Body Shop Find: Lost Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvette Has a New Home!

Dateline: 11.4.11

An abused Motion Performance exotic gets a new lease on life!

Don't let it boil your blood. It happens.

(Check out the slide show at the bottom of this post!)

According to the Motion Performance “bible,” Marty Schorr’s “Motion Performance: Tales of a Muscle Car Builder” book, only 4 Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvettes were built. One red car with white striping and three yellow cars, like the one presented in the below post. To date, only two of the four cars can be accounted for. As documented in Schorr’s book and on the net, the red Can-Am Spyder is part of Dan McMichael’s collection of Motion cars. And now we know of the below car. If you know of the whereabouts of the remaining two yellow Can-Am Spyders, please let us know. Thanks! – Scott

When it comes to old cars, most of us are familiar with the expression “barn find” and I’m sure that we’ve all had a day dream or two about finding an old neglected exotic, hiding under a pile of stuff in a barn. Well, here’s a new version of that “barn find” expression that I’ll call, “body shop find.” That certainly was former body shop owner and Maryland legislator, Rick Impallaria’s experience.

When Rick decided to get into public service as a legislator, he had a close his body shop business. While the business was officially closed, he still owned the building and equipment, so he leased his old enterprise to former professional baseball player, Richard Green. If you follow professional baseball, you surely will recognize that name. Green had the notoriety of having played in all four Oakland A’s World Series games. Well, life goes on after retirement, even for pro ball players and Green decided to get into the auto body business. In addition to doing customer work, Green brought in one of his own cars, a customized Corvette. After a time, Green’s business fell on hard times and Impallaria ended up having to evict his tenant. Upon inspection of the facilities, Rick found what was left of what had once been just a “customized Corvette,” or so he thought.

Rick's best guess it that the car might have been rear ended. Note that the rear bumber cover section was cut off and there's damage to the nose point.

While Rick is definitely a car guy, he wasn’t familiar with what was in his building. He explains, “Someone mentioned to me that the hulk that was in my building might be a Motion car, but they really weren’t sure. So I did some online research about the Motion cars and then I found your site with the story about the Motion Can-Am Spyder. I was pretty sure I had something and I thought about possibly putting the car back together again, But honestly, I’ve got too many projects going right now and I knew I wouldn’t have the time to do it right.”

After Impallaria was about 99% sure it was one of the rare Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvettes, he took the high road and started looking for a buyer that would do right by the car and properly restore the car to its original glory, rather than using it as a donor car for a custom or race car project. After some more searching Rick found a buyer that knew what they were buying and how to correctly restore the car. On November 1, 2011, a few minutes past midnight (Rick’s birthday) a flatbed truck arrived at his building and the Can-Am Spyder went off into the night to begin the next chapter of what I’m sure has been a long and difficult life for what was once a premium, custom, Motion supercar.

Here's the Can-Am Spyder Corvette in all its glory!

At this point, the buyer will remain “undisclosed” and plans for the car are not yet known. As you can see from the photos, the car has a very long way to go to get back to its original glory. Supercars and exotics often times do not live pampered lives. Some, such as the Dr. Rolings’s ‘71 Phase III GT Corvette, are driven, enjoyed, maintained, and still in very good condition. Others are not so fortunate. As details of this particular supercar are announced, you can be assured that you’ll read about it here at Stay tuned! – Scott

Joel Rosen’s Can-Am Spyder – The Last of the Motion Corvettes”

Vote For Your FAVORITE Motion Corvette!

 CARS Magazine Archive: The FIRST Phase III GT Corvette!

 ULTRA RARE! 1977 Motion Performance “Phase III” Turbo Corvette

Book Review: Motion Performance: Tales of a Muscle Car Builder” by Martyn L. Schorr


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PS – I covered the Motion Can-Am Spyder in my VETTE Magazine column as Illustrated Corvette Series No. 168 in the June 2011 issue. prints of the art and story are available HERE.

You can read more about the Motion Can-Am Spyder HERE.

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2 thoughts on “Body Shop Find: Lost Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvette Has a New Home!

  1. WOW! 😯 Sad to see. I have a CanAm. Sort of a barn/field find, but mine wasn’t nearly in as bad of condition. And pretty sure it isn’t a Motion car.

  2. Greetings,
    Yea, it’s a “little” hard to tell if it is/was a Motion Can-Am Spyder, but not “impossible.” Do you still have the car and do you have some photos? If so, we’d love to see them.

    It’s challenging because there were so many wide-body kits and I think Ecklers made a fastback/hatchback kit for C3s that could have been put together with the wide-body parts to make a Can-Am-like Corvette. And then again, what you have/had may have been the real thing, as not all of the Motion Can-Am Spyders are accounted for. The car in my post is the real deal and ALMOST went to the scrap yard. Fortunately for the Corvette community, the current owner will DEFINITELY do right by the car eventually. Right now he has a few other project cars to complete.

    Get back to me with some photos if you can. I’d be delighted to see them. – Scott

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