In the staging lanes at New...
In the staging lanes at New York National Speedway during KO-MOTION's first track day. Joel Rosen is behind the wheel. Standing, from right to left, Al Barbomio, Charlie Snyder, and John Holdorf. The boy in the dark shirt is unknown.
It took Glen Spielberg more than 30 years to turn his childhood fantasy into an adult reality. In October 2000 he acquired what longtime Motion collector and historian Tim Penton, a police officer in Hammond, LA, considers, The Holy Grail of Motion cars. "It's one of the most desirable Motion-built cars and one of the top two on my personal hit list." Glen Spielberg enlisted the help of a network of friends and a professional locator in his quest for KO-MOTION. Ironically, by the time Glen Spielberg found the "Astoria Chas" Motion L88 Sting Ray, he was already the proud owner of two restored and documented genuine L88 Corvettes. His '67 coupe is one of 20 built; the '68 Stingray's one of 80. He also owns a show-stopping '70 LS6 Chevelle. Glen's business, Advanced Auto Body in Bellmore, New York, is just a quick 15-20 minute ride from Motion Performance where KO-MOTION was originally built!
Glen's hired gun found KO-MOTION in 1992. Charlie Snyder's Corvette convertible had been stored under wraps by Charlie's sister after its last 10-second track trip in 1969. It was trailered from the strip to storage. And that's exactly how Glen found it more than 30 years later, complete with a 10.74-second time slip under the front seat and "10.74" in shoe polish on the plexiglass back window. Its original, never renewed, 1967 New York State registration was still in the locked glove compartment!
Once Glen zeroed in on the location of the big-block racer, he opened up a dialog with Charlie's sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and John Holdorf. By that time word had leaked out that KO-MOTION was alive, well, and sequestered in a garage in Astoria, New York, the Holdorfs were inundated by phone calls. Most inquiries were from dealers and speculators who wanted to "flip" KO-MOTION to one of the many hard-core Motion collectors who tried unsuccessfully to track it down themselves. Sharon and John were not interested in selling.
Over time, Glen Spielberg convinced them of his passion for preserving KO-MOTION and its history as well as his sincerity about neither flipping it nor restoring and reselling it. The Holdorfs decided to offer Glen first right of refusal when and if they decided to sell. Glen continued calling Sharon and John a few times a year, year after year, just to keep in touch. They became friends.
John Holdorf, who had retired from the New York Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority (MTA) where he was a computer specialist, suffered a fatal heart attack in July, 2000. Sharon kept in contact with Glen and a couple of months later made the decision to finally part with her late brother's car. In October Glen Spielberg drove to Charlie's old neighborhood in Astoria and, for the first time in more than 30 years, the Marlboro Maroon Sting Ray convertible was exposed to daylight. "I felt as t hough I had just won the lottery," said Spielberg!
"I wanted KO-MOTION because it was built by Joel Rosen in the shop where he produced Baldwin-Motion Supercars and it was featured in some of my favorite magazines. It also held an AHRA A/Corvette World Record (11.04/129 mph) that was set in the owner's name after he was killed in combat in Vietnam. There's much history here," said Glen. The engine in the Corvette when the AHRA record was set was a blueprinted L88 with a Crankshaft Co. lower end, Super/Stock Thermo Rev crank, reworked L88 rods, 12.5 ForgedTrue .030-inch over pistons with Dykes rings, deep pan and a special oil pump. It also featured ported, machined and gasket-matched 107.9cc heads, Motion .610-inch lift, 310/320 degree duration Phase III "C" cam and valve train, a factory alloy intake manifold with hogged-out center divider, and a stagger-jetted 850-cfm Holley double-pumper. Hooker headers were plumbed into a factory outside exhaust system (lighter than undercar system). The Corvette was originally equipped with conventional exhausts.
Charlie Snyder at the helm...
Charlie Snyder at the helm of his newly-minted street and strip, L88-powered '67 during its first outing.
"Astoria Chas" watches while...
"Astoria Chas" watches while Joel Rosen does some track-side tuning in 1967.
KO-MOTION received a new and...
KO-MOTION received a new and much fancier lettering job for the 1968 season. After Charlie Snyder's death in Vietnam in late 1968, "-IN MEMORY OF-" was added to each door, just above the "-ASTORIA CHAS-" signage. The author shot this photo in 1969 at the Motion Performance shop in Baldwin (Long Island), New York after an AHRA National Record was set "In Memory of Astoria Chas" and shortly before KO-MOTION was locked away for the next 31 years. It is essentially the same today.