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Callaway Of the Quarter - January - March 2008

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2007 Callaway C16 Cabrio

     

Sweet Sixteen

 

            Delivering ultra-high levels of Corvette performance for the past two decades has not been a problem for Reeves Callaway and his group of engineers. Based in Old Lyme, CT, Callaway Cars recently celebrated their twentieth anniversary working with Chevrolet’s Corvette, by introducing the new Callaway C16 coupe at the LA Auto Show last November to an enthusiastic crowd.

            The C16 is Callaway’s sixteenth full-fledged project in the thirty years since Reeves Callaway began turbo charging BMW’s in the garage at his home. Based upon the current C6 platform, the Corvette was completely re-bodied by their designers, engineers, and craftsmen, and additional power was then added to the tune of 560 or 616 horsepower, depending upon which engine options one selects. We recently had the opportunity to preview the new C16 Cabrio as it neared completion. Set to debut at the New York Auto Show later that week, the finishing touches were being applied as we arrived at the Old Lyme shop for our visit.

            Covered in a beautiful shade of silver, three weeks earlier, this car began its life as a triple-black convertible. With virtually all of the body panels on the Callaway C16 were replaced, the exceptions here were the trunk decklid and side mirrors. Designed by Callaway’s longtime stylist, Paul Deutschman, the body has an exceptional level of integration and an amazing degree of quality in the finish and body seams. Deutschman has designed the Callaway bodies since his original Sledgehammer aero package, which later became the classic AeroBody for the C4 Corvettes. Other designs include the C12 Supercar, and even the subtle tail valance panel on the Power Group C5’s. Deutschman and the engineers at Callaway cleverly utilized the factory body mounting points for the new panels, making the new design work well with the C6 underpinnings. Available now in coupe or cabrio form, a fixed roof Z06 based “Super C16” is said to be in the works.

            With the car draped in a fresh new look, the C16 stretches several inches longer than the original C6 that serves as its foundation. By eliminating the stubby overhangs, the look is elegant. Larger domes were designed behind the cockpit; yet they are designed to be removed to allow the factory soft convertible top to be raised into place, should it be needed. The C16 is also widened by a few inches, allowing for a greater selection of tires to be placed inside the wheel wells. Speaking of tires, for the show, our car rode on massive Yokohama AdvanSport 305/25 ZR20 tires in the rear, with 275/30 ZR19 up front on unique two-piece wheels crafted by Dymag in England. Callaway worked again with Dymag to create a lightweight wheel by taking advantage of some very high tech materials. With its magnesium center bolted to the carbon fiber rim, each wheel shaves about ten pounds of weight off the factory wheels. Amazingly, the massive 20” x 12” rear wheel weighs a scant 18 pounds. While the tires were indeed massive and gripped like a postal stamp on an incorrectly addressed envelope, massive 345 width AdvanSport rear tires are in the works through Yokohama, Callaway’s tire partner for the project.

            Beyond the bodywork of the C16, one finds the details inside the car are equally as impressive. While at first I had thought it was a magic trick, Callaway Cars Managing Director, Mike Zoner waved his hand over the top of the door, popping it outward and open about an inch. With two fingers placed atop the door, I gently swung it back and slid behind the steering wheel. Zoner explained that they cleverly utilized the existing Corvette door solenoids, but added a remote sensor on each side to work in unison with the original key fob. A graceful entry is always there for you with this system however; should the battery fail, the standard key system is still employed.

            Inside the car, we were treated to absolute luxury. This C16 was fitted with what Callaway calls the Deutschleder interior option. While the base (560hp) Cabrio includes portions of this package in its $128,765 base price, the Deutshleder interior covers every inch of the interior in rich leather and Alcantara suede materials, eliminating the heavy plastic feel of the standard Corvette interior. With this interior installed, the price jumps an additional $24,300. Trust me, if we could bottle just the aroma, the price would be worth it.

            Cinched into the seatbelt, I tapped the start button on the dash, igniting the 560 SuperCharged horsepower that resided under the C16’s domed hood. With the paddle-shift automatic installed on this car, I knew what to expect from it to a large degree, as the combination was similar to our red Callaway Corvette SC 560 car we tested last fall. When we pressed down on the gas pedal, a deep burble was emitted from the redesigned exhaust tips in the back of the car. Featuring larger Double-D tips that better fill the opening under the rear fascia, the cat-back system is included in the C16’s price. Bringing this car down from speed is accomplished through the use of the optional C16 big-brake package that replaced the standard Corvette equipment. With massive 14-inch rotors at all four corners, the car has six-piston calipers up front, with four-piston calipers in the rear. Engineered to eliminate all signs of brake fade during repeated stops or extreme brake usage, the LeMans, as it is called, added $7,620 to the price of the car. Other significant options available on the C16 include the aforementioned 616hp Performance Package which we first learned of last year during our review of the SuperNatural™ 490 Callaway (C.E. November 2006). This option combines the raw power of the supercharger with the finesse of the ported cylinder heads (the SC heads are different in that the combustion chambers are somewhat larger to reduce the compression ratio, with the port geometry slightly revised as well) and camshaft of the engineered 490 package for greater efficiency of the LS2 power plant. Also worth considering for your C16, is the Callaway Eibach Multi-Pro coilover suspension package, which offers multiple adjustments for precise handling characteristics. Additionally, sport seats and belts are available for greater support in spirited driving situations, and fitted luggage can be had, should your C16 be utilized as a sport-touring car.

            Turning heads seemed easy in this car, as Callaway has done a great job with their handsome C16. We recently had a chance to drive this C16 during a visit to Southern California and which we put many miles behind us, leaving us with quite a favorable impression of the well-balanced package the team from Old Lyme has produced.

        For additional information about the SuperCharged Callaway C16 or a listing of authorized dealers in your area, contact Callaway Cars at 860.434.9002 or, www.callawaycars.com.

©  2008 Chris Chessnoe and the Callaway Owners Group – all rights reserved.

 

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