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Callaway Of the Month March '04

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Eric VonHa's 1987 Callaway Corvette

1987 Callaway Aerobody Twin Turbo #37  (Black w/Charcoal Interior)

The Story of Callaway Corvette #87-037 as told by its owner. 

* Editors Note – This car was selected as the Callaway Owners Group “Celebrity Pick” at Corvettes @ Carlisle 2003 due to Eric’s extreme pride and efforts he had put forth with this car since purchasing it a few years ago - CC.

I bought the car from the original owner in December of 2000 with 24,000 miles on the odometer.  The car was in the Hampton area of Long Island, NY and as you can imagine the air was always full of salt.  Well, the ocean air contributed to the seller not being able to re-sell the car.  Not that the car was in bad condition, but it did have a lot more cosmetic issues than the average collector car.  What I saw was “Work!”.  The exterior and motor compartment certainly needed to be detailed… but it was a task that I was up for! 

An interesting story… Long Island is 4 hours from my residence just West of Philadelphia.  Well, I had gone to look at the car one weekend in early December.  At the time of that visit I left the owner a deposit and could not return till after the 1st of the new year to pick the car up.  When I returned to pick the car up the seller said “umm, let me look around for the title.”  I had loaded the car on the trailer (paid in full!) and proceeded to wait in the seller’s living room for several hours while he tore the car apart!  I became well acquainted with their family dog, kids, and the array of remote controls during that time!  I had hopes of crossing over the New York bridges on my return trip prior to darkness, but that wasn’t going to happen!  So, finally the seller gave up and said that he’d have to send it to me and I was welcome to keep his tag and registration in order to drive the car in the interim!  Home I went!  With my new pride and joy following me the whole time!

Well, three months later I finally got the title.  Apparently the car was originally titled to a company of the original owner (his company).  But, to complicate things, he had sold the company many years ago and when the assets were sold, the car was to be transferred out of the company’s name and solely into his name.  From what I heard, he had quite a battle with NY DMV and the old company.  I wondered if I was going to get a call that I had to return the car!  It all worked out just fine, however.

Since then, I’ve taken a painstaking amount of time to bring the car back to a showroom condition:

  1. I’ve installed the silver 17” 5 star Dymag wheels on the car.  The seller had the 16” black Dymags on the car and it was too much black for the car.  It looked like the Batmobile!
  2. The hood has been fully restored.  The paint on it had cracked in the intercooler hood scoops from being too thick.  We thought we’d be able to just remove the intercooler scoops and just re-finish those.. but we were wrong!  They were partially bonded to the hood and removing them meant damaging the surrounding paint on the hood.  So, therefore, the whole hood was refinished.  The intercooler scoops were totally re-done by hand by a master fiberglass craftsman.
  3. The driver’s side Aerobody door skin had been removed to repair a broken stud to hold it firmly against the door.
  4. The MAF sensor wiring was repaired asap.  It was rubbing on the serpentine belt from the moment that I test drove it!
  5. The interior was thoroughly cleaned, shampooed and the power seat lumbar support motors were repaired.  Misc interior trim was replaced.
  6. The suspension (gotta love it when it’s shiny!) was completely gone over with 0000 steel wool and thoroughly cleaned.
  7. The intercooler plumbing and surrounding metal work in the motor compartment was re-finished and polished.
  8. The entire exterior of the car was wet sanded and buffed, which really made the luster of the black become a deep reflective mirror!
  9. The wheel wells were removed and scrubbed with a general abrasive to remove all previous road grime.
  10. Weird—somehow there was a “dent” in the boost gage when I bought the car.  It was removed and the dent was built up with a little body filler.. then the face was repainted.
  11. One of the door sills was re-finished with color matching paint due to light scuffing that couldn’t be washed off.
  12. All Callaway Documentation has been organized in such a fashion that it is easily viewed by show-goers and also stored in a fireproof safe!

The car is Callaway issue and hasn’t been modified in any way.  It’s very unique looking because this is the only Aerobody car that I’ve seen that has the NACA ducts on the hood.  ’88 and later model year cars typically had the “blisters” on the upper portion of the hood closer to the windshield.  I’m sure there are other ’87 model year cars that are out there like this but this is the only active one that I know of within the Corvette community.  The car has had some Callaway updates performed to it such as installing the Rotomaster Turbos (originally they were IHI), heavy duty cooling, clutch, ’88 issue air intake to the frame cross member.

Though the car is painstakingly cleaned, it is driven quite regularly.  One fun time that we had this past summer was a “French Creek Cruise” for a group of Corvette enthusiasts.  I set up a route over the hills and through the woods, which included a stop for lunch.  We had about 20 Vettes show up and we covered ~75 miles and stopped at French Creek as well.  It’s the enjoyment of driving a car like this that makes it so proud to own.  It’s absolutely the most stunning looking Corvette and it has more torque and hits harder than any Vette out there! 

In owning a Callaway Corvette there is a lot of opportunity to meet with automotive enthusiasts of all types.  Surprisingly, there are a lot of people that aren’t aware of Callaway Corvettes!  It’s a joy to talk to those people and exchange ideas and specifications and so forth.  Most people were never aware that there was a factory optioned twin turbo Corvette! 

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