The Callaway C16 Speedster is here!
August 20, 2007 - Luis Suau
As the owner of a 1991 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette (CTTC), throughout the year I have been participating in the 20th anniversary celebration of Callaway Cars’ continued ability to create Powerfully Engineered Corvettes. Being the 2nd owner of a CTTC (acquired in 2001), I have wondered how it must have been back during the hey-day of the C4 era when the Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette was all of the fuss, to have witnessed first-hand its introduction and the incremental developments that followed leading up the their highly celebrated CTTC Speedsters. Back then I was fresh out of college, beginning my career, and focused on many other things but Corvettes as they were out of my financial reach. Fast forward 20 years, this time I am privileged to find myself in the middle of it all, to witness the birth of the spirit, heart, and body of new Callaway Corvette with the introduction of the Callaway C16 line of cars.
But how times have changed. In one year, Callaway has repeated the efforts that originally took some 5 years to accomplish and put them on the map of the Automotive world, this time with the C6 Corvette. In less than 1 year, "Callaway Cars has managed to launch not 1 but 3 cars, which for a small car company is somewhat of a feat," says Reeves Callaway. This stirred memories from Corvettes at Carlisle 2006 when Reeves first shared a rendering of his idea in order to gauge the reaction of the small group of CTTC owners. I was amazed with the rendering as it was reminiscent of the C12 along with cues of the C8 CamAerobody sprinkled in.
His plan was aggressive. From rendering to initial production in just 3 short months, the goal was to debut the Callaway C16 Coupe at the 2006 LA Auto Show; and what an event that was. With the first of the Callaway C16's introduced to the world class press and status of the LA Auto Show, I was proud to be present and be one of the first to get a glimpse. A complete combination of massive power, great styling, and a variety of options, the Callaway C16 quickly became the focus of nearly every Automotive print and online publication.
With the first orders coming in for the C16 as well as C6 stock body supercharged Corvettes, Callaway did not stop there. Spring was the time that the Callaway C16 Cabrio was introduced at the New York Auto Show. And a few weeks later when I heard of a possible debut of a Callaway C16 Speedster at the Pebble Beach Concourse D'Elegance. I quickly made plans to be there in person. And what an appropriate venue it would be for this most significant Callaway C16. The most influential of American Automotive event was the backdrop, and the C16 was the star.
Unlike earlier Callaway Speedsters which have shortened glass, this version has no side or rear windows whatsoever, and the front windshield (and wiper assemblies) are completely removed to provide its owner the traditional Speedster experience of early-era goggle wearing racers. Both Driver and Passenger have small wind deflectors in place and there are ultra-light, carbon-fiber Formula1 type helmets manufactured by their partner Stand21, neatly tucked in the rear deck lid enclosures for "spirited driving" opportunities. Up front, the center bulge tunnel conceals the supercharger while flowing smoothly and seamlessly into the center of the dashboard, neatly accented by the stitching of the Callaway Deutschleder interior trim.
With its sleek and elegant look, one often overlooked item on this Speedster are mirrors. That's right, look again. You don't see any rear or side mirrors. One of the cleverest features of this car is the integrated cameras in the side gills and the rear diffuser panel. The standard GM Navigation unit is replaced with one that when a button is pressed, up pops a 4 window partition. One partition is for each of the side "mirror" cameras, one is for the rear-view "mirror" camera, and the other displays a Callaway Cars Logo. A very unique and pleasing way to deal with the mirrors, which will not detract from, the sleek look of the car.
Other standard features of the C16 Speedster which is are optional on the C16 Coupe and Cabrio are the Carbon Fiber/Magnesium Spoke, Dymag Wheels, Callaway Competition Brake Package featuring mammoth 15 in rotors and 6 caliper brake system, and the track ready 10 position, independently adjustable suspension system. Inside the car, standard features include the Competition Seats as well as the Deutschleder finely stitched Leather and Alcantara interior tailored to your choice of color.
Overall, Callaway Cars has made a fine statement of styling and power with the Speedster version of the C16. Its debut was highly welcomed among a crowd of spectators on the Concept Lawn at Pebble Beach. This car was presented to its owner at this event and he was very proud of the resulting car that he received. I was very fortunate to have been able to witness the finishing touches as they went on, to be able to tag along for the early morning photo-shoot, and the final presentation event, which followed. There is no doubt that this will be another legendary milestone of fine and powerfully engineered automotive history.
Enjoy the pictures and video clips!
C16 Video Clips:
Please click on the images below for the full size image.
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