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_07_z 1968_chevy_corvette_l88_roadster_leviathan Discharge_ignition 2/17

Part of the performance upgrades for the aluminum-topped 427 was this capacitive discharge ignition labeled for specific Phase III usage.

What this profitable marriage begat was a series of signature vehicles that threw subtly to the dogs-these newly modified Baldwin/Motion vehicles were distinguished with a faux wood steering wheel, custom gauges, mirrors, a polished gas cap, and a Stinger-style bulge hood. The ascetics might have hinted to the hybrid's potential, but it was the absurd quantity of earth-shaking, stump-pulling muscle that galvanized the car's legendary status in modern street racer lore. The big-inch monster was generously warmed over from the factory specs, receiving a more aggressive profile and ignition upgrades. Lightweight with big tires and way too much power was an unbeatable combination, and the Baldwin/Motion cars had it in spades. The few Corvettes to have undergone this transmogrification received slightly more attention than those A- and F-Bodies. Necessary fender flares were integrated into the fiberglass panels, allowing for wider rubber that would wrap around the signature polished AP slot mags with special Motion center caps. A pair of customized Motion Performance gills graced the sides below the L/88 Motion badges. The track-ready, flip-top gas cap looked more suited for a spin on the Le Mans course than down Woodward Avenue. The Phase III label across the rear valance was the last thing the rivalry saw of the fleeing roadster. What distinguishes this particular '68 Phase III Corvette from any others (Joel Rosen confirms that only two Corvette roadsters were modified by Motion Performance for that year) is that it wasn't completed until two years ago.

Purchased as a L36 convertible in 1968 from a New Jersey Chevrolet dealership, this Corvette was driven to the Long Island facility shortly thereafter. Unlike the usual Baldwin-modified vehicles, which were considered direct delivery cars, this roadster was purchased elsewhere and modified after the purchase. The original 427 was traded for a factory-delivered crate L88 with the much-desired aluminum, rectangle-port "porcupine-style" heads. The engine would be modified, fitted with hard-squeezing 12:1 compression pistons, a special Phase III capacitive-discharge ignition, a big Holley 950-cfm three-barrel carburetor, and Motion valve covers. The factory ring-and-pinion were traded for massive 4.88 gears, and the factory Rally's were traded for the polished slot mags mounted to that already stout heavy-duty stock suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The Corvette was prepped and painted in the nearly ink-black acrylic Fathom Blue with Polar White accents and striping, even recovering its removable hard top. Uncorked headers dumped the fumes out polished side pipes that gave away the Corvette's position from miles away. It must have been too much to handle for the original owner because the hard-hitting plant was extracted from the beast's belly and swapped with a small-block LT1 sometime over the 30 years since its rebirth as a Motion-built machine.




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