Remembering Reeves Callaway: A Trailblazer in the Automotive Industry

The Corvette community is mourning the passing of Reeves Callaway, a true legend in the car industry, who passed away at the age of 75.

We are saddened to report the passing of Ely Reeves Callaway III, founder and CEO of Callaway Cars. Reeves was an icon in the world of high-performance automobiles, and his contributions to the industry will be remembered for generations. His passion for speed, performance, and innovation changed the landscape of the automotive world forever. We are deeply saddened by the news of his passing and send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

  • Reeves Callaway founder and CEO of Callaway Cars
  • Reeves Callaway founder and CEO of Callaway Cars
  • Reeves Callaway founder and CEO of Callaway Cars
  • Reeves Callaway founder and CEO of Callaway Cars
  • Reeves Callaway founder and CEO of Callaway Cars

Farewell To A Legend – Reeves Callaway

Reeves Callaway will forever be remembered as a trailblazer in the automotive industry. His passion for high-performance cars and his unwavering determination to push the boundaries of what was possible led to the creation of Callaway Cars, a company that has become synonymous with power, speed, and innovation.

From a young age, Reeves had a deep love for automobiles and a natural talent for engineering. He had an uncanny ability to see the potential in every car he encountered and knew exactly how to unlock its hidden power. This innate gift propelled him to transform ordinary vehicles into extraordinary machines that left enthusiasts and critics alike in awe.

With the founding of Callaway Cars in 1977, Reeves turned his passion into a business. His dedication to creating performance-driven vehicles set the company apart from its competitors and solidified its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Reeves was not just a businessman but also an artist. Each car that rolled out of the Callaway factory was a masterpiece, meticulously crafted and fine-tuned to perfection. His attention to detail was unmatched, and it showed in the exceptional quality and performance of every vehicle bearing the Callaway badge.

Beyond his accomplishments in the automotive world, Reeves was also known for his kindness and generosity. He mentored countless aspiring engineers and always took the time to share his knowledge and experiences with others. He leaves behind a legacy of not only groundbreaking cars but also a community of enthusiasts inspired by his vision.

As we bid farewell to Reeves Callaway, we celebrate his remarkable contributions to the automotive industry and his lasting impact on high-performance cars. His legacy will continue to drive innovation and inspire future generations of car enthusiasts to chase their dreams. Rest in peace, Reeves, and thank you for revolutionizing the world of high-performance cars.

Below is a Press Release from the Callaway Cars

Callaway Cars announce, with deepest sadness, the passing of our Founder and CEO, Ely Reeves Callaway III, on Tuesday, July 11, at his home in Newport Beach, California, from injuries sustained after a fall.

Reeves was a legendary figure in the world of high-performance automobiles. Entirely self-taught, Reeves founded the company in 1977 from his garage in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

His first product success was an aftermarket turbo kit for BMW, which renowned automotive journalist Don Sherman reviewed favorably that year in Car and Driver. The rest was history as Reeves, a Formula Vee champion driver prior to becoming a constructor, moved with his customary speed to open Callaway Cars’ first headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Over the four decades since, Reeves and Callaway Cars have continued to earn top accolades from the media, the automotive industry, and the global motorsports world as a pioneer of “Powerfully Engineered Automobiles”. His unique performance and design innovations have delivered track and road-going successes for global marques, including BMW, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Land Rover, Mazda, and General Motors, who looked to Callaway’s innovation, creativity, agility, and performance to help accomplish their goals. 

Reeves is perhaps best known for his work with Corvette, a deep and high-level relationship with the American sports car manufacturer that began in 1987 and culminated with two industry firsts:  

• The Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette “B2K” designation, a factory code to signify the GM stamp of approval to permit the sale and distribution of the Callaway Corvette via the Chevrolet Dealer network, which, in turn, earned Callaway Cars the rare honor of becoming designated a Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer.

• The second was a world-first record: in 1989, Callaway Cars built a Twin Turbo Corvette, dubbed “The Sledgehammer,” that blew away all the competition by setting a production-car top speed record of 254.76 mph. Not until 2010, 21 years later, did Bugatti break Callaway’s record by achieving 267.85 mph in a Veyron Super Sport. 

In 1994, Reeves launched a Germany-based racing unit, Callaway Competition, with partners Ernst Wöhr and Giovanni Ciccone. International recognition was achieved by their successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and later a European GT racing team which ultimately led to authorization by GM to construct and homologate C6- and C7-generation GT3 race cars for international competition.

Reeves was one of the last and most successful one-man, single-vision practitioners of hyper-performing internal combustion automobiles. It’s a rare-air field that includes the likes of Ettore Bugatti, Ferry Porsche, and Enzo Ferrari, to name a few. 

Reeves’ vision, creativity, and innovation encompassed not only automotive engineering but aviation and aerospace as well with Callaway Carbon, Inc. 

A longtime helicopter pilot and Board Director for Kaman Corporation, Reeves was in recent years a founding adviser to a hydrogen-powered and composite-intensive, blended-wing aircraft start-up with funding from NASA and the Air Force.

“Thanks to Reeves’ visionary entrepreneurial spirit, Callaway Cars will continue to innovate and grow in the 21st century, inspired by his unique, extraordinary vision and by his personal example of integrity, resourcefulness, and leadership as our founder,” says his son Peter Reeves Callaway, the company’s President. “Dad’s passion for making beautifully designed and crafted machines can be seen in each and every project, and we remain devoted to executing to the highest standards in true Callaway fashion. He was rarely found doing anything other than working towards the next milestone for the company. He was a charismatic leader with a sense of humor that we will all remember through various “Reeves-isms.” I feel fortunate to have grown up working with him and the company.” 

Mike Zoner, the Chief Operating Officer of Callaