An Intimate Conversation With Martyn “Marty” L. Schorr and Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen – Co-Founders of the Baldwin-Motion Supercars
Dateline: 8.10.17 / Photos: Martyn L. Schorr & K. Scott Teeters’ Baldwin Motion Magazine Archives, Mecum Auctions, Dan McMichaels, & Google Maps – Part one of my 2013 Far Out Radio conversation with Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen is in the July 2017 issue of Vette Vues. The year 2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Baldwin Motion Experience. Before we get into the rest of my 2013 conversation with Marty and Joel I’d like to share an anecdotal story about setting up the interview.
I have known Marty Schorr since 1976, just after he started “VETTE Quarterly”, the first Corvette-only, newsstand publication. I’ve had numerous conversations with Joel since around 2000 and always found him to be polite, but very reserved. When I asked Marty if he’s like to me on my radio program he said, “Sure, I’d be happy to.” When I asked Joel, he said, “Well, okay, but I don’t really have that much to say. How long is the interview?” I told him I did a one-hour show and without the commercials and bumper music, we have around 45 minutes to talk. He said, “Oh… I really don’t have that much to say, Scott. Really.” So, I assured him that if he ran out of things to say, Marty would fill in the rest. When the show started, Joel was reserved, as usual, but quickly loosen up. Before I knew it, he was seriously bench racing! As the host of the show I carefully watch the clock. When I said, “Well guys, we’re just about out of time, Joel said, “What! We just got started!” That’s just what happens when car guys get to bench racing.
An intimate conversation with Baldwin-Motion Phase-III Chevy Supercar Creators, Marty Schorr & Joel Rosen
Marty Schorr & Joel Rosen set the story straight and tell how the Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercar Experience came together. (4 Videos)
Dateline: 7.19.17 – This interview appeared in the July 2017 issue of Vette Vues Magazine. Part 2 coming soon! – Marty Schorr is the former editor of CARS Magazine, the founder of Vette Magazine, and is the current editor and chief of CarGuyChrolicles.com, and PMPR, an automotive public relations form. Joel Rosen is the former owner of Motion Performance, on Long Island, in New York, and currently owns and runs Motion Models, a world-renowned, scale military model company in Florida.
In June 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing Marty and Joel on my radio program, “Far Out Radio.” And now, you get to read the story from the guys that made it happen – Marty Schorr and Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen. The guys created a legend and we’re still talking about it over 50 years later!
Scott: Marty, Joel, welcome to the program.
Marty & Joel: Scott, we’re here, we’re here! (laughs)
Scott: Great to have you here all the way from Florida. You never thought it would go this long, did ya? (laughs)
Joel: I never thought I’d live this long!
Marty: (Laughing) We never thought it would go past the 1970s!
Scott: Really? And here you are, my goodness. So, now that I have you both here, I’m curious before we get into the story, have you ever been on a radio program like this together, talking about what you have done?
Joel: Oh yes, we’ve done a few programs and some television shows. A number of television shows.
Marty: Yea, we’ve done it and we’re still not tired of each other, which is amazing. (laughs)
Joel: That’s what he says! (both guys laughing)
Scott: It sounds like you are both soul brothers to me. So, were you guys bench racing over some beers, or which one of you came up with the Baldwin-Motion idea first? How did this all get started? Continue reading
Vietnam Vet and Paraplegic, Dave Ankenbauer got one of the BADDEST Baldwin Motion street 454 Phase III Corvettes ever built!
Dateline: 6-22-17 (This story was first published in the March 2012 issue of Vette Vues Magazine) – Dave Belk is a car guy with a taste for supercars – Baldwin Motion supercars that is. Belk is the owner of QC Networks, manufacturer of school gymnasium supplies, in Wheatland, Iowa. Car guys love to troll the internet, looking for interesting cars for sale. That’s how Dave found his latest supercar, a one-owner, Baldwin-Motion 1972 Phase-III 454 Corvette that had been in a garage since 1985 – nearly 26 years! What Belk didn’t realize was that he had just entered into the world of a most unusual and unique young man that is no longer with us.
