Joel Rosen Legacy | A Farewell to ‘Mr. Motion’ – an Iconic Figure

Welcome to the captivating legacy of Joel Rosen, the driving force behind Motion Performance and the iconic Baldwin-Motion Chevrolet Supercars. Discover the remarkable journey of this legendary engine tuner and racing enthusiast, from his early days at Shepherd Air Force Base, honing his skills to his innovative contributions to the world of high-performance cars. Delve into the history of Motion Performance, the revival of the brand, and the incredible SuperCoupe that earned the title of “America’s Greatest Supercar.” Uncover the stories behind rare snake breeding, vintage Ningyo doll collections, and the enduring impact of a man who left an indelible mark on the world of speed and innovation. Joel Rosen’s legacy is a testament to the passion, innovation, and speed that continue to inspire generations of racing enthusiasts.

Joel Rosen Legacy | A Farewell to 'Mr. Motion' - an Iconic Figure
Joel Rosen Legacy | A Farewell to ‘Mr. Motion’ – an Iconic Figure

A Legacy of Speed and Innovation: Joel ‘ Mr. Motion’ Rosen

The world said its heartfelt goodbye to Joel Rosen, affectionately known as Mr. Motion, a prominent figure from Delray Beach, Florida, who passed away on October 9, 2023. He peacefully departed, surrounded by his family, after a courageous year-long battle against bladder cancer. Just two weeks away from his 84th birthday, he had been under Hospice Care since September 30th.

A Precocious Talent Emerges

Born in 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, Rosen was a precocious talent. He graduated from James Madison High School at the tender age of 16 and went on to attend Brooklyn College, where he majored in Engineering. However, frustrated by the lack of practical experience, he left after two years to embark on a journey with the Air Force.

It was at the Reciprocating Engine Mechanics School at Shepherd Air Force Base in Texas that Rosen honed his exceptional skills as an engine tuner, diagnostician, and builder. During his time at Shepherd AFB, he even led the General’s Drill Team.

A Passion for Speed and Fast Cars

Driven by an unquenchable thirst for speed and a profound passion for fast cars and racing, Rosen founded Motion Performance in 1963, a small speed shop in Brooklyn. This shop specialized in performance modifications and racecar preparation, setting a new standard in the New York City area by featuring a Clayton chassis dynamometer and advanced tuning services.

The ‘Skunk’ and Racing Glory

Joel Rosen and the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Fuelie, along with a small sampling of the trophies the fuel-injected car had won.
Joel Rosen and the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Fuelie, along with a small sampling of the trophies the fuel-injected car had won.

Within a few years, Rosen and his wife, Judith, relocated Motion Performance to a significantly larger facility on Sunrise Highway in Baldwin, Long Island, where it continued to operate well into the 1990s. It was during this time that Rosen purchased the very first fuel-injected ’63 Corvette split-window coupe sold in the New York City Metro area, affectionately nicknamed the ‘Skunk’ due to its striking Daytona Blue paint with a bold single white racing stripe. The Skunk was expertly prepared for competition, and both Joel and Judith Rosen raced it vigorously, even driving it daily.

The Rosens drag raced and soloed the Skunk, earning them the title of “Overall Champion” for the 1963 SSSC & BDS (South Shore Sports Car & Beer Drinking Society) gymkhana season. The Sting Ray was also a local drag racing champion.

Rosen’s enthusiasm for racing led him to compete four to five times a week at various tracks, including Roosevelt Raceway for eighth-mile drags on Wednesday evenings, Islip for eighth-mile drags on Fridays, and Westhampton for quarter-mile drags on Saturdays. Sundays were reserved for road racing and solo gymkhana events.

The Rosens’ dyno-tuned, Atlas-Bucron-shod street-driven split-window Fuelie coupe became the car to beat at Roosevelt in 1963 and consistently secured the Street Eliminator title at Islip. In that year, Mr. & Mrs. Motion also clinched the LISCA (Long Island Sports Car Association) Championship, amassing over 100 trophies and awards.

Journey back to 1966 with this post, featuring Motion Performance's exciting announcement of their cutting-edge Dynamometer Center in Baldwin, NY. Explore the history of speed and innovation in the heart of the American muscle car era."
Journey back to 1966 with this post, featuring Motion Performance’s exciting announcement of their cutting-edge Dynamometer Center in Baldwin, NY. Explore the history of speed and innovation in the heart of the American muscle car era.”

