When you talk about American muscle cars, you’re inevitably going to be mentioning Baldwin-Motion. Rubbing shoulders with Yenko and Shelby, Baldwin-Motion helped to define supercars, offering models that were considered new and complete, that came with a warranty, and could be ordered by mail. One of the more stunning examples of Baldwin-Motion’s works was the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Phase III GT—a prime example of which is up for auction at Mecum Auctions.
Located in Baldwin, Long Island, the Baldwin Auto Company was a franchised Chevrolet dealership run by Ed Simonin. Motion Performance, also out of Baldwin, was led by Joel Rosen. The pair of businesses partnered on creating a reputation of building high-performance, custom cars. This particular model features Shelby side scoops—the only Phase III to do so—along with the LeMans-style headlights and functional hood scoop. The Phase III also received custom side louvers, sport mirrors, flared wheel wells, a slanted fastback rear window, and a quick-fill fuel filler. Slitted taillights, like those from the Pontiac Firebird, were added as well as a side exhaust. Rosen tuned the 427 engine up, pushing the output to 435 horsepower. That power was delivered to an M21 4-speeed transmission. As was the trademark of Baldwin-Motion, the tune up was guaranteed to deliver an 11-second quarter mile.
Mecum’s car is one of only 10 Phase III Corvettes made by Baldwin-Motion. The car was the June 1970 Speed and Supercar Magazine cover car. It also appeared in Vette Magazine (April 1992), Chevy Rumble (December 2004), and Corvette Fever magazine cover car (February 2005). Marty Schorr included it in the GT chapter of his history of Baldwin-Motion.
Making this car even more historic is the fact that in 1974, Rosen received a Cease and Desist order from the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency to stop building cars with powertrains that weren’t available from the factory. The order effectively shut down the production of Baldwin-Motion’s cars, allowing for only special order vehicles that were invoiced as “for export” or “for off road use only.” Such a rare and beautiful car will no doubt fetch a premium price.