Possible 1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe

1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe

Is it a real 1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe? We’re going to let you be the judge. We think the most interesting find on the internet this week is a 1968 Corvette L-89 Coupe which happens to have a lot of Motion Performance type parts. The seller says it comes with a dealer window sticker which authenticates the L-89 427/435 hp motor. But what makes this car interesting are all the parts which indicate it might be considered a valuable Motion collectible. 

The private seller from Canton, Ohio says the Corvette came with Motion trim and a lot of period-looking parts which he has verified were available in the Motion catalog back in 1969. (You can see the ad he placed on Cars-On-Line.com here.) The anectdotal story when he bought the car was that it was built with parts from the Motion catalog. The car was obviously set up for drag racing which is what Motion cars were all about. The question that muscle car buyers will ask revolves around whether it can be considered a collectible 1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe. 

He notes the Motion type parts include:
Edelbrock 427x aluminum intake manifold
Motion valve covers (with breathers)
Sure Grip rear end
Phase III ignition box
AC Delco electrical fuel pump
When he bought the Corvette, the seller said it has a Hone Overdrive automatic transmission. You will notice the L-88 style sidepipes in the photos. It has the big fender flares which could have come with a Motion Corvette (but not all Motion Corvettes had them.)

He discloses that he has no documentation or receipts that could prove where the parts were purchased from. But when he bought the ’68 Corvette it was completely trimmed out as a Motion car the way a Motion car would have looked in 1968. When he obtained the car he spent big money doing a frame-off restoration. “I restored it back to the way it was raced back in the day,” he says. “I’m pretty sure it was used as a race car. When I bought the car it still had the roll cage in it.” He adds that the window sticker shows it was purchased with no power steering and radio delete which is the way you would buy a car you wanted to race.

This 1968 Corvette L89 Coupe was purchased originally from Brennan Chevrolet in Brockton, Massachusetts. The window sticker shows that it was built at the factory in July of 1968. Being mid year production it makes sense that the parts would have been ordered out of a Motion catalog published for 1969.

When he did the restoration, the Canton native had the original L-89 427/435 hp big block rebuilt. He says he has the dyno sheets and the receipts. (He also says he has the original manifold.) It now has the Holley 4 -barrel and Edelbrock aluminum intake (as from the Motion catalog.) Rebuilt to its high performance heritage, the original  L-89 motor now produces 650 hp for the street. The hood is functional and open and produces extra ram air effect horsepower. He says, “The engine breathes well and sounds fantastic.”

He actually had to have the built 400 Turbo transmission tuned down because it was too much to handle on the street. Don’t worry though, he says the 427 coupled to aTurbo 400 with a shift kit wll put you back in your seat. He says it handles the road better now but it still is a handful on the street. “It was made to go in a straight line,” says the owner with a chuckle. “This is not a car for the faint of heart.” The Corvette has a factory original 4:10 rear end.

At the time that he bought the car it was painted the original Code 983 British Racing Green, a 1968 Corvette color. It also has an original black leather interior. However, when the current owner restored the car he used a Candy green metallic color with pearled white Motion trim to make it stand out. All of the Motion trim is just like Baldwin-Motion would have done in ’68. It has original Ansen Sprint magnesium wheels.

The Canton seller says the fit and trim on his 1968 Corvette L-89 427 Coupe is beautiful and the paint is unbelievable. “The car has many original pieces. If you want real styling and beauty and speed, this is the car.”

1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe

Motion Corvette History

There is one way to tell if this 1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe is equipped with real Motion parts or not. Have Joel Rosen, the man who they often call Mr. Motion, certify it. With the asking price so low on this offering, the seller will leave that up to the new owner. After, all this car is priced below what a nice Baldwin-Motion clone would bring. 

Joel Rosen was a nationally known drag racer and hot rodder from Brooklyn. One day he discovered what would happen if you popped a factory big block 427 ci Chevy V8 into a Camaro. That fateful day started an aftermarket empire for him which grew Motion Performance into an internationally known brand. In 1966, he and Marty Schorr set up shop next to Baldwin Chevrolet on Long Island. With the help of Baldwin Chevrolet they would sell race ready muscle cars with written guarantees to do specific times at the track. Some people bought the Baldwin-Motion Chevy’s to race and some bought them to perform on the street. You could buy a brand new sports car at Baldwin Chevrolet and they would consign it to Motion Performance next door to build it into a professionally built race car. 

Baldwin-Motion offered SS (425-hp) and Phase III (500-hp and up) big-block Camaros, Novas, Chevelles, Corvettes and Biscayne race cars for sale. Cars were sold at Baldwin Chevrolet or Motion Performance, converted by Motion and financed and delivered by Baldwin. Baldwin-Motion cars are often valued higher than such notable names as Yenko, Gibb, Berger, Dana, Grand Spaulding Dodge and Shelby. 

Joel Rosen himself made this written guarantee:  “We think so much of our Phase III Supercars that we guarantee they will turn at least 120 mph in 11.50 seconds or better with an approved driver on an AHRA or NHRA-sanctioned drag strip.” Rosen will tell you he never had a person call him on his quarantee. 

Rosen’s partner Marty Schorr was an editor at Cars Magazine.  His idea was to promote the dyno-proven Motion Performance parts through Motion mail order catalogs. Published in 1968 and 1969, the catalogs for Baldwin-Motion parts  themselves are expensive collectibles. From 1970 through 1974, parts could be ordered through the thicker Motion Performance mail order catalogs.

In 1974, Rosen was issued a Cease and Desist Order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop building performance cars with emission control work-arounds. It essentially put Motion Performance out of business. 

1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe

, ,

2 Responses to Possible 1968 Corvette L-89 Motion Coupe

  1. Alex Pavchinski November 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm #

    Could you get an L89 with an automatic?

  2. Dave November 3, 2018 at 12:25 pm #

    Hi Alex,
    I believe that automatic transmissions were not a available until 1969 in Big Block cars. The window sticker for this particular car say it was original M21 car. However, this car was raced back in the late 60’s early 70’s it would have been changed then. Please feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

Leave a Reply