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Baldwin-Motion Camaro 540 SC: a modern 700 horsepower version of an iconic muscle car

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Over half a century ago, enthusiasts who wanted an American-built sports car with more power than the manufacturers could offer, visited tuners based at dealerships like Yenko Chevrolet, Royal Pontiac or Grand Spaulding Dodge. The first of the group became the most recognizable decades later, largely because of builds like the Super Camaros or the Corvair Stingers. However, many veterans of the golden age of muscle cars agree that the most outrageous street machines came from Baldwin-Motion.

Located in Long Island, NY, Baldwin Chevrolet was where most speed junkies went to get their fix. The dealership had a range of unique performance-driven models that started life as the original Chevrolet but were delivered around the corner to Joel Rosen’s Motion Performance where they underwent a limited in-depth makeover only. by the creativity and budget of the client.

This collaboration gave birth to some standout builds, the most radical of which were the Phase III Corvettes, Chevelles and Camaros that not only looked cool but could dominate both the street and the Strip.

Unfortunately, the story took an unfortunate turn in the mid-1970s when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an investigation into Motion Performance and its dribbling of factory emissions standards. Although some illegal cars were designed after this scandal, the company never fully recovered and Rosen eventually retired.

Three decades later, the legendary manufacturer decided to come out of retirement and blessed us with another incredible motorcycle: the 540 Super Coupé.

Revealed at the SEMA 2005 show in Las Vegas, the fire-breathing Camaro looked like a brilliant restoration honoring older Phase III versions, but it was an all-new car brimming with 21st century technology.

Heavily based on the 1969 model, the wider and lower body was designed by acclaimed custom car designer Kris Horton. Each panel was handcrafted from steel and welded to a custom tubular frame created by Phil Somers of Time Machines.

The Florida-based company also designed an uneven-length double-wishbone front suspension system fitted with a bulky stabilizer bar and adjustable TNT Motorsports shocks. Unlike the original first-generation Camaro, the SuperCoupe featured independent rear suspension, high-torque hardened steel axles, and a Dana 44 positive-traction PU that could handle the power. extreme produced by the engine.

That brings us to the outrageous 540 ci (8.8 liter) all-aluminum Merlin / Motion big block designed by none other than Joel Rosen himself. Built by World Products around its Merlin block, it comes with high compression forged Mahle pistons and Eagle Specialties H-beam rods connected to a torsion-free 4340 steel crank.

The V8 was complemented by fully mounted Merlin aluminum cylinder heads, fitted with a COMP Cams valve train and bespoke camshaft. Fuel was supplied by a bespoke Kinsler Cross Ram sequential injection system with high-flow aluminum rails, an in-line Weldon pump and high-flow injectors.

Linked to a modified five-speed Tremec TKO600, the unit could produce north of 700bhp in its final form, dyno-tuned, and with virtually all of its components polished or chrome, it was knocking the jaws off before it was even fired. . .

Finished in a glossy Motion Red paint with a silver stripe down the middle that paid homage to the original Phase III Camaros, the prototype that debuted at SEMA looked like the Ferrari of muscle cars. He sat on custom Bonspeed Intense wheels with three-bladed Motion wheels wrapped in ridiculously large Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The body was completed by an equally red interior with some chrome elements. Due to the gargantuan engine, rear suspension setup and 20 x 12-inch rear wheels, there was only room for two six-way adjustable power seats with six-point harnesses, all covered in Cha leather. Cha Red by Hoyt’s Auto Upholstery. Instead of a backseat, the SuperCoupe comes with a custom Sony Xplod sound system with a two-channel amp and 10-inch subs.

Creature comfort was plentiful despite the car’s visceral handling, as it was equipped with a Hot Rod air conditioning system, power windows, and one of those pop-out dashboard video units that were extremely popular at the time.

As you can imagine, this exceptional building stole the show at SEMA. It was such a success that General Motors awarded the reborn Camaro its award for Best GM Vehicle Design.

Fueled by public reaction, the initial plan was to develop 12 of these epic machines as part of an ultra-limited production run. Unfortunately, that never happened and the show car along with a second convertible prototype were auctioned off at a Barrett-Jackson event in 2012, each for around $ 450,000.

Although it never went into production, the hand-crafted SuperCoupe was a bespoke masterpiece and a worthy tribute to the most rabid muscle cars of the Golden Age.

Thanks to MyRide.com, you can take a virtual tour of the beast by watching the YouTube video below posted on their official channel.

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