The Baldwin-Motion Legacy

In 1967, Joel Rosen and Marty Schorr, editors of HI-PERFORMANCE CARS magazine, co-founded the iconic Baldwin-Motion brand. It quickly became one of the most successful builders and marketers of limited-production brand-new Chevrolet Supercars.

Rosen was at the forefront of incorporating Chevrolet’s big-block L88 road racing engine into the first Baldwin-Motion 427 Camaro racecar, sponsored by Hi-PERFORMANCE CARS. The L88 engine was also featured in the legendary KO-MOTION 1967 Corvette. Baldwin-Motion offered more performance and custom options than any other specialty car builder, even surpassing Shelby-American.

The record-setting 1967 KO-MOTION L88 Corvette, fine-tuned by Joel Rosen at Motion Performance, roared onto the track. This racing beast boasted an L88 engine, striking gold leaf lettering, and eye-catching sponsor graphics, leaving an indelible mark on the racing world.
The record-setting 1967 KO-MOTION L88 Corvette, fine-tuned by Joel Rosen at Motion Performance, roared onto the track. This racing beast boasted an L88 engine, striking gold leaf lettering, and eye-catching sponsor graphics, leaving an indelible mark on the racing world.
Joel Rosen in 1967, Pioneering High-Performance Engines – A Glimpse into Automotive Innovation at Its Finest
Joel Rosen in 1967, Pioneering High-Performance Engines – A Glimpse into Automotive Innovation at Its Finest

Joel Rosen, widely known as Mr. Motion, revolutionized 427 and 454 engine swaps, building ultimate-performance Chevrolets that were exported to various parts of the world. His incredible journey is chronicled in the book MOTION Performance Tales Of A Muscle Car Builder by Martyn L. Schorr, which received the 2010 International Automotive Media Silver Award.

In 1968, when Baldwin-Motion began producing high-performance Corvette Stingrays, Rosen formed strong bonds with Zora Arkus-Duntov, known as the Corvette’s Godfather. He was also introduced to Chevrolet’s head performance expert, Vince Piggins, who was a close friend of road racer Don Yenko, a builder of 427 Camaros.

Racing Legends Unite: Joel Rosen and Zora Duntov, New York Auto Show 1968, a Glimpse into the early years of the Phase III GT Corvette Program.
Racing Legends Unite: Joel Rosen and Zora Duntov, New York Auto Show 1968, a Glimpse into the early years of the Phase III GT Corvette Program.
Step into the past with this vintage ad unveiling the 1968 Baldwin-Motion Performance Fantastic Five SS-427 lineup, including the Camaro, Corvette, Chevelle, Chevy, and Chevy II. Explore the legendary era of high-performance automobiles during the '60s.
Step into the past with this vintage ad unveiling the 1968 Baldwin-Motion Performance Fantastic Five SS-427 lineup, including the Camaro, Corvette, Chevelle, Chevy, and Chevy II. Explore the legendary era of high-performance automobiles during the ’60s.
Prototype Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT 1968 Corvetteat NY Auto Show
Prototype Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT 1968 Corvetteat NY Auto Show

While Joel Rosen is best known for his signature Baldwin-Motion and Motion-branded Chevrolet Supercars and his AHRA-NHRA National Record holding A & B/Modified Production Gen 1 & Gen 2 Camaros, L88 Corvette, and small & big-block Shelby Cobra racecars, his passions extended beyond the racetrack. He was an accomplished diver and underwater photographer, and during the 1980s, he was the largest breeder of rare boas and pythons in the U.S., often consulted by zoos in the U.S. and abroad.

Diverse Interests Beyond Racing

Fascinated by 18th and 19th-century Japanese culture, Joel and Judith amassed the largest collection of rare vintage Ningyo dolls outside of Japan. Many of their dolls were showcased in museums and shows in the U.S. and featured in prestigious books.

The Revival of Motion and Baldwin-Motion

Revolutionizing Speed: The 2005 SEMA Unveiling of the Baldwin-Motion Camaro 540 SuperCoupe – A Hand-Built Masterpiece with a 700-HP Engine, Crafted Steel Body, and Award-Winning Design. One of 12 custom-built SuperCoupes. It won the 2005 SEMA show's design award for Best GM Vehicle.
Revolutionizing Speed: The 2005 SEMA Unveiling of the Baldwin-Motion Camaro 540 SuperCoupe – A Hand-Built Masterpiece with a 700-HP Engine, Crafted Steel Body, and Award-Winning Design. One of 12 custom-built SuperCoupes. It won the 2005 SEMA Show’s design award for Best GM Vehicle.
Captured at the 2006 SEMA event, this iconic shot features the Baldwin-Motion Super Speedster with Ed Welburn, VP of GM Design, and Joel Rosen inside. Witness a moment in automotive history with these two legends
Captured at the 2006 SEMA event, this iconic shot features the Baldwin-Motion Super Speedster with Ed Welburn, VP of GM Design, and Joel Rosen inside. Witness a moment in automotive history with these two legends.
Capturing a Pivotal Moment in Automotive History: Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen in 2005, Marking the Revival of the Motion and Baldwin-Motion Brands, Supported by Joel Ehrenpreis and Larry Jaworske.
Capturing a Pivotal Moment in Automotive History: Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen in 2005, Marking the Revival of the Motion and Baldwin-Motion Brands, Supported by Joel Ehrenpreis and Larry Jaworske.

