Last Call: The 1973 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro…You Truly Weren’t Going To See Another Like This!


Last Call: The 1973 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro…You Truly Weren’t Going To See Another Like This!

In 1974, Car Craft Magazine published an article: “King Kong Lives On Long Island”. The feature vehicle: a 454-powered Motion Super Vega. Wrap your head around that for a minute…the Chevrolet Vega, a car sold with a 140-cubic-inch four, a car that flat freaking screams with a small-block, holding a Rat hostage under the hood waiting for the first sucker to walk by so that it can use a comically-sized hammer and bean them on the top of the head. In 1974. Right on the heels of the first OPEC oil embargo. It’s a small wonder that the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t find him sooner, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that when they did finally move in on him, Joel Rosen only had to pay a $500 fine and agree to stop making race-ready monsters for the street. Oh, he still made machines that would work better than any medicine you could imagine afterwards, like the 1974 Phase III Type LT Camaro that is a celebrity of car culture in Iran, but that was the hitch: if it wasn’t leaving the country, it had to be “For Off-Road Use Only”…or, in other words, don’t bother trying to register it because the EPA folk were ready to smack Mr. Rosen around to the tune of $10,000 per emissions device removed, altered or otherwise messed with.

1974 sucked. 1973, on the other hand…well, the party was certainly dying but it wasn’t dead just yet. You could still go to Motion, throw your money down and walk away with a car that carried a personal guarantee of at least [email protected] miles per hour in the quarter in the hands of a Motion-approved driver or your money would be refunded and Rosen would take the non-performing car back. Nobody ever tested that guarantee. Nobody ever needed to. Rosen had years of experience making things haul ass, specifically jamming 427s and later, 454s where they originally had no business being. And he knew how to sell it, too. You could pay for the upper crust and walk away with a Phase III Corvette with a radical new body, or you could shell out about three thousand bucks and walk away with a plane-Jane Biscayne two-door post car that was sold as the “Street Racer Special”. That’s the kind of house of fun Motion Performace was.

This particular car is a 1973 Phase III Camaro, reportedly the last one built for U.S. sales before the Feds showed up with lawyers. Like just about every other Phase III Camaro, it looks ready to rock some poor, over-confident and under-powered soul’s world, in the most menacing way possible. Parked, the gold/white combination might display class to some. But anyone who knew anything in 1973 knew that this Camaro had something for your ass, and it was sealed with a promise. You tested the waters at your own peril.

Mecum Auctions’ Harrisburg 2019: Lot S114 – 1973 Chevrolet/Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro


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6 thoughts on “Last Call: The 1973 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro…You Truly Weren’t Going To See Another Like This!

  1. MGBChuck

    As a youth I lusted for anything with the Baldwin/Motion logo on it (finances, west coast location, women interfered), the whole concept of 11s off the showroom floor in the late 60s/early 70s in those days was awesome.

  2. Rocco B.

    I always remember that these had wicked rear end gears like 4:56 or 4:88 to achieve those 11:50 time slips. Most of the ones I have seen were equipped with a Hone overdrive to drop the revs down on the street. This particular car should lose the K&N air filter as they weren’t around in 1973 and it sticks out like a sore thumb!

  3. Bill Greenwood

    Was it the PRDA (Polish Racing Drivers of America) who ran a 454 Motion Vega in the first or second Cannonball? Somewhere west of Ohio they passed another contestant holding up a hand-lettered sign that said: Bad valve. Can’t exceed 150.

  4. Dan

    I lusted after this car in 1974 but I was 16, so I got a 1970 RS and ordered a Motion hood for it. Still have the same car and hood!

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