Our young patriot’s name was Dave Ankenbauer, from Covington, Kentucky. In 1969, at the young age of 18, Ankenbauer enlisted into the United States Marine Corps and after basic training, it was off to South East Asia, Vietnam in-country. Dave Ankenbauer was a decorated foot soldier and a good sharpshooter. About a year into his service, Dave was shot in the back during a fire fight and left paralyzed. Needless to say, Dave also received a Purple heart. Dave Ankenbauer’s sister, Darla Sharp Ankenbauer described her brother this way. “He was extremely fearless, outgoing, and a huge risk taker. Right after he was paralyzed, Dave took a trip to Thailand, by himself. He was worry free and a very giving person. He was a true free spirit – a man’s man.”
Corvette Timeline Tales: Aug 16, 1969, Astoria-Chas 1967 L88 Corvette Sets A/Sports Production Nat’l Record
August 16, 1969 – AHRA Summer Nationals, at the New York National Speedway, John Mahler drives the Astoria-Chas 1967 L88 Corvette to a A/Sports Production class record.
Dateline: 8.16.15 – Charlie Snyder was a car crazy Long Island teenager who came of age when Joel Rosen and Marty Schorr launched their Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercars. Schorr was also editor of CARS Magazine, so the enterprise also got plenty of ink via road tests, how-to tech features, and advertising. Snyder bought a new Marlboro Maroon ’67 427/435 Roadster and quickly turned in into a street racer, then a drag car.
Unfortunately, Charlie was drafted and killed in Vietnam, but his friends back home fulfilled his dream by setting a national record with his “Ko-Motion Astoria-Chas” Corvette, with an 11.04 @ 129-mph run. Later, John Mahler ran a 10.47 et at a local track. Then the car was trailered to Chas’ sister’s house, garaged, and covered for the next 31 years! The car was eventually sold to businessman Glen Spielberg who was just a wee lad living on Long Island when Charlie’s car was spending lots of time at the Motion performance shop. Spielberg bought the car from the Snyder family with the promise that he would never restore or race the car. Continue reading
The One-and-Only Motion Moray Eel Can BE YOURS For $600,000!
Baldwin Motion Phase III GT Corvette Survivor!!!
Date: 5.2.14 – Time has been kind to the Baldwin Motion Supercars. Today, complete and restored Motion cars are very valuable. Yenko cars have the pedigree of being COPO cars, but unlike the Phase III cars, they could not be personalized. Enter Joel Rosen, Marty Schorr, and the Baldwin Motion experience.
Rosen was the owner of Motion Performance in Baldwin, New York and Schorr was the editor of CARS Magazine (and founder of VETTE). The young men conceived of offering custom-built supercars through local dealer, Baldwin Chevrolet. Rosen knew how to build a Chevy muscle car into a dependable, supercar, with performance over-and-above the factory level. Joel spun the wrenches and Marty spun the spin. Schorr kept the sizzle hot with CARS Magazine “special road tests,” in-your-face ads, special features, and catalogs. A Motion supercar was guaranteed to run the quarter-mile in 11.5-seconds with a qualified driver. When a customer took delivery of their Phase III supercar, they were driving a custom-made supercar. It was all very heady stuff.