In 2005, Joel Rosen, along with Joel Ehrenpreis and Larry Jaworske, resurrected the Motion and Baldwin-Motion brands. Marty Schorr was brought in to handle public relations and advertising. Rosen was the driving force behind MOTION, LLC’s 540 Camaro SuperCoupe and the new generation, limited-edition 1969 Baldwin-Motion SS-427 and Phase III big-block Camaros.

Unveiling a piece of automotive history: a 1969 Phase III 427 Baldwin-Motion Camaro poster. Baldwin-Motion, renowned for crafting high-performance supercars during the golden age of American muscle cars, set new speed standards in the '60s and '70s. A notable chapter in their legacy was closure in 1974 by the DOJ and EPA.
Unveiling a piece of automotive history: a 1969 Phase III 427 Baldwin-Motion Camaro poster. Baldwin-Motion, renowned for crafting high-performance supercars during the golden age of American muscle cars, set new speed standards in the ’60s and ’70s. A notable chapter in their legacy was closure in 1974 by the DOJ and EPA.

The 540 SuperCoupe, unveiled at the 2005 SEMA Show, received GM’s Best Design Award and was hailed as “America’s Greatest Supercar” in an April 2006 issue of MUSCLECAR ENTHUSIAST. The SuperCoupe, purchased by mega-collector Ron Pratte at the 2006 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, further solidified the revival of the Motion and Baldwin-Motion brands. This paved the way for the limited production of new Baldwin-Motion Chevys, capped at just 12 vehicles.

Joel Rosen at SEMA 2005, Posing with the Baldwin-Motion 540 SuperCoupe – A Milestone in High-Performance Automotive Innovation.
Joel Rosen at SEMA 2005, Posing with the Baldwin-Motion 540 SuperCoupe – A Milestone in High-Performance Automotive Innovation.
This snapshot commemorates the 2007 delivery of a Phase III 540 Baldwin-Motion Camaro. Joining Joe Rosen in the photo are Joel Ehrenpreis, President of MOTION, LLC, and Larry Jaworske, CEO of MOTION, LLC, capturing a moment of high-performance automotive history.
This snapshot commemorates the 2007 delivery of a Phase III 540 Baldwin-Motion Camaro. Joining Joe Rosen in the photo are Joel Ehrenpreis, President of MOTION, LLC, and Larry Jaworske, CEO of MOTION, LLC, capturing a moment of high-performance automotive history.

Passing the Torch and Continuing the Legacy

When the Gen V Camaro was introduced, Joel Rosen collaborated with Howard Tanner at Redline Motorsports and Dan Carlton at DeNooyer Chevrolet to produce a new series of 2011 SS and Phase III Camaros with 427 and 454 engines rated at 525 to 800 horsepower. Just a few of these high-performance cars were built, with Rosen himself taking delivery of the first, a Phase III 427-SC powered by a serious 800-horsepower supercharged 454 big-block.

In 2021, Joel Rosen decided to retire and sold his Phase III 427-SC Camaro to Chevrolet performance enthusiast Kasey Alford. Alford also acquired all of Rosen’s archived Motion and Baldwin-Motion paperwork and now serves as the new Mr. Motion, reachable at officialmotionperformance@gmail.com.

Joel Rosen alongside the Gen V Phase III Camaro, and Kasey Alford the New Mr. Motion – A Dynamic Transition into a New Era of Performance.
Joel Rosen alongside the Gen V Phase III Camaro, and Kasey Alford the New Mr. Motion – A Dynamic Transition into a New Era of Performance.

A Multifaceted Legacy

Beyond his incredible contributions to the automotive world, Joel Rosen was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judith, his daughter Robin Sue Rosen, son Shawn Rosen, daughter-in-law Robin Rosen, and grandchildren Zachary, Travis, and Bailey Rosen. His beloved pets, Ragnar (dog) and Archie (Kinkajou), also mourn his passing.

