In 1987 Corvettes got a little faster thanks to engineers at Callaway Cars. What started in the garage of Reeves Callaway’s Old Lyme, Connecticut home has grown into a company with three locations (Connecticut, California and Germany) and four core business units: Callaway Engineering, Callaway Cars, Callaway Carbon and Callaway Competition. When the company began, Reeves’ mission was not to enhance Corvette performance, it was to put food on the table for a young family in the only way he knew how. To build something beautiful and powerful that would appeal to the owners of fine automotive machinery. Reeves had a passion for making engines powerful, and in 1986 his company formally became allied with Chevrolet Corvette.
Reeves’ engineering achievements in the Corvette performance arena began with the factory RPO B2K Twin Turbo Corvettes (1987-1991), and continued with the development of the world-recording holding 254 mph “Sledgehammer,” C4 Aerobody package, LT-1 and LT-5 SuperNatural Corvettes, C12 Callaway Supercars, C5/C6 power group packages, C6 Supercharged Corvettes / C16 Supercars, and C7 Stingray/GS and Z06 models, and branching Callaway into other GM V8 powered performance cars, trucks, and SUVs.
In celebration of Callaway’s 40th anniversary, and their 30th anniversary of their relationship with Corvette, the National Corvette Museum’s Exhibit Hall will be displaying 15 examples of this high-performance Corvette.
1987 Callaway Corvette RPO B2K #001 donated by Mead Briggs to the National Corvette Museum
The Callaway Twin-Turbo Engine Package introduced in 1987 was not a factory-installed option, but could be ordered through participating Chevrolet dealers as RPO B2K. Of the 188 built, only three were automatic transmissions. The option gave the Corvette ratings of 345 hp, 465 lb. torque and a top speed of 177.9 mph.
1988 Callaway Corvette RPO B2K – 35th Anniversary Corvette Coupe on loan from Leonard Wiggins
The 35th Anniversary Callaway Twin Turbo was the first of seven RPO Z01 Anniversary Callaways to be built. At just over $61,000, it was one of the most expensive Corvettes in 1988. It was also the fastest.
1988 Callaway Corvette RPO B2K #88-051, the Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette on loan from the Berry Collection
The Sledgehammer project began after Car & Driver’s ‘Gathering of Eagles’ test event where Reeves Callaway drove the famed ‘Top Gun’ Callaway Twin Turbo to a maximum speed of 231 mph to win the contest. Reeves was determined that the car used in the next event must feel like a normal Corvette with low speed drivability and working options, including A/C and radio – and the car had to be driven to the event. This street legal Corvette remains the world’s fastest – even today – reaching 254.76 mph.
1991 Callaway Corvette RPO B2K on loan from the Berry Collection
Near the close of RPO B2K Callaway Turbo Corvette production, Callaway began to build the cars as ‘Series 500’ cars with unique color combinations, special paint and other Callaway options. This Perriwinkle Purple Callaway was originally ordered in late 1991 for Callaway dealer, Purifoy Chevrolet in Colorado to display in the showroom. Built as Callaway Twin Turbo #501, the car is one of only a handful of Series 500 RPO B2K Callaway Corvettes with unique colors and trim, and an ultra-rare 100+ Package.
1990 Callaway Super Speedster on loan from the Berry Collection
Build using a 1990 ZR-1 as its foundation, this is the first of only two Series II Super Speedsters constructed by Callaway. It features a unique wider Callaway AeroBody with flared rear fenders, Cherry Smash Red paint and ‘My Favorite Blue’ interior. Every inch of the inside of this car is richly covered in leather and wool! The twin turbo LT5 engine produces 750 hp.
1991 Callaway Super Speedster on loan from the Berry Collection
Also built using a 1990 ZR-1 as its foundation, this is the second of only two Series II Callaway Super Speedsters. With a Candy Wine exterior and Ivory interior, it is the only Speedster with removable hardtop, truly making it a one-of-one car.
1996 Callaway Supernatural 450 Corvette – Grand Sport, on loan from Randy and Judy Flock
This 1996 Grand Sport is the only one with the Callaway ‘SuperNatural’ engine and Callaway Aerobody, giving it 450 hp and 383 cid. Even though the 1996 Corvette was the last of the fourth generation, it regained the top spot (after two years in second place) in AutoWeek magazine’s annual subscriber survey of American cars in which readers had the most pride.
2003 Callaway Power Group 3 Corvette – Callaway Cars Inc. donated to the Museum by Gary Nichols
As Callaway’s Z06 test and development car, this Corvette was used in the development and testing of Callaway’s 4 power groups for the fifth generation. Modifications include Callaway’s power groups 1 (Honker Air Inlet and Callaway’s cat back ‘Double D’ exhaust system), power group 2 (big bore throttle body and tubular exhaust headers) and power group 3 (CNC ported cylinder heads, camshaft and high ratio rocker arms).
Other cars to be exhibited include:
- 1989 Callaway Corvette RPO B2K
- 1991 Callaway Speedster #10 on loan from the Miller Collection
- 1998 Callaway C12 Speedster on loan from the Chris Pliaconis /Plycar Transportation Collection
- 1999 Callaway C12 Coupe, formerly owned by Dale Earnardt Jr. on loan from a private collection.
- 2007 C16 on loan from Alan Arthur
- 2013 Callaway SC606 Grand Sport Corvette – (only PBC-Built engine for LS3 platform, and last C6 NCM R8C Delivery made) on loan from Billy Kirkham
- 2015 Callaway SC757 Coupe (This was car #001 of the series, used in media, promos, etc.)
The exhibit opens January 13 and runs until May 5, 2017.