1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Roadster - The Leviathan

This Motion-built L88 Roadster Brutalizes All Other Contenders

Kevin Shaw Nov 1, 2006 0 Comment(s)
Corp_0611_01_z 1968_chevy_corvette_l88_roadster_leviathan Front_view 1/17

Hewn from ancient lore and mythical Hebrew legend, the leviathan roamed the ocean's nethermost depths. Gargantuan in size, titan in power, the fabled nautical goliath devoured everything that meandered across its path. If the renowned big-block Stingrays of the '60s and '70s warranted the colloquial moniker "sharks," one of the most feared creatures in the sea, then this super-rare, one-of-one Motion Phase III roadster surely deserves the greater of the two titles.

Corp_0611_02_z 1968_chevy_corvette_l88_roadster_leviathan Rear_view 2/17

Equipped from the Baldwin, New York, shop in the fall of 1968 with the famed L88, aluminum headed 427, a close-ratio M21 four-speed manual transmission, and insanely tall 4.88 gears, the reborn drag racer stood as the pinnacle of aftermarket-modified, factory Bow Tie power. In the midst of Yenko Chevelles, Novas, Camaros, and Hurst-built 442 W-30 Oldsmobiles, the few street machines to roll out from under the garage doors of Joel Rosen's Motion Performance in those years were quick to claim the due street "cred" that a race-car-made-for-the-road could demand.

Corp_0611_03_z 1968_chevy_corvette_l88_roadster_leviathan Interior_view 3/17

As the aftermarket has matured into one of the nation's continually growing industries, comparing high-power numbers is a subjective matter. Humble Monte Carlos that once came with lowly Quadrajet-equipped 350s now can coerce over 600 hp from a modified 454 for less than the cost to paint the same vehicle. Power is easily available and readily affordable, but things were not so over 38 years ago. With the General that year offering the potent L71 427 powerplant that eagerly unleashed all its 435 ponies onto the city streets (and that number being a modest admittance to the engine's true 500hp production), many die-hard enthusiasts looked for other means to eke out further muscle for that needed edge over the Blue Oval and Hemi-loving demographic. But the power to put the legendary 426 Hemi and the 429 Boss-equipped competition back on the trailer would come at a hefty price.

Joel Rosen, the proprietor of Motion Performance, also held a stake in the Long Island dealership, Baldwin Chevrolet, in those years. Keenly aware of the need for more and more power out of street-legal machines, Joel began to offer modified performance machines through his speed shop via the dealership floor.

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