Miscellaneous Photos

Pictured here is Joel Rosen driving AHRA record-holding 1967 427 Baldwin-Motion Camaro sponsored by CARS magazine
Pictured here is Joel Rosen driving AHRA record-holding 1967 427 Baldwin-Motion Camaro sponsored by CARS magazine
Master Tuner Joel Rosen Fine-Tunes the L88-Powered 1967 KO-MOTION Corvette alongside Owner Charlie 'Astoria Chas' Snyder – A Symphony of Performance.
Master Tuner Joel Rosen Fine-Tunes the L88-Powered 1967 KO-MOTION Corvette alongside Owner Charlie ‘Astoria Chas’ Snyder – A Symphony of Performance.
Joel Rosen Takes the Wheel of the KO-MOTION Corvette, Joined by Owner and Crew at the 1967 NY National Event – A Snapshot of Speed and Teamwork.
Joel Rosen Takes the Wheel of the KO-MOTION Corvette, Joined by Owner and Crew at the 1967 NY National Event – A Snapshot of Speed and Teamwork.
Stepping into the Past: Joel Rosen Climbs into the Phase III Corvette – A Timeless Icon of Speed and Style.
Stepping into the Past: Joel Rosen Climbs into the Phase III Corvette – A Timeless Icon of Speed and Style.
Motion Maco Shark Vette at Circuit Zandvoort Grand Prix track Holland 1968
Motion Maco Shark Vette at Circuit Zandvoort Grand Prix track Holland 1968
Joel Rosen with cars & Motion marine boat approximately 1970
Joel Rosen with cars & Motion marine boat approximately 1970
Step back in time to June 3, 1971, when Joe Rosen crafted and personally delivered this iconic white 1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT 454 Corvette to Dr. Harry E. Rollings. A timeless masterpiece of high-performance automotive history
Step back in time to June 3, 1971, when Joe Rosen crafted and personally delivered this iconic white 1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT 454 Corvette to Dr. Harry E. Rollings. A timeless masterpiece of high-performance automotive history
Captured in history: 1967 427 Camaro in front of Baldwin Chevrolet, where Ed Simonin and David Bean oversaw a unique era. Customers bought new cars here and sent them down the street to Motion Performance for personalized speed upgrades, all while keeping their new car warranty intact. Left-to-right; Dave Bean, VP of Baldwin Chevy; Joel Rosen; and Ed Simonin, President of Baldwin Chevy.
Captured in history: 1967 427 Camaro in front of Baldwin Chevrolet, where Ed Simonin and David Bean oversaw a unique era. Customers bought new cars here and sent them down the street to Motion Performance for personalized speed upgrades, all while keeping their new car warranty intact. Left-to-right: Dave Bean, VP of Baldwin Chevy; Joel Rosen; and Ed Simonin, President of Baldwin Chevy.
Immerse yourself in artistry as David Snyder captures the essence of Baldwin-Motion Performance alongside their fleet of Camaros. A visual journey through the legacy of high-performance automobiles.
Immerse yourself in artistry as David Snyder captures the essence of Baldwin-Motion Performance alongside their fleet of Camaros. A visual journey through the legacy of high-performance automobiles.
Unveiling the Legendary Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette: A Marvel of High-Performance Automotive History
Unveiling the Legendary Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette: A Marvel of High-Performance Automotive History
Rare Iran Export: Baldwin-Motion 454 Phase III Camaro – A Global Automotive Treasure.
Rare Iran Export: Baldwin-Motion 454 Phase III Camaro – A Global Automotive Treasure.
Cover shot of VETTE magazine with the KO-Motion L88 on the cover
Cover shot of VETTE magazine with the KO-Motion L88 on the cover

Explore Vette Vues Magazine Subscriptions, the ultimate choice for Corvette enthusiasts. Enjoy 52 years of rich history and in-depth insights into all things Corvette. From the classic C1 to the cutting-edge C8, each monthly issue is packed with features, reviews, restoration tips, event highlights, racing updates, auction results, model cars, classifieds, premium products, and more. Discover the latest Corvette news and uncover fascinating historical facts. Subscribe now!

Stay updated with our newsletter for regular updates and exciting features; you can sign up here for free. Plus, don’t forget to explore our online store, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of Corvette bookst-shirtshats/capsbags, and coolers adorned with Corvette logos. By subscribing and shopping with us, you not only stay plugged into the Corvette community but also support the rich heritage of these legendary vehicles. Join us in celebrating all things Corvette!

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top