Rosen’s higher vision was to offer an American GT machine based on the big-block Corvette. Joel started with his basic 500-plus horsepower Phase III Corvette and added custom bodywork that included a fastback rear window that opened up the rear cargo area of the C3 Corvette. The car was christened the “Phase III GT.” A “regular” Phase III Corvette was already a beast, but if you wanted the next level, the Phase III GT offered all the performance hardware, plus unique, head-turning custom bodywork. The Phase III GT Corvette was Rosen’s vision of the ultimate Motion car for customers with deep pockets. Rosen expected to produce 10-to-12 Phase III GT Corvettes a year, but only made 12 cars from ‘69 to ‘71. Continue reading
Listen to Archived Show – Click Here
It’s a Friday Night Car Show at Far Out Radio! Our guests are Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen. Marty is the former editor of CARS Magazine, founder of VETTE Magazine, editor and chief of CarGuychronicles.com, and owns PMPR, an automotive public relations business. Joel Rosen is the former owner of Motion Performance and currently owns and runs Motion Models, a world renown scale military model company.
Back in the ‘60s, Marty Schorr was the editor of CARS Magazine and Joel Rosen was the owner of Motion Performance. Schorr and Rosen became friends and Motion Performance was CARS Magazine’s “special projects” shop. The two creative guys came up with a Chevy supercar concept, not unlike Carroll Shelby’s Ford Shelby Mustangs, only at a local level.
Baldwin Chevrolet was a local Mom & Pop Chevy dealership on Long Island. Schorr and Rosen pitched the concept of offering supercar versions of new Chevy muscle cars purchased through Baldwin Chevrolet. Rosen designed a near-bullet-proof parts package and took care of the assembly. The team created the Baldwin Motion “look” and Schorr took care of the branding, advertising, catalogs, and PR.
Rosen spun the wrenches and Schorr spun the spin. The cars had drop-dead, in-your-face aggressive good looks to go with their ground-pounding performance – all with a 100% Chevy warrantee!
The guys created a legend that still being talked about 45 years later! Survivor Baldwin Motion Supercars are today VERY valuable.
A Salute to the AWESOME, highly collectible, Baldwin Motion Corvettes
In November 2011 there were a few automotive bomb shells dropped on the MCACN Muscle Car Show. Namely three unique Baldwin Motion Corvettes. One Survivor Phase III 454 Corvette, one restored Motion Mako Shark Corvette, and one garage/barn find Corvette, the ‘76 Can-Am Spyder.
The survivor car is known as the “Ankenbauer Phase III 454 Corvette. The car is currently owned by Dave Belk and is just an amazing Motion survivor car. I have a feature story on this Motion Phase III 454 Corvette coming out in Vette Vues Magazine in a few weeks. After publication, I’ll post the story here. The car is jaw-dropping and the owner’s story rocks!
Dan McMichael is a collector of Motion Corvettes. His latest finished Motion car is the 1970 Motion Maco Shark Corvette. There are many configurations of the Mako design. Both Silva and Motion produced customer Macos AND sold the body kits. This car was built by Motion Performance, according to the customer’s specifications. The restoration of this car is said to be “STUNNING!” From the photos I’ve seen, that adjective is spot on.
And Dan McMichaels scores a second stunner. This might be the most amazing Corvette barn find ever. The car was discovered by Maryland State legislator Rick Impallaria when he was clearing out cars and hardware after evicting a tenant from the auto body shop he was renting. Stashed away was the hulk of an unusual Corvette. Rick was told that the car might be the remains of a Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvette. Rick did some inquiries, including to our sister site, www.BaldwinMotionReport.com, as to what the Corvette community thought this hulk might have been. Turns out it was one of three yellow Can-Am Spyder Corvettes built. And now it’s Dan McMichaels. If anyone will “do right” by the Can-Am Spyder, it’ll be Dan! Continue reading
So, you want to build yourself a Maco Corvette? Get your work clothes!
We were very pleased with the response to our Mako Shark Attack Week from the beginning of January 2012. I first saw the Mako Shark-II back in ‘66 and thought it was the most stunning car I’d ever seen. It looked like what I had imagined “cars from the future” would look like. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one that was touched, moved, and inspired.
