Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Motion Performance was the largest company that performed aftermarket tuning on GM vehicles. While designing the Corvette Manta Ray GT, one of many Motion Performance-tuned vehicles, builders used a 1972 `Vette as a model to explore different design schemes and see what worked.
This concept car made its auto show rounds, changing owners many times in the process, but most enthusiasts simply saw it as a deformed version of the Manta Ray GT. Several years ago this custom Corvette made its way back onto the selling block and when its original builder, Joel Rosen, was question about it from a potential buyer, he wrote it off as a poorly duplicated version of one of Motion’s Corvette kits.
As time went by and Rosen learned a little more about the car, he came to find out that this was the long-lost and long-forgotten concept car he worked on in 1972. Talk about a strange set of events to lead up to finding one of the rarest Corvettes on the planet.
Ultimately, the detail that gave the Corvette away was a flawed paint job that remained underneath certain panels on the vehicle. This type of painting flaw – using a primer that it too dark for its yellow top coat – created a nasty green-like color that was later painted over with pearl yellow paint.
This awesome Motion Maco Shark/Motion Manta Ray GT hybrid is truly a one-of-a-kind vehicle that is lucky to be around, and collectors around the world can now find it for sale again on Ebay. Is this Custom Corvette Mutt up to snuff for a collector to sink some serious cash into?
Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.
The exterior of this custom `Vette, which was fully restored in 2006, is simply outrageous. From afar it looks similar to a 1972 Corvette, but once you get a goof look you can see it is very, very different than any Corvette on the road. The only part of the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT that is actually closely related to its original form are its exaggerated front and rear fenders.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this `Vette is missing its staple pop-up headlights. The headlights are actually now hidden behind the billet-style grille gracing the front end. The front of this 1972 Corvette comes to a very sharp point, giving it an arrow-style appearance.
Gracing the hood are two hood grates that match the billet grille with “454” on either side of the grates. Above the passenger’s and driver’s heads are a set of T-tops that are painted to match the yellow color of the `Vette’s body. Along the side of the body are a set of side-exit exhaust pipes that connect to a set of headers. There is also a black stripe running down the side of the vehicle that gets larger as it reaches the rear of the car.
The rear of this custom 1972 Corvette is just as wild as the front, as instead of featuring the straight down rear window and sails that angle toward the rear of the vehicle, this `Vette Moray GT has a massive boat-tail rear end.
The very back end of the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT has a spoiler similar to the one on the standard Vette. The big difference between this spoiler and the standard one is that the Moray GT’s spoiler is far taller than the standard one. The aforementioned black stripe that runs toward the rear of the vehicle widens to the point that it actually covers the whole of the rear fascia, from below the chrome bumper all the way to the top of the spoiler.
With all of the changed to the backside of this `Vette, Motion Performance had to relocate the fuel filler door to the top of the driver’s side fender. Fortunately, this large chrome door fits perfectly in with the rest of the car’s style.
On each corner of the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT is an American Racing Turbine 40-spoke wheel. Wrapped around these true-to-the-original rims are none other than Goodyear Eagle GTII tires with raised white letters, sized 225/70R15 on the front and 275/60R15 on the rear. An interesting side note on the rims is that they were purchased from Ebay for a “large sum of money,” but they were painted powder blue. After hours of restoration, these rims were brought back to their original condition and installed on the `Vette.
The 1972 Corvette was already a fairly wild design for its time. When Motion Performance got a hold of it, they took wild in a completely new direction. Fortunately, this wildness works out perfectly.
Motion continued its wild designing on the outside to the inside of this `72 Corvette. What first screams at you when you open up the door is the plethora of padded vinyl. This tufted vinyl starts at the front-most end of center console and runs all the way to the rearmost part of the center armrest. The front seats and door panels also feature this same tufted vinyl feature.
The large boat-tail back end also adds another feature to the interior of the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT that a typical `Vette wouldn’t have. This added feature it a deep storage hull behind the rear seats! That’s right, this Corvette not only hauls ass, but it can also haul a little more cargo than your typical Corvette. On this cargo hull’s walls is the same tufted vinyl you see in the front of the car.
