More than three decades ago, 33 years to be exact, eight-year-old Glen Spielberg was with his classmates from PS 272 in Brooklyn, New York, on a trip to the library when he saw something that would have a profound affect on his life. He spotted a one-year-old '67 Corvette adorned with "KO-MOTION" on its front fenders and "Astoria Chas" on its doors being pushed out of a garage to let another car out. He recognized it immediately from stories and photos he had seen in CARS and SPEED & SUPERCAR magazines.
It was local drag racer Charlie Snyder's L88 Corvette, built and tuned by Joel Rosen at Motion Performance. Eight-year-old Glen was already a big fan of Rosen's ground-pounding Motion-Baldwin Phase lll Supercars, especially the 427 Camaros and Corvettes, and was mesmerized by this gold-leaf-lettered race car. As far as he was concerned, the trip to the library was over!
"I tried, with no success, to convince my mother, teacher, and anyone who would listen that I could learn more staying with the Corvette than I could at the library," reminisces an older and wiser Spielberg. "I knew it wouldn't work, but I had to try."
"From the minute I first spotted KO-MOTION I knew that this was the car I wanted to own. Its image was solidly embedded in my brain that day," added Spielberg.
Young Glen knew a lot about the Corvette. What he didn't know that day in Brooklyn was that its owner, "Astoria Chas" Snyder, was going through Jump School courtesy of Uncle Sam. He wouldn't find out until reading my editorial in the January 1969 issue of CARS Magazine that Charlie had been killed. Shortly after arriving in Vietnam with the First Cavalry, this 19-year-old's life was snuffed out by a direct hit from a mortar round.
KO-MOTION left Chevrolet's St. Louis plant with a 427/435 for power and was modified and later fitted with an L88 engine at Motion Performance in Baldwin, New York. In 1967 its fresh factory paint was decorated with low-buck lettering on its front fenders and an assortment of popular speed equipment decals. Charlie Snyder was a typical "Weekend Warrior," driving his Corvette on the street during the week and drag racing it on the weekend.
Early summer, 1967, New York National Speedway. With Motion Performance's Joel Rosen drivi
Shortly after Chevrolet announced the L88 option, Motion's Rosen ordered two replacement L88 engines (actually assembled short-blocks and two sets of First Design closed-chamber aluminum heads). Rosen needed the big-blocks for two projects: Motion's NHRA national-record-setting A/MP Camaro and Charlie Snyder's KO-MOTION Corvette. The order went through Baldwin Chevrolet. Once the blueprinted and balanced L88 engine and the Corvette's suspension were sorted out, KO-MOTION received professional gold leaf lettering along with sponsorship signage from Motion, CARS Magazine, Baldwin Chevrolet, and the Motion Supercar Club.
"After checking the new L88's plugs, jetting, and timing, I made the first run down New York National Speedway in KO-MOTION. I dumped the clutch and everything hooked up. I cruised back to the pits with an impressive 124 mph/11.50 second time slip. Charlie was thrilled. We knew we had a winner," recalls Rosen who now markets custom military models (www.motionmodels.com).