The Cliff Notes version of the Mako Shark-II story is this. Chevrolet blows minds with the non-running Mako Shark-II at the New York World’s Fair in 1965. The crowds went wild and told Chevrolet, “We want one!” And Chevrolet said, “We’ll get right on it!” The running Mako Shark-II with it’s big 427 big-block engine was just “out’a sight!” But when the Mako Shark-II-inspired ‘68 Corvette came out, some said, “What’s that? That’s not a Mako Shark!” One guy took it upon himself to build his own Mako Shark-II body for the new Corvette. John Silva’s “Maco Shark” Corvette body kit filled the void that Chevrolet created. Silva’s Maco kit got the attention of Motion Performance’s Joel Rosen, who had recently unleashed his Phase III GT Corvette, and was looking for something even more exotic to offer his Motion customers. Rosen and Silva made a deal and the rest is history. Motion and Silva made a few turnkey Maco Sharks and sold LOTS of body kits and parts.
The kit car industry has come a long way since the ‘60s when Meyers-Manx, Fiberfab, Silva, Motion, and others were selling kits. The nature of kits cars is that most are never completed, with electrical issues usually being the number one issue. What it comes down to is that for a kit car to turn out great, you need excellent craftsmen and a fair amount of cash. A fully-functional kit car can be as complicated as a manufactured car. Continue reading
An abused Motion Performance exotic gets a new lease on life!
(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.
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 BaldwinMotionReport.com 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.” Continue reading
For real, authorized Baldwin Motion Supercars are BACK! We go bench racing with the original “Mr. Motion.”
Note: Joel Rosen is the proud owner of the very first of the NEW Baldwin Motion Camaros. Be sure to check out the slide show of Mr. Motion’s new ride!)
Little did Joel Rosen know in 1960 when he bought Neclan Service Station in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, that over 50 years later, people would be writing about him and going to car shows featuring his creations. Motion Performance was officially born in 1963 and Rosen had a string of successful drag cars of his own, plus many cars that he super tuned. He relocated the shop from Brooklyn to the community of Baldwin on Long Island, on Sunrise Highway in 1966. The following year, Chevrolet unleashed their answer to Ford’s red hot Mustang – the Camaro.
Rosen pitched to Baldwin Chevrolet’s Ed Simonin a new way for buyers to get a brand new, turn key “super” muscle car, with a proven, reliable setup – ready to rock! By 1968 the full “Fantastic Five” lineup of cars was established, featuring Phase III SS-427 versions of the Chevy Biscayne, Nova, Chevelle, Camaro, and Corvette. For just $3,495 you could buy the ultimate street sleeper, the SS-427 Biscayne. Or, if your POCKETS were really deep, for $6,995.85 (an enormous amount of cash beck then) you could get the Phase III SS-427 Corvette. Each car was custom made to order, so every car was slightly different. What’a heady time to be into the high performance street scene.
As “they” say, the rest is history, and since you wouldn’t be here if you already weren’t familiar with the Baldwin Motion story, we don’t need to retell the entire story. Mr. Motion is now semi-retired and living the good life in warm, sunny Florida. With the Baldwin Motion brand back in action and in very good hands, thanks to his relationship with Howard Tanner, Redline Motorsports in Schenectady, and DeNooyer Chevrolet, Albany, New York.
I thought the Baldwin Motion fans would enjoy hearing from the original Mr. Motion, Joel Rosen. So, one evening in early July 2011, Joel and I had an interesting conversation. Here goes…
Scott – How did the new Baldwin Motion deal come about?
Joel – Well, it was a little bit of a bumpy start, but we turned it into a very positive deal. DeNooyer Chevrolet and Howard Tanner had been marketing Howard’s “HTR” Camaros and Corvettes for a while. It was kind of like what I was doing with Baldwin Chevrolet back in the day. DeNooyer and Tanner were building new Chevy supercars, ala the Phase III cars. A friend of ours contacted us letting us know that these guys in upstate New York that were using modified versions one of Marty Schorr’s old Baldwin Motion ads – WANTED! – in their advertising.