The 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT still boasts its original Corvette steering wheel. This steering wheel is something that could have fetched a lot of money had a struggling owner been looking for a quick buck.
Inside you also get an AM-FM stereo that is aftermarket, but sits in the vehicle well enough that no one would ever notice. Atop the gear shifter is the ultimate in retro styling, a cue ball shifter knob.
One thing you’ll be shocked to find out is that the interior is about as close to 100 percent original and un-restored as you can get. The only part of the interior that was replaced and restored was the front carpeting. It’s almost like it sat in a time capsule for the last few decades.
Engine and Drivetrain
Let’s have a look at what’s under the heavily modified hood of the 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Moray GT. Under the hood you’ll find the same exact LS5 454 cubic-inch V-8 engine that Motion Performance modified. A fly-eye-style air filer sits atop the 750 CFM carburetor by Holley. If you’re wondering what a fly-eye air cleaner is, it is a metal air cleaner that has dozens of pinholes in it, so it almost resembles a fly’s eye. This type of filter offers little dirt protection, but it increases airflow dramatically. This will ultimately lead to more carburetor rebuilds and cleaning, but the performance enhancement is well worth it. Then again, they have been known to go up in flames when the carb backfires.
A set of finned Motion Performance valve covers sit atop the modified cylinder heads, though little is known about exactly what mods were done to the heads. We would assume a nice port and polish if the least of their modification. This 427 also has a roller cam and roller rockers, which help keep things moving freely, unlike the flat tappet engines of this `Vette’s era. Other than the heads, cam and rockers, we know very little about the mods performed on the guts of the engine. So we also do not know what its horsepower rating is. We can estimate that with mild modifications, the 454 from 1972 is capable of about 350 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.
As for bolt-on modifications, this engine has a set of Hooker long-tube headers. It also has some chrome strewn throughout the engine bay, including the alternator, breather, thermostat housing and brake master cylinder cap.
Connected to the backside of this Chevy Orange-painted 427 sits a Muncie M-21 four-speed transmission, which is the factory original transmission. This custom `Vette also has its original posi-traction rear end.
It’s really disappointing that we don’t know the power ratings of the engine, but that is the type of uncharted territory you run into with these custom-built cars.
Suspension and Braking
There’s not too much to get excited about with the suspension, as it is the basic front dual A-arm suspension found on any 1972 Corvette. The rear suspension is an independent design that uses an inverted leaf spring. The only difference is that this suspension system is in superb condition, just like it rolled off of the factory line.
There’s also not much glamour in the braking system. The 1972 Moray GT features four-wheel mechanical disc brakes. In order to stop this rather large sled, you had better start working out that right leg, as mechanical brakes can take quite an amount of effort.
We knew the pricing on a one-off Corvette would be high, but the $499,900 “Buy It Now” price that RK Motors is listing on Ebay is a little excessive. They do, however, have a “Make Offer” option that will likely get this car sold more quickly.
With the 1972 Corvette having an NADA value of about $58K in great shape, we would think somewhere in the $200K range is more reasonable for this type of car. Then again, NADA has a listing for the Corvette Moray GT, but the pricing is listed as “N/A,” which means it is worth whatever someone is willing to shell out for it – essentially, it is priceless.
None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There is no car on the planet that can compete with a one-off production like this, especially one that was thought to be lost for about 30 years.
The car itself is awesome and we would love nothing more than to whip it around the track a few times. Having said that, this car is simply not worth its asking price to us. We are talking about the beginning of the dark ages for the Corvette. This sub-300-horsepower machine, from the factory, was nearly the beginning of the end for the `Vette, had it not been for the introduction of Tuned Port Injection in the 1980s.
Most well maintained early-1970s Corvettes are good for about $40,000 dollars and a rare model is typically good for 4 to 5x that price, not over 10x the going rate. If you are seriously considering this car, we suggest entering in a $200K offer and seeing what the seller counters with. If it I in excess of $300K, your money is better spent elsewhere.
Then again, if you have to have it and its uniqueness is worth nearly half a million bucks, you can rest assured that you will have the only one like it in the world.