Sitting on the side of his house for a couple decades. At the time, he wanted $900 & it needed FULL restoration. I passed as I just sold my ’70 Vette to move from CT to ID & didn’t want to haul it cross country. In ’03 another friend that came out to visit me in Meridian, told me he bought it. He said at the time, he told Eddy to get the title if he wants the cash. Then he saw on the title, Baldwin Motion Performance. He gave Mason the $900 for it. Not even 2 weeks later, he put it on Ebay & without touching it, sold for $75k! That guy recently sold it a few years ago & now it’s in the hands of Joe Gibbs, fully restored to mint, I heard it was the ONLY ’67 SS Chevelle that held many records at the NY & CT tracks back in the day. He sent me pics of it restored, wish I could share, beautiful blue.

    Like 4

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