I didn’t know who they were but when I learned what they were doing, we worked out a deal for DeNooyer and Tanner to work with me and build and market Baldwin-Motion Gen V 427 & 454 Camaros. They even painted up the front showroom windows the same way we did at the Baldwin Chevrolet dealership. Just like that famous photo with “Fantastic Five” on the windows. It was pretty cool. And part of the deal was that I would be able to order Phase III 427-SC Camaro #01.
I did a lot of research on Howard and DeNooyer and must say that they have my full respect. Howard can do anything with modern performance cars, knows the electronics such that he can build the engines to specific horsepower levels, then adjust the electronics to get the car‘s emissions right. We couldn’t do any of that back in our day. They didn’t even have computers controlling fuel and spark. We were just told that we couldn’t remove ANY emissions devices. A lot’s changed. Continue reading
The last of Joel Rosen’s Shark Corvettes – The Moray Eel
As cool as the Mako Shark-styled production 1968 Corvette was, there were a few that were… disappointed. Why, you wonder? Because the ‘68 Corvette WASN’T the ‘65-’66 Mako Shark II show car. Making a show car is one thing, designing a car to be mass produced is another. While the Mako Shark II show car looked large on the stage, it was actually about 7/8s the size of the production Corvette. In other words, a VERY tight little package that could not directly translate into a production car.
But it was fiberglass man, John Silva that took it upon himself to make his own Mako Shark. “Kit cars” were all the rage in the mid-to-late ‘60s. Meanwhile, on Long Island, New York, Joel Rosen was building ground-pounding big-block Phase III Chevys and was looking for something really exotic to offer his Corvette customers. Rosen bought two complete Silva Maco cars and got permission from Silva to make molds off of the Silva parts to make his Motion Maco kits. The Maco kits were kind of a “love it, or hate it” thing. It wasn’t quite as svelte as the Mako Shark, but for many, it was close enough.
For creative types, such as Rosen, the mind never stops. In the early ‘70s Joel was on a roll with his “shark-thing.” His Motion Maco Shark burst on the street scene in ‘71, quickly followed by two interesting variations. The Manta Ray featured the front end of the Phase III GT with its distinctive tunneled headlights and Continue reading
From the archives of Chevy Action Magazine, a turbocharged 350 Phase III Swedish export Corvette!
Perhaps if Car Craft Magazine hadn’t splashed the story, “King Kong Is Alive and Living On Long Island” in the January 1974 issue, Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen would have had a few more years to build Baldwin Motion Phase III Supercars. It seemed that the federal government thought Motion had a huge enterprise that was cranking out thousands of pollution belching, tire burning , fire breathing social menaces. The DOT had some very stiff, crushing fines they wanted to levy against Rosen for EVERY emissions control device that was removed from every car he built. Talk about heavy-handed and over reaching.
In the end, after seeing that Motion Performance was a very small operation, the Feds backed off, fined Rosen $500, and issued a “cease and desist” order that precluded him from selling modified cars for street use. If cars were sold within the USA, a disclaimer went along with the car that read, “This vehicle does not comply with DOT and EPA regulations and is for off-road use only.” The disclaimer had to be signed by Rosen and the owner.
That pretty much put the kabash on the Baldwin Motion Phase III Supercars. However, if you bought a new Chevy or had a Chevy that you wanted “Motionized,” it was up to you as to getting your car inspected. If you were going to buy the car and take it outside the United States, no problem. Through the last half of the ‘70s and well into the ‘80s Mr. Motion built and sold lots of “export” supercars. Continue reading
An intimate conversation with Marty Schorr – Baldwin Motion, VETTE Quarterly, and other adventures…
(Our conversation picks up with an enterprise that’s still being talked about! You can catch Pt. 1 of this interview, HERE.)
ST – That’s a great segue Marty, let’s talk about the Baldwin-Motion experience.
