11.50 at 120mph Money-back Performance Guarantee

small block ford cobra drag race car street racing, wheelie ford

Who was Joel Rosen? Ever heard of Baldwin-Motion? Or maybe just, “Motion Performance”?

Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s, a young Joel Rosen finished high school at only 17 to begin college, but then joined the Air Force to get some more hands on experience. It was at Shepards Air Force Base where Rosen fine tuned his engine tuning and mechanical skills that he later used to hot rod his first car, a 1955 Olds 88 that ended up with a 4 barrel  and a McCullough supercharger. From there, Rosen bought his high school dream car, a fuelie 58 ‘vette, and used tune-up work and brake jobs to fund his real passion:  Build Motion Performance Super Cars.

This new book by Motorbooks publishing, Motion Performance: Tales of a Muscle Car Builder by Martyn L. Schorr, a man who obviously was THERE, says:

Mr. Motion was responsible for building, racing and selling the most outrageous low-volume-production, high-performance, new-car-dealer-delivered Chevrolets you could buy during those freewheeling decades. Baldwin-Motion Chevys have since become highly prized mega-priced collectibles that best define the Decade of Extreme Performance.

This book is recommended by MyRideisMe.com.  Here’s why:

  • Pictures of a fun loving Rosen doing wheels-up launches in the streets with his “Phase III”
  • “Money-back guaranteed” 427 big block super cars with the history included
  • It made me long for the days when baby Pikesan wasn’t even a slight twinkle in my boy-father’s eye
  • Back then, “Green” was just the color between yellow and blue in the rainbow.

Motion Performance Baldwin Camaro - Phase III 427

Money-back? Yea, they guaranteed their 427 Camaro would run 11.50 and 120 mph or they’d give you your money back!  And… believe it or not, it’d behave on the street all day long!  The secret? It wasn’t! They simply, “Raced what we built.” They also broke records all over the place and made a name for themselves.  It’s simple “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” at it’s finest.

Motion Performance Cobra ford 298 weber carbed dyno tuned

It surprised me, and maybe just from never looking into it, that dyno tuning engines has been around a long time.  Now-a-days, there’s a chassis dyno in every town and for not much money, you can run your ride to get the true, rear-wheel horsepower. You know the factory stated BS-power number’s usually 25% or more over what’s actually moving your ride down the road. This picture shows Rosen tuning the Weber carbed small block Ford Cobra called, “Dragginsnake” on the dyno.  Header length, injector stack length and of course, timing and fuel mix make the engine run right and win or shoot ducks and lose at the track. Rosen’s tune frequently hit the mark as evidence by all the trophies surrounding them on the wall.

Motion Performance-Baldwin Camaro phase 3, big block 427 drag racerBack to the “Win on Sunday” theme, check this out.  Imagine cruising into the Detroit or LA Auto Shows, two of the biggest new car shows now-a-days, or the New York Auto Show (back in 1967 -1968) and seeing then buying a 69 Phase III 427 Camaro like this one.  As Rosen’s sign says, “Don’t be a performance dropout!”  Shown below, Rosen’s on the left shaking hands and taking an order for another 11 second street beast.  I hope this kind of performance (but not the skinny ties) make their way back to future some day.

Motion Performance-Baldwin Camaro phase III, 427 1969, auto show

Fast-forwarding through several chapters of this 176 page book… You’ll find the Cobras and Corvettes that started it all, Camaro’s, more ‘vettes, Biscaynes and Chevelles, then later, “Motion Super Vegas” and even VW Bugs.  Those Chevy’s sported RPO numbers that by themselves make the Chevy faithful drool like L-88 and L-89.  Tying it all together, there’s more great pictures and info about the venerable SS 427’s built by Rosen, how they tuned it and won.

I won’t give away the sad ending. Suffice to say, the 70’s weren’t a great time for performance cars and suddenly Motion Super Cars were only available for “export and off-road use only.” Damn!

Still, this book’s a great addition to your Chevy nostalgia book collection and fits well into the, “Those guys were building some crazy rides!” library.  Get the book at discount from Amazon here.

Any great stories about Motion-Performance cars or other street racing legends like “The Real Silver Bullet” GTX from Woodward Ave please let us know. I’ll get that story online! Comment below.

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