Hold on tight as we explore the mind-blowing Callaway Exhibit!

Get your heart racing as we look at the National Corvette Museum’s Callaway Exhibit – an extraordinary showcase of revolutionary rides that’ll leave you in awe!

Get your heart racing as we delve into the captivating world of automotive marvels at the National Corvette Museum’s Callaway Exhibit. Brace yourself for an extraordinary showcase of revolutionary rides that’ll leave you in awe! Among the astounding collection is the brainchild of a visionary automotive engineer, Reeves Callaway.

In this blog post, we are looking at the Callaway Exhibit at the National Corvette Museum. Unfortunately, if you didn’t see it yet…you missed it. But no worries, we’ve got you covered. Wayne Ellwood brings us complete coverage of the Callaway exhibit and all the great history involved. This article appeared in the April 2023 issue of Vette Vues Magazine but with the recent passing of Reeves Callaway, we thought we’d share it with you online.

So, Come lose yourself in this automotive wonderland, where history, innovation, and adrenaline converge, promising an experience like no other. The National Corvette Museum’s Callaway Exhibit is a testament to human ingenuity and a celebration of the eternal quest for speed, power, and perfection.

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In this article:

NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM,  PART 1 – CALLAWAY EXHIBIT

Discover the iconic beauty of the National Corvette Museum. Immerse yourself in the history of the stunning Corvettes. Don't miss the hands-on activities and visit the Corvette Store for unique collectibles and apparel.
Discover the iconic beauty of the National Corvette Museum. Immerse yourself in the history of the stunning Corvettes. Don’t miss the hands-on activities and visit the Corvette Store for unique collectibles and apparel. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

By Wayne Ellwood

I heard about the Callaway exhibit being hosted at the National Corvette Museum back in 2022. I knew I wanted to see that. So, the next thing I knew, they announced that the exhibition would close in mid-February this year (2023)… where did the time go? It was time to saddle up.

I learned that this exhibition was something that was initiated by Derek Moore (previous Director of Collections) and Chris Chessnoe (former Callaway Program Manager). As Chris had been such a big part of the Callaway story, his connection with owners was instrumental in pulling it all together. This show would be unique, specially designed to celebrate Callaway’s 35 years of involvement with Corvette. The show would combine Callaway Corvettes from owners and those drawn from the Museum collection.

Many visitors were well-informed on the Callaway’s history. They understood that each new model car was built on the cars that preceded it. CALLAWAY CARS, INC. has built the world’s most powerful and distinctive Corvettes for thirty-five years. Their strength resides in a team of dedicated engineers located in Old Lyme (CT), Temecula (CA), and Leingarten (DEU). The Callaway creed is now, and always has been, “Powerfully Engineered Automobiles.”

Reeves Callaway, founder of Callaway Cars and a legend in the Corvette world
Reeves Callaway, founder of Callaway Cars and a legend in the Corvette world

Reeves Callaway’s early work with the Alfa GTV6 Twin Turbo and some BMWs garnered attention within the Corvette program. After GM’s own single and twin-turbo V6 and V8 projects had run their course, Dave McLellan, then Chief Engineer for Corvette, gave the nod to Callaway, authorizing the development of a prototype. The resulting powertrain option was introduced in June 1986 under Regular Production Option (RPO) B2K. With 345 hp and 465 lb. ft of torque, the Callaway Twin Turbo engine option was engineered to be the ultimate Corvette package, producing tremendous power while retaining its emissions controls and a warranty.

1987 TWIN-TURBO # 001

When Dave McLellan agreed to enter into an agreement with Reeves Callaway to offer an emissions-legal turbocharged Corvette using the factory RPO system and dealer network, it was a lucky day for everyone. Dave could see the benefits for both sides. The 1987 factory production option RPO B2K (alternately known inside Callaway as “Be 2 Much”) offered 345 HP and 465 ft/lb. of torque, emissions legal, and with a factory warranty. In addition, ordering RPO B2K through a dealer triggered a series of events, including special equipment and handling under SEO Z5G. Produced between 1987 and 1991, 510 of these special Corvettes were built in coupe, convertible, and at the close of production, in Speedster form.

Donated by: Mead L. Briggs

1987 Twin-Turbo # 001 Callaway Corvette
1987 Twin-Turbo # 001 Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

1988 TWIN-TURBO 35TH ANNIVERSARY

RPO B2K had succeeded in the marketplace and was continued for 1988. The technical details had been tweaked, and the turbocharged Corvette now offered 382 HP and 562 ft/lb of torque…more power than any Porsche or Ferrari. Other changes for the Callaway B2K included lightweight Callaway/Dymag magnesium wheels as standard equipment. Callaway cars also received factory equipment package SEO Z5G, which includes a longer air dam, power steering cooler, 355 HD brakes, and free flow mufflers. Seven-anniversary model cars were equipped with the RPO B2K, and 125 standard models carried the Callaway twin-turbo option.

