Joel Rosen and the crew at Baldwin-Motion dish up the ULTIMATE compact street machine – a 427 Phase III Chevy Nova!
During the ‘60s, Chevrolet had it all over the competition in terms of styling. Bill Mitchell was driving the styling for GM and his design philosophy was that a successful man wears cloths that are freshly pressed – sharp and crisp. He brought this “sharp and crisp” notion to even the lowliest of GM’s cars. The Chevy Nova was GM’s answer to the successful, compact-size Ford Falcon. While the early Novas and Chevy II cars were boxy, just like the Falcon, by ‘68 with the new fastback design, the little econo Chevy looked pretty spiffy. And the SS-396 was just plane TOUGH. While not really a “sleeper” (like the Biscayne) the SS Novas offered stout performance at a very reasonable price.
But when Joel Rosen and Marty Schorr designed Motion Performance’s “Fantastic Five” line up of five bad-ass Chevy supercars, the Phase III SS-427 Nova was one tough customer that wouldn’t break the budget!
It was sometime in early 1969 that I saw my first Baldwin-Motion Phase III Super Car on the cover of what would quickly become my FAVORITE car magazine, “CARS Magazine.” Unfortunately, that issue is long gone from my collection. But I seem to recall that the cover shot featured a banana yellow ‘68 Phase III SS-427 Corvette. The car was wearing ‘65 – ‘67 factory side-pipes, flared wheel wells, deep-dish Cragar wheels shod with wide 60-series tires, the trademark ‘67 427 hood scoop on top of the ‘68’s big-block hood, and a Pontiac hood-mounted tach. The overall look was STUNNING, and I was hooked!
In the back of the magazine was an ad for a Baldwin Motion Performance Group Phase III SS-396 & 427 Supercars catalog for a dollar! I parted with half of my allowance and a few weeks later received my catalog. Needless to say, I had to IMMEDIATELY go to my buddy, Steve Grasso’s house with my new treasure. We poured over that 10-page catalog for hours. CARS Magazine immediately became my favorite car magazine, followed by Hot Rod, Car Craft, and Popular Hot Rodding.
What I didn’t know at the time was that CARS editor, Marty Schorr was partners with Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen. While CARS Magazine wasn’t “officially” Motion’s house organ, Marty made sure that Motion machines graced the cover of MANY issues of CARS, plus lots of road tests, and his famous “in your face” Motion ads. So, for the next several years, I anxiously awaited each and every issue to see what Marty and Joel dished up next. For young car guys that were several years away from their driver’s licenses, it was “almost” as good as Playboy magazine. Almost!
I still have my two Motion Performance catalogs. Don’t faint when you see the prices of the cars because in their day, these were PREMINUM performance cars! Especially the Corvettes, which already cost nearly double the price of a regular Chevy. In retrospect, it is very gratifying knowing that my sense of specialness about these cars was spot on. Today, restored and even rough Motion cars are VERY valuable machines.
Joel Rosen and his team offered a stunning guarantee with every Motion supercar. Each car was guaranteed to run at least 11.5 ET in the 1/4-mile with a qualified driver. In all the years Motion built and sold their supercars, NOT ONE CUSTOMER ever requested their money back! As Marty Schorr used to say, “Nuff said!”
Enjoy the catalog sheets. More material to come. To see the larger images, just click the pictures.
PS – Back in the day, if you were buying a Baldwin-Motion Phase III supercar, here was the official Agreement.