The Callaway C16 is born
By Luis Suau
Everyone has moments in their lives that they will cherish and remember, particularly when those moments happen to be related to their hobbies or interests.
For me, this week was more than that; I took part in an event that I believe will be historic in the annals of American Automotive History. I just took part in the
worldwide debut of the Callaway C16 Corvette Supercar at the LA Auto Show. Supercar? Though I have yet to hear anyone else refer to it as that, I honestly
believe that it will soon be considered as such when the automotive media has a chance to digest what they just got a glimpse of and they start writing their
It is no secret that I have been a fan of the creations that Callaway Cars has made since they have been involved with Corvette. Coincidentally, this year
happens to mark the 20th anniversary of their involvement with Corvette. And after some time away from "serious" involvement, they are back in big... really big.
At Corvettes at Carlisle this summer, Reeves Callaway shared a rendering with fellow Callaway Corvette owners what the front "might" look like in order to get
feedback. He also mentioned that though they would be in a squeeze to make it, they had planned to debut the new car at the LA Auto Show, one of the premier
Auto shows in the US. The rendering looked fantastic and all the feedback was more than positive.
From the rendering, the power modifications that Callaway had been able to achieve from the LS2 engine, and in combination with their new alliance with Jerry
Magnuson's famed superchargers, I had a deep feeling that this car was going to be special. My only doubts though: What could Callaway do with the rear end
of the Corvette which to me is big, bulky, flat, and uninteresting (and I have disliked it since the C5)? And would the price be out of reach?
So I decided to use my previous photographic expertise to obtain a Media pass in order to get a sneak peak during the Press Days at the LA Auto Show. I also
called up Reeves and volunteered to help with the setup should they need additional help as a back up plan should I not be able to get a Press Pass. As it turned
out, he accepted the offer AND the show accepted my credentials - I was set.
Fast forward to the day before the show. After flying to LA from Ft. Lauderdale (via Chicago - thanks United) and after picking up the most uncomfortable of rental
cars I headed to the convention center. Let me start by saying that Callaway's booth was in very good company. They were located next to Lamborghini, Lotus,
and Spyker; and across from Bentley and Ferrari. Get my drift on the Supercar comment? Read on...
Orange. Hot glowing Florida style Tangerine/Orange Juice Orange. That is the new hot car color. And most everyone is using it.... The Saleen S7, Giugiaro Mustang,
Koenigsegg. And this Callaway C16 is hot, very hot, painted in Tangelo Orange Pearlescent. It glows. The C16 body is superbly styled by longtime designer and
Callaway ally Paul Deutschman. As pictured in the rendering that I saw this summer, the finished product looks like it has cues of the Callaway C12 as well as its
brother, the Callaway C8 CamAerobody Camaro.
The front grill is very cleanly cut stainless steel. The subtle bulge in the hood neatly covers the supercharger. Though one gets the impression that it is a shaker
style hood, it is all one piece. A gentle fine line outlines the bulge to give it the appearance of it being two pieces, which is painted in a very nice, complementary
pearl gray. The lights are the original Corvette lights, yet the longer shaped lens cover which resembles that of the C12 gives the car an elegant look.
The body is wider to incorporate the Z06 base car option and the doors gently taper in to give the car beautiful soft curves. To create a soft sweep to the rear of
the car, flying buttresses on either side of the rear glass were added. Did anyone say Ferrari? :-) The finishing touch on this fine work of functional art, Callaway
has done the rear that way it should be, tapered back rather than the cut off look of the base C6 Corvette.
So just what is a Callaway C16? Well, yes it starts out as a base Corvette C6, any C6, even a Z06 if you so desire. Convertible, Targa Top, or Coupe. All the body
panels are removed and replaced with Callaway's own, that is all but the roof. The glass and side mirrors are retained. The car is fitted with Callaway's own panels
and painted to any color you choose from the "House of Kolor” palette.
The engine is then supercharged with their 560 HP/529 lb-ft torque package, which is warranted to match the GM 5yr, 100K Mile warranty. The car is then badged to
complete its documentation as a Callaway C16. Priced at $119,865 (includes the base C6 coupe) and built at their facilities in Old Lyme, Ct; Leingarten, Germany;
or their new facility in Southern California.
Options, Options, Options.
There are always options. And this car has them. Boy does it have them. And that is one of the best features of the Callaway C16 in that Callaway has gone back
to what was a very successful aspect of the Twin Turbo days with the combination of power, design, and flexibility of options available to enhance every aspect of
First stop, power. Yes, when 560 HP is not enough, upgrade. Callaway has a power option, which brings up the power to a phenomenal 616 HP/585 lb-ft torque.
To quote Callaway Cars, “Impressive power with perfect road manners." The package includes Callaway CNC heads, camshaft, heads, valvetrain, clutch and flywheel
(manual transmission only). This package performs an astonishing acceleration of 0-60 MPH in 3.3 seconds, Top Speed of 206 MPH, and 1/4 mile trap time of 10.9
seconds at 128 MPH.
Marginally faster than the Ferrari 559 at 1/2 the price, now that is Supercar power.
Want better than the standard GM interior? After all you are commissioning a Supercar. You can of course upgrade. Callaway is offering a premium grade German
leather "Deutschleder" interior, combining premium leather and leading Italian fine leather trim Alcantara, to cover all interior panels. The finished product is a superior
stitched leather and suede look, in a variety of colors for luxury, esthetics, and durability inside to match those outside the car.
And if you have all this power AND intend to push it to the limits at some point, how do you keep yourself steady in your seat? Well Callaway offers a Competition
Sport seat and harness package of matched leather and suede to "keep you in place for spirited driving." Got to have nice wheels, Hot Wheels? Well the Callaway
team has an upgrade to make the car sizzle. They have partnered with UK's Dymag to offer something really special, a 20" x 13" carbon fiber outer rim wheel with
magnesium center spokes. The whole wheel weighs a very light 14 lbs. Wrapped in custom Yokohama 345/30zr20 tires.
And to stop all that power get the optional 15" vented rotor, 6 piston front, 4 piston rear, Alcon based Callaway big brake option to give you track grade braking power
on or off the track. Finally, add the Callaway/Eibach Multi-Pro coil-over suspension package which compliments the Corvette leaf spring suspension and includes t
ubular stabilizer bars.
Still doubt that this is a Supercar? Based of the media reaction and the crowds at the 2006 LA Auto Show, I think that we will soon be hearing and seeing much more
about this superbly styled and powerfully engineered supercar based on an already very powerful Chevrolet Corvette. Orders are already being taken and people are
lining up. Contact www.callawaycars.com for additional information.
So four days later, here I am on my way home and back to work after having participated in the world-wide debut of the Callaway C16, an experience that not only will
I cherish, but a car that I am sure to be reading much more about. With the 20th anniversary of the Callaway Corvette, Callaway has once again made automotive history.
Enjoy the pictures.
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