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Callaway Of the Month March '06

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1996 Callaway SuperNatural™ 450 Grand Sport

 

 This month, we are pleased to bring you one of the most celebrated Callaway Corvettes ever constructed. Owned by Randy & Judy Flock of Rhode Island, this Callaway is visually, one of the most exciting cars made! Don’t let the pretty wrapper fool you into thinking that it is just another pretty face – this car has the Callaway SuperNatural 450 engine under its striped hood, producing more than enough power to accelerate into the next dimension.

 One of a kind, there are two other Callaway Grand Sports however, neither of those wear the unique Callaway AeroBody. The Flock’s Grand Sport has been the recipient of countless awards at various shows and has traveled to the National Corvette Museum C4 shows in Bowling Green, KY. Aside from receiving multiple Celebrity Pick Awards at the annual Corvettes at Carlisle show, the Flock’s Callaway was a part of the Bloomington Gold Corvette Special Collection XX, in 2004.

 Recently, the car has been seen on the pages of Corvette Enthusiast Magazine and Corvette Fever Magazine but don’t mistake this one for the other Grand Sport that wears the AeroBody, as that car is not blessed with the SNAT 450 engine under its hood.

 For another perspective on the Flock’s Grand Sport, read on:

 When Chevrolet dropped the ZR1 in '96, it was replaced by the Grand Sport, with the LT4's horsepower pumped up to 330. The way to get even more power than the previous ZR1 's LT5 DOHC 350 was to send your Corvette to Callaway for the Supernatural upgrade.

 This was Randy Flock's idea. He and his wife, Judy, first saw the Grand Sport at the Black Hills Corvette Classic in the summer of '95, when some of the engineers, Jim Minneker included, were tooling around South Dakota in the soon‑to‑be‑introduced GS. The Flocks liked the GS look, discovering that the Admiral Blue with white stripes grew on them as I time passed.

 By the following summer, the couple from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, decided they had to have a GS, but where to find one? The cars seemed to be all gobbled up until an area Corvette show turned up a dealer who had a new '96. "Does it have a red interior?" Randy wanted to know. It did. Randy remembered, "On the day we went to look at the car, I said [ to Judy, 'We're just going up there to look.' And she goes, 'No, we're going up there to buy!" They bought the Grand Sport and, in February 1997, sent it to Callaway Cars in nearby Old Lyme, Connecticut, for an infusion of Callaway power. At first, Randy didn't add the aero body, which was an even bigger step. After all, he loved the look of the factory Grand Sport. He also worried about altering the LT4 engine, which was already special in looks, plus its 330 horsepower was already 30 more than the base LT1. Upon first driving the GS after its Callaway conversion, now with 450 horsepower and completely rebuilt from the ground up, the Flocks knew they'd done the right thing. "We came home and it was like a rocket. We were in dreamland there for about a week. Getting on it was like, wow, definitely."

 One good thing leads to another. By the summer of '99, Randy and Judy were back at Callaway Cars, this time for the complete aero body treatment. Randy wondered how the special features of the GS would integrate with the Callaway aero body. For example, where would the Grand Sport top stripe intersect with the four Callaway openings in the front of the hood?   Randy had confidence in Reeves Callaway himself. "I knew from Reeves' work we wouldn't have any problems," Randy told us. "He backs everything he says. Even if it is verbal, he will back it. We were mostly concerned about taking a unique car and making it more unique. We didn't want to go too far and make it too choppy looking. The way it came out was very nice.” 

Installing an aero body is no small task. The whole rear end is removed and replaced, all the way up to the gas cap. The whole front nose is taken off and replaced  The scoops in the lower front fenders are functional and look great too. They exhaust hot air from the engine compartment, which flows out more freely courtesy of those four horizontally spaced openings in the Callaway nose 

Randy tells us his car is the sole Grand Sport Callaway built with the aero body and the Supernatural LT4. He has seen one other Grand Sport with a Callaway body. The owner did the body installation.

 Callaway has built a total of three LT4 SuperNaturals, which are not any more powerful than the LT1s with the same modifications. Callaway Cars had 400 and 435 horsepower SuperNaturals at the start of the '96 model year. Later, the 435 became the 450, which is 450 horsepower whether the starting point is an LT1 or an LT-4. 

Callaway maintained the original look of the Grand Sport engine, which is unique with its red highlights. Callaway increased the specialty look with his autograph on the fuel rail covers. Randy felt no need for suspension upgrades. He appreciated the extra braking of the GS as sufficient and nice to have with the hotter Supernatural LT4. He could have modified the interior with leather and "Callaway signatures all over the place." Instead, the Flocks decided "enough was enough" and are very content with their Callaway SuperNatural 450 Grand Sport. CM.com

 

 © 2006 Callaway Owners Group and their respective authors – all rights reserved.

 Please click on any of the images for a full size version.

 

 

 


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