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1969 Baldwin Motion Camaro SuperSpeedster - Poetry In Motion

There's Plenty Of Muscle Under This Radical 1969 Camaro's Bulging Body.

By Paul Zazarine

Last month we took you behind the scenes at American Supercar in Hudson, Florida, and showed you how Phil Somers custom built Baldwin-Motion's wild Camaro SuperSpeedster. This month, we're here to show you the result of his handiwork, and it's unlike anything you've ever seen before.

The two-seat, coach-built SuperSpeedster is the second in the Baldwin-Motion Super Series. Last year, its Camaro SuperCoupe debuted at the 2005 SEMA convention in Las Vegas and blew the roof off the Convention Center. The two-seat custom bodied Camaro boasted a 540 cubic inch Kinsler Cross Ram all-aluminum big- block that produced over 700 horsepower. After getting the word out that Joel Rosen and the Motion name was back in the turn-key car business after 30 years, the SuperCoupe went to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale the following January and fetched a cool $450,000.

Along with the Phase III and SS-427 Camaros, the Super Series may have generated more interest then the original Baldwin-Motion supercars built by Rosen from 1967-1974. Those were the pavement melting Camaros, Chevelles, Novas, Corvettes, and Chevrolets Motion Performance guaranteed would go mid 11s with a qualified driver.

Now it's 2007 and Motion Performance is back in the supercar business in ways never dreamed of 40 years ago. While the cars remain true to their big-block heritage, today's Baldwin-Motion SS-427 and Phase III Camaros are light years ahead of their forebears, bristling with the latest technology in brakes, suspensions, and audio systems. Clocking a 10-second quarter-mile, and then cruising home with the air on and Ludacris kickin' from a 2,200-watt Sony 10-speaker Xplod audio system is what you'd expect from these guys.

No, they're not cheap, but consider this. A genuine Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro built by Joel Rosen in 1969 will set you back $400,000, and you'd be afraid to drive it for fear of being rear ended by some 20-year-old in a Hyundai talking on a cell phone. A new Phase III or SS-427 Motion Camaro costs half that and is such a far better ride.

If the Phase III and SS-427 Camaros carry on the Motion tradition, the SuperSpeedster lays out big time braggin' rights for the Sarasota, Florida-based company. And don't think Rosen is just loaning out his name and cashing the checks; he's a big part of the development and engineering of each car. "Mr. Motion" is still magic with a big-block engine. His camshaft designs and techniques for building ultimate Rat motors weren't learned overnight. He's been doing this sort of thing since the early '60s when he opened a dyno shop in Brooklyn, New York.

That means the SuperSpeedster's massive 540 cubic inch engine, fitted with a Kinsler Cross Ram fuel injection, has the potential to tear your head clean off. Motion starts with a aluminum block with a 4.50-inch bore and 4.25-inch stroke to produce 540 cubic inches. The bottom end features a forged crank with Eagle 6.535 H-beam rods and 10.0:1 forged pistons. The Dart heads were treated to a complete cleanup, focusing on the chambers and valve seats as well as port and polish job. The Comp Cams stick is a secret grind by Rosen and bumps a roller valvetrain. Topside is a rare pair of original Motion valve covers and that exquisitely precise Kinsler Cross Ram with sequential electronic fuel injection for optimum performance and drivability.

The engine is set back 13 inches for superb front to rear weight distribution and is mated to a Tremec five-speed transmission. A trip to the state of the art chassis dyno cell at Areocomp Racing in Sanford, Florida, gave us an idea of just how well the Motion 540 engine runs. At 5,500 rpm the engine produced 522.2 rear wheel horsepower and 534.4 lb-ft of rear wheel torque at 5,000 rpm. We can tell you that there's lots more grunt in this engine because the charts were still climbing straight up before they shut it down. It's safe to say that the Motion 540 is making an easy 725 horsepower at the flywheel on pump gas, and it wasn't even breathing hard.

By Paul Zazarine
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