History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

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Dr. Rollings’ 1971 Phase III GT Corvette “The Most Expensive of All the Motion Corvettes”

Baldwin Motion Phase III GT Corvette Survivor!!!

ICS_II_No-204-1971-Rollings-Phase-III-GT-TNDate: 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.

One day in June ‘71, Rosen was visited by Dr. Ed Rollings and by the end of the day; a $5,000 deposit secured his order for what would be the most expensive of all of the Motion cars. Dr. Rollings was in New York City for his daughter’s college graduation. The avid sportsman, pilot, racer, and internist picked up an issue of CARS Magazine and saw one of Schorr’s Phase III GT ads. A basic 454 ‘71 Corvette cost just over $6,700, a basic ‘71 Camaro started at around $3,100, and the Phase III GT “started” at $10,500. Dr. Rollins car totaled $16,283 – almost $94,000 in 2013 dollars.

Dr. Rollings’ car is powered by a 454 big-block with 12.5:1 compression aluminum L88/ZL1 open-chambered heads, a Phase III hydraulic street cam, heavy-duty valve train, steel tube headers fitted with smog equipment, factory side-pipes, and an 850-cfm double-pumper Holley carb with dual electric fuel pumps. The Turbo 400 3-speed automatic has a performance shift kit and a Hone overdrive unit that reduces the 4.88 rear gears down to a highway livable 3.42. This is a Grand Touring car, so Dr. Rollings opted for A/C. Custom features included, custom striping around the tail, sides, top and hood, diamond-tufted upholstery on the seats and door panels, a Formula 1 steering wheel, and sound system.

When Dr. Rollings’ car was completed, he promptly began to enjoy his supercar by driving home to Savannah, Georgia from New York. The Phase III GT served as a daily driver for several years. Dr. Rollings even made house calls in his Phase III GT! A tow bar installed and the GT towed the doctor’s trailered Jaguar racecar. Rollings bought and sold many exotic cars, but his Phase III GT was a keeper. He drove the car hard and even raced the GT at his local sports car track.

 After Dr. Rollings’ passing in ‘03, the car was left to his daughter, FBI Special Agent Ellen Glasser. Adam Tuckman, the current owner, bought the car in ‘10. Aside from the Hugger orange paint, the car was as complete as the day Dr. Rollings took delivery. Tuckman treated the car to a frame-off restoration, had the custom interior refreshed, the engine, trans and Hone overdrive rebuilt, and the body was repainted Classic White with the unique black striping. The car’s paperwork is complete and even includes the original build sheets, plus special instructions from Rosen for tuning and maintenance.

 Not all Motion cars had happy lives. While 31,000 miles isn’t a lot for a 43-year-old car, it does indicate that the owners have indeed enjoyed their car. – Scott

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 For MORE Baldwin Motion Corvette art, CLICK HERE!


To order your 11″ x 17″ color print of Dr. Rollings’ 1971 Phase III GT Corvette, signed and numbered by the writer & artist, CLICK HERE to securely order from Scott’s IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com website.

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