MS – Baldwin Chevrolet was an old, local, mom & pop Chevy dealership. Joel was friends with John Mahler, the parts manager, and it all started out as a sponsorship with a strippo, red, big-block Camaro that they dropped an L-88 427 into and went drag racing. It was an advertising / promotion thing. The car ran great and we put our heads together and pitched a program to the Baldwin Chevrolet owners for a full line of supercars called, “The Fantastic Five” that included a Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Impala, and of course, a Corvette.
We would start off with the biggest optioned engine and heavy-duty suspension and drive train, then we would drop in a 427 with a lot of hot rod parts. Because we were starting off with the toughest stuff available from the factory, the cars were amazingly durable, and still under warranty. We added aftermarket wheels, custom stripes, and badges that created a complete brand. The cars put Baldwin Chevrolet on the map and everyone made money. I did all the branding, catalogs, and ads, we had a shop do the custom stripping, and Joel did the conversions and final tests. Every car was guaranteed to run 12.5 in the quarter-mile with a professional driver. For a time we were the biggest specialty car maker under Shelby. When we got into the V-8 Vegas, Baldwin Chevrolet really didn’t want to have them branded as “Baldwin-Motion” cars because they were front heavy and didn’t handle very well. So if you ever see any of the Vega cars we did, you notice that they are “Motion Performance” car and not “Baldwin-Motion” cars.
ST – I was a teenager when you were splashing those incredible Baldwin-Motion and muscle car road tests in CARS. You assembled a group of writers that made the magazine something to look forward to every month. How did that all come together?
MS – When it comes out right, you’re a hero, otherwise, you’re a bum. The perception was that East Coast magazines only sold to East Coast guys. Remember that back then, because Hot Rod and Car Craft owned the newsstands, it looked like nothing was happening on the East Coast. The image was that the West Coast shops were these giant sophisticated shops – palaces – at least, that’s the way they looked in print. The first time I went to the West Coast I was shocked to see the Bill Thomas’ shop was just a little place. Dana Chevrolet only did their high-performance cars for about 1-1/2 years. Baldwin-Motion made cars for six years. The East Coast places like TASCA, SRD, Stahl, Baldwin-Motion, and Grumpy hardly got any attention at all. (Grumpy became one of drag racing’s rock stars after Pro Stock exploded in ‘70 – ST) And the editors of the West Coast books were all treated like heroes and you had to get an appointment just to talk to them. We had a lot to work with on the East.
Joe Oldham was a street racer kid that used to deliver flowers in my neighborhood and then one day he came into the CARS office to sell a Pontiac-go-fast article. It turned out that Joe used to deliver flowers in my neighborhood and knew my red Bonneville Coupe with the eight-lug wheels. Joe is now the editor of Popular Mechanics and for a long time was my road test driver and a columnist.
Roger Huntington was an engineer that used to write tech features for us. Not many readers knew that Roger had been wheelchair-bound all his life, but he wrote good tech features.
One of our early guys, Fred Mackerodt, started with CARS in ‘64 and today he’s a PR guy with a GM account. Fred was a very good editor even though he never graduated from high school. He was a good humorist writer to and used to do stories under the pen name of “Dilbert Farb.” (His trash truck road test had me in stitches when I was a kid. – ST) Cliff Gromer was another one of our regular guys, along with Alan Root, Alex Walordy, Stewart Yale, Fred Cohen, Joel Rosen, and others. Continue reading
An intimate conversation with good-guy, car-guy – Marty Schorr
Go to the magazine stand and the number of car magazines is amazing. But way back in the ‘60s, most of the car magazines were west coast publications. CARS Magazine was one of the only east coast car magazines that included road tests, feature cars, and race event coverage. When muscle cars party were hot in the late ‘60s, CARS editor, Marty Schorr was right on top of the east coast muscle car and specialty car scene – especially the Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercars of Joel Rosen. Talk about muscle cars with attitude! Every Phase III Chevy was carefully built under Rosen’s supervision and was guaranteed to run 12.5 in the quarter mile.
By ‘71 the muscle car party was over and we all adjusted to somewhat bland cars. The only “performance” cars that survived were the Z-28, the Trans-Am, and the Corvette. By ‘76 I had been into Corvettes for 12 years and regularly scoured the magazine stands for special “Corvette editions” magazines. One day I saw “VETTE Quarterly.” Finally, a Corvette-only magazine! Marty Schorr from CARS was the editor, so I knew this was going to be a fun publication. The magazine was so cool I wrote a letter with some article ideas, along with some samples of my art, and sent it off to Marty. A week later, I was on board with VETTE.
VETTE Quarterly went bi-monthly in ‘78, was retitled, “VETTE” and eventually became a monthly magazine in 1980. When CSK Publishing bought the title, Schorr stepped out of the editor’s chair and was for many years a contributing editor. Marty started his own automotive PR company, PMPR, Inc. and I went on to become a commercial artist, toy designer, and artist/writer for VETTE and many other car magazines.
In ‘07 I reconnected with Marty when I was researching the Astoria-Chas L-88 ‘67 Corvette drag car. We kept in touch and I thought that it was time to get Marty’s story out to today’s VETTE readers. Last December, we talked for three hours about Marty’s career in the automotive publication business, and yes, Corvettes. – Scott
MS – I was just a kid in Yonkers, New York in the mid-’50s when I joined a local hot rod club, the “Dragon Wheels.” I wasn’t a mechanic or mechanically inclined, but it was a lot of fun to be around. We had all kinds of homemade hot rods. One guy had a fuel dragster and another had a fuel coupe. There weren’t any race tracks around, so we used to race the cars on a section of the Bronx River Parkway late at night. A lot of the guys got nailed by the cops with early versions of radar. Back then, if you ran away, the cops would shoot at you! It wasn’t uncommon to see club cars with bullet holes in the back of the car! I wasn’t much of a mechanic, but I could write pretty well and soon became the club’s PR director. I had a little 620 Browie camera and got my first article published in ‘57 about our club’s Cadillac-powered dragster in a small digest-size magazine. I got paid $25 and said to myself, “I LIKE this!” I kept practicing my photography and writing skills, eventually landing a job as an editor for $100 a week.
ST – Marty, most publications these days require an editor to have a degree in English or journalism. What kind of formal education did you have?
MS – I didn’t have the means to go to school full-time, so I took night classes for about five years in English, advertising, and public relations. I didn’t finish college and never got a degree because my freelance career really took off. My career paralleled a guy from my school that graduated two years before me, Ralph Loren. We didn’t know one another or travel in the same circles.
MS – Let’s see, I had a ‘51 Pontiac, a ‘40 Mercury, and a ‘32 Chevy Cabriolet. My hot ride was a little MGTA with a flathead Ford V8 and a four-speed trans. It had been converted to left-hand drive and had the big 19-inch wire wheels, no side windows or top, and I drove it all year around while I was freelancing. It was quick, but it handled terribly, had awful brakes, and the wire wheels had to constantly be realigned. I was always taking the car to a Rolls Royce dealer because they had mechanics that knew how to fix wire wheels. (I’ll be they loved having that car in for service. ST)
ST – Back in those days Marty, all young men had to do military service, unless you got a deferment or were classified 4F. What did you do for Uncle Sam?
MS – I was actually in the Army two times. I enlisted for six months of active duty, plus 100 years of reserve. After boot camp I was in the transportation corps as a non-officer and eventually got into the photography lab and did a lot of documentation photography. It was great experience that I applied to my freelance journalist work for small car magazines. After my six month stint I got called back because of the ‘61 Berlin crisis. I didn’t get to do anything interesting, but while stationed in Virginia, my wife and I were renting a place and one of our neighbors was astronaut Alan Shepherd. So I worked my Army job during the week and was shooting cars and doing stories on the weekends. Continue reading