On loan from Rene Cardenas & Carolyn McLemose

1988 Twin-Turbo Chevrolet Corvette Callaway 35th Anniversary
1988 Twin-Turbo Chevrolet Corvette Callaway 35th Anniversary. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

1988 CALLAWAY SLEDGEHAMMER

The “aerobody” was designed by Paul Deutschman for the Sledgehammer. The Sledgehammer name derives, of course, from this car’s ability to subdue any and all competitors in overall speed trials, which were so popular in the 80s. The Callaway group developed a 355 ci base engine with a collection of very special components for durability and the latest in Callaway thinking for turbo-charged Corvettes. The engine could be dialed up (or down) to meet any competitive demands. On the upper edge of what could be called “normal” trim, the engine produced 898 HP and 772 ft/lb. of torque. To ensure that the car would have actual “street” cred, the car retained all interior trim, windows, seats, air conditioning, etc. To prove the “street” status of the car, it was driven round-trip from Old-Lyme (CT) to the Transportation Research Center in Ohio, where it set the record of 254.76 MPH, which remained undefeated for several decades.

On loan from Dean Muller

1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer
1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer
1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

1990 TWIN-TURBO AEROBODY

The “Aerobody” was now offered as the next step in the evolution of the B2K model. This car was originally a 1990 6-speed coupe painted red. The Callaway facility in Old Lyme (CT) was fitted with the twin turbochargers offered under RPO B2K and the other associated engine driveline modifications. This package produced 390 HP at 4250 RPM and 570 ft/lb. of torque at 2500 RPM. The car returned to Old Lyme (CT) in 1993 when it was retrofitted with the Callaway Wonderbar and “blister” cooling scoops. At this time, performance increased to 425 HP and 600 ft/lb. of torque, and the Callaway-applied Candy Apple paint was applied.

On loan from Casey Peterson

1990 Twin-Turbo Aerobody Callaway Corvette
1990 Twin-Turbo Aerobody Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
1990 Twin-Turbo Aerobody Callaway Corvette
1990 Twin-Turbo Aerobody Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

1994 LM SUPERNATURALTM

Paul Deutschman designed a stunning new body form for the latest “Le Mans” or LM body shape. The car was designed to take Callaway cars deeper into the competitive field. The SuperNaturalTM engine reflected the need to comply with competitive rules, and the new body form was equally designed to get the most out of the car under competitive conditions. The plan called for a new car to be entered in the 1994 Le Mans event. The team made the grade for that event and returned with a series of LM cars. In 1996 they won the GT2 pole position and the Manufacturer’s World Championship for the GT2 class. Nine LM cars were produced. Five were street cars. The SuperNaturalTM 383 engine for street cars was based on the 2nd Gen small block, and they could draw on a list of other options, including larger brakes, HSD suspension, magnesium wheels, full leather interiors, and more.

On loan from John Kyle II

1994 LM SuperNatural Callaway Corvette
1994 LM SuperNatural Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
1994 LM SuperNatural Callaway Corvette
1994 LM SuperNatural Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

1999 CALLAWAY C12

The introduction of the C5 Corvette offered new opportunities to develop a new platform for both their race program and their street cars. The C12 was developed for racing in Europe’s GT series and, especially at Le Mans. The C12, which was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show, was constructed to a full 2 meters wide. This maximized allowable dimensions while sharing only side glass, mirrors, and roof with the C5. Paul Deutschman again penned the sleek breathtaking panels. This was a landmark car in the evolution of Reeves’ transition to bespoke automobiles. Each Callaway C12 was commissioned by its owner to be unique. No two are the same. Twenty road cars were constructed. The C12.R took its class pole position for the track at the 2001 Le Mans event.

On loan from John Kyle II

1992 Callaway C12 Corvette
1992 Callaway C12 Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
1992 Callaway C12 Corvette
1992 Callaway C12 Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2003 POWER GROUP “DEVELOPMENT CAR”

The ongoing development of the C5 platform led to the development of a “power group” strategy…the bundling of components in a proven path, each elevating the power and performance level and each providing owners with a unique experience. Power Groups 1, 2, and 3 focused on airflow in and out of the engine. Power Group 1 comprised the HonkerTM Airbox system. This brought cool, dense air into a larger throttle body. Next came shorty headers and the signature Double-D exhaust outlets. Finally, owners could access Callaway cylinder heads and camshafts. This car was the Test and Development car for the Power Group Program, including the ultimate power adder, Group 4. This upgrade added a C5.R-based engine assembly with 6.8 liters of displacement. Power climbed to 550 HP.

Donated by Gary Nichols

2003 C5 Z06 Power Group Mule Corvette
2003 C5 Z06 Power Group Mule Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
2003 C5 Z06 Power Group Mule Corvette
2003 C5 Z06 Power Group Mule Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2005 CALLAWAY C16

The 2005 C16 was, in fact, the 16th vehicle in the Callaway list of vehicles. It was built upon the C6 platform and was first shown at the Los Angeles show in the fall of that year. Paul Deutschman designed the new body panels, which replaced nearly all the base Corvette’s panels. The car was sold through a dealer program that Callaway had developed as an outflow of the original turbocharger work. The car took full advantage of an in-house development program for superchargers. The car was originally offered only as a coupe but was followed by a Cabriolet and Speedster version. Each car was ordered (commissioned) by an owner and was optioned to their request. The word “bespoke” was frequently used when referring to the Callaway line-up. Many of the most critical performance components, like the LMGT brakes, were either developed for the “supercar” program and transferred to the race program or, in reverse, could be brought to the street with the stroke of a pen.

On loan from Jim & Laura Nagy

2005 Callaway C16 Corvette
2005 Callaway C16 Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2012 SC, RPO-B2K 25TH CALLAWAY ANNIVERSARY MODEL

The year 2012 represented an anniversary for Callaway. It was their 25th year of working with the Corvette. The decision was taken to ask GM if they could re-use the RPO-B2K nomenclature and apply it to the supercharged Grand Sport model. One pilot car and 25 SC cars were built. All cars were Cyber Gray but could be ordered with either the coupe format with Carbon Flash Metallic roof/halo or a black top in the convertible version. They could be ordered with either the 3LT or 4LT trim levels. Once built, the cars were shipped to Callaway in either Connecticut or California for final assembly. The car featured specific Callaway wheels, suspension, interior trim, and even more power. The 25th Anniversary Edition delivered 620 HP and 555 ft/lb. of torque.

Car donated by Ivan Schrodt.

2012 SC RPO B2K Callaway 25th Anniversary Corvette
2012 SC RPO B2K Callaway 25th Anniversary Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
2012 SC RPO B2K Callaway 25th Anniversary Corvette
2012 SC RPO B2K Callaway 25th Anniversary Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2012 SC606 CALLAWAY CORVETTE

The C6 platform delivered a world-class platform for Callaway to develop several power programs. In this case, the supercharger program got some help when, in 2008, the new LS3 engine was introduced. This boosted horsepower to 580 HP. Then the program really took off with the Grand Sport and Callaway’s new TVS2300 series supercharger. The car now yielded 606 HP and 553 ft/lb. of torque. Callaway SC606 Corvettes could be ordered as coupes or convertibles. This distinguished the Callaway cars, as Chevrolet’s Z06 and ZR-1 could not be ordered in the convertible configuration.

In addition, Callaway also offered several “bespoke” options for the SC606. This car features the chrome-coat supercharger, short throw shifter, Callaway leather/Alcantara/carbon-fiber steering wheel, Callaway/OZ polished rims, Callaway carbon front splitter, rocker extensions, and rear spoiler package.

Owner: Scott Zepp

Callaway Chevrolet Corvette SC606
Callaway Chevrolet Corvette SC606. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
Callaway Chevrolet Corvette SC606
Callaway Chevrolet Corvette SC606. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2016 SC757 Z06 CALLAWAY CORVETTE

For the new C7 platform, Callaway applied everything they had learned about supercharging and applied their new Gen 3 triple-cooled TVS2300 supercharger system. Initially (for the base model), the system delivered 627 HP. But when they replaced the 1740 cc factory supercharger on the Z06, the horsepower increased to 757. Aside from the supercharger having 32% more displacement, the Callaway system featured additional intercooling, which assured consistent performance. While this system protrudes through the hood, it adds to the style and provides cooling airflow over the top of the supercharger housing. Callaway SC757 cars were built on coupes or convertibles with an automatic or manual transmission and were the most powerful C7 available through a dealer.

On loan from Leo Bernier

2016 SC757 Z06 Callaway Corvette
2016 SC757 Z06 Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
2016 SC757 Z06 Callaway Corvette
2016 SC757 Z06 Callaway Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

2022 RPO PCY 35 ANNIVERSARY EDITION

This car was not part of the exhibit, but I picked up a few notes from available press material to round up the story…to the current edition. With the introduction of the C8 Stingray, Callaway was again issued an RPO (PCY) to commemorate the company’s milestone 35th anniversary. Specific Callaway content is included in this anniversary model with Corvette order documents, build sheets, and other paperwork identifying this significant milestone. Only thirty-five of these vehicles were built and sold through authorized Callaway dealers. Regrettably, no car was available for this exhibit.

Press photos courtesy of Callaway.

2022 RPO-PCY 35th Callaway Anniversary Corvette
2022 RPO-PCY 35th Callaway Anniversary Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood
2022 RPO-PCY 35th Callaway Anniversary Corvette
2022 RPO-PCY 35th Callaway Anniversary Corvette. Photo Credit Wayne Ellwood

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Here are some other articles on Callaway you might want to check out:

1991 Corvette Callaway Speedster Brochure

History of the 255-MPH 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer

2007 Callaway C16 Cabrio Debuts at New York Auto Show

2014 Callaway AeroWagon Press Release

Callaway Display at Corvettes at Carlisle 2007

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