ULTRA RARE! 1977 Motion Performance “Phase III” Turbo Corvette
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.
The above Phase III-like 1977 Corvette was an export car destined for road duty in Sweden. The car got the full Phase III treatment, but instead of big-block power, the owner had Rosen and his crew build a turbocharged 350 with a high performance Turbo-Hydramatic 3-speed transmission. The soft nose and tail ‘77 Corvette received factory side pipes, custom wheels, fat BF Goodrich tires, unique Phase III striping, a long-style L-88 hood, custom side-view mirrors, tinted rood panels, and Mako Shark-like rear window louvers. Interestingly, because of the elaborate turbo system, the factory side pipes were unusually quiet.
Overall, it was a striking combination that was never duplicated or heard from again. If anyone in Sweden knows what became of this car, we’ll gladly post a followup. Enjoy the color center spread written by Marty Schorr in the Spring 1978 issue of Super Chevy Magazine! – Scott
PS – I have covered all of the importang Baldwin Motion Phase III Corvettes, as well as Joel Rosen’s Shark Corvetes in my Illustrated Corvette Series column in VETTE Magazine. You can find art prints of the Motion Corvettes I’ve covered by CLICKING HERE, then looking through the “years” pages.
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