1967 Chevy Corvette L88 - The Awakening

It Is Said, "Good Things Come To He Who Waits." Glen Spielberg's Quest For The KO-MOTION Corvette Meant Waiting For 30-Plus Years!

Martyn L. Schorr Vintage Jul 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
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Other details include Motion Super/Spark ignition with Phase III CD, 40-degrees total advance (Sunoco 260 gas), Champion N-64Y plugs gapped at .028-inch, Schiefer clutch, flywheel, Ford-type pressure plate, Lakewood scattershield, Hurst/M-22 four-speed, heat-treated 4.88 Posi, heat-treated axles, Super-Bite suspension, extensive chassis welding, 29-inch slicks (9.7 inches wide) set at 7-to-10 psi, Stahl 7.10x15-inch front tires pumped to 50 psi. Its chassis was replaced in 1968.

After Charlie's funeral Sharon and John Holdorf, and friend Al Barberio, decided to continue campaigning KO-MOTION in search of one of Charlie's dreams: a National Record. John Mahler, the Parts Manager at Baldwin Chevrolet who placed the original order for the L88 engines for Motion and was intimately involved with the Corvette, volunteered his services. Joining them were Joel Rosen and Bill Foster, both experienced drag racers. They were successful.

What eluded Charlie Snyder during his short drag racing experience honored him after he passed away. Thanks to his friends and family who campaigned KO-MOTION after he lost his life, he got the A/Corvette World Record. It went into the AHRA record books, "In Memory Of Astoria Chas!"

After the AHRA record was set, KO-MOTION's L88 engine received Crane-prepped Second Design open-chamber aluminum heads, Phase III .625-inch lift cam with needle-bearing roller rockers and a Holley three-barrel carb on an alloy high-rise manifold. A variety of heads, cams, valve trains, manifolds, and carburetors were experimented with during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. For its last runs the big-block was fitted with an 850 Holley, L88 air cleaner, fresh air hood, and stock-style rockers. It was with this combination that John Mahler got KO-MOTION into the 10s. After running 10.47 at a local strip one Sunday, Mahler and crew trailered the Corvette to Charlie's sister's house in Astoria, New York. They unloaded it, pushed it in the garage and covered it up. That's exactly where Glen Spielberg found it more than 30 years later!

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Spielberg hauled the Corvette back to his shop, cleaned it up, and got it running. The original paint and lettering showed very little wear and were left untouched. With a little attention the L88 fired up, sounding as if it was ready to go back to the track. Seeing it under the lights in his shop, Glen had flashbacks to that day when he first saw KO-MOTION more than 30 years ago! KO-MOTION'scoming out party was at Chip Miller's Corvettes At Carlisle last August, where the big-block racer was seen in public for the first time since 1969. It was the centerpiece of a select group of Corvettes that Chip Miller personally assembled for his annual "Chip's Choice."

Astoria Chas' life was cut short at age 19, shortly after arriving in Vietnam. His family and friends were devastated by the news; some never recovered from the shock. Everyone who knew Charlie Snyder felt the pain and loss. Thanks to Glen Spielberg's pit-bull persistence however, KO-MOTION has been recovered after disappearing more than three decades ago. Spielberg has brought both the car and the Astoria Chas legend to the public's attention.

Charlie would be proud.

Editor's Note: Marty Schorr, the founding editor of VETTE, was the editor of CARS Magazine, one of KO-MOTION's original sponsors from the early 1960s to 1973. He photographed KO-MOTION being built at Motion, went with it to the track, and spent much time with Charlie and his crew. He is still saddened when he recalls driving to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, "The Wall," in Washington, DC, and seeing Charlie Snyder's name, along with the names of more than 58,000 other men and women who lost their lives in the war in Southeast Asia.




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