As one of the biggest modifiers of General Motors cars in the 1960s and 70s, Motion Performance created some legendary cars – from the SS-427 Camaro, Impala, Corvette, Nova and Chevelle that made up the Fantastic Five, to the later Motion Corvette models. With production numbers of such cars being heavily guarded by the founder of Motion Performance, Joel Rosen, Motion Performance cars are extremely rare and highly sought after. Even more rare is the Motion Corvette that is currently for sale on eBay, a one-of-one custom bridge car that explored design possibilities for a new generation of Motion Performance Corvettes.
In 1969, Rosen set out to create the ultimate sports car. Unfortunately, with the introduction of 500+HP Motion Phase III GT Corvettes, the price of the entire car proved to be too expensive and Motion saw higher sales of individual Phase III components than complete Corvettes. Deciding to switch gears in 1971, Motion started making Mako Shark fiberglass body kits for the Corvette that were modeled after the GM Mako Shark concept car. By 1973, the itch to make the ultimate super car was once again getting to Rosen, so he started creation on the Manta Ray GT Corvettes. Using a 1972 Corvette, Rosen used the front clip of the Maco Shark kit, a custom built boat tail rear window and modified B-pillars to create a mach up of what the future Motion Manta Ray GTs could look like. Lost for over 30 years, this custom build of Motion Performance’s, later dubbed the Moray GT by Rosen, was passed from owner to owner without the knowledge of what the car truly was.
After being found on eBay a few years ago and verified as the one and only Motion mach-up car by Rosen, a full frame-up restoration by Pennington Auto Body was done on the car in 2006. Overseen by Rosen himself, the restoration was completed by Rayburn Pennington, the owner of the only known surviving 1973 Manta Ray GT. The car remains in almost untouched condition with its original, numbers-matching LS5 454 CI engine, M21 Muncie 4-speed transmission and Posi-traction rear end. All the original Motion Performance upgrades are still intact and work properly.
Every piece of the car is either original or has been restored to Rosen’s specifications. Even the paint has been corrected to appear as it should have in 1972. After a mishap at the original paint shop in 1972 where a black primer was used under the yellow pearl paint, the mock-up car came back with a green tint to it. Rosen sent the car off to another paint shop and had the car repainted but when it was found some 30 years later, the green tint could still be seen under some trim pieces. After Rosen did loads of research on paint colors that would closely recreate the original 70s yellow pearl color, the car was repainted in Dupont Hot Hues Yellow topped with an overcoat of gold pearl. Topped with a correct black stinger stripe, rear panel and badging, the car looks, feels and essentially is the mock-up car that was created in 1972.
With so much heritage and being the only one of its kind, a buyer could expect to pay a pretty penny for the Moray GT, but the asking price still seems a bit steep. For half a million dollars, you can buy a very nice house, a few super cars or the one and only Motion Performance mock-up car. With binders full of documentation and magazine articles the car has been featured in, signatures from both Joel Rosen and Corvette Chief Engineer Dave McLellan on the t-tops, and countless hours put into making sure the Monray GT was as correct and original as possible, the Corvette is truly a rare gem. But is it worth the price?
Undoubtedly, the car comes with history and stories that are like no other. But it will take a true Corvette or Motion enthusiast to determine if the price is fair. Not that we’re expecting any one to be interested in paying the asking price for the car, but the Corvette will remain available on eBay through October 10th. If nothing else, the pictures and complete story of the car are worth heading over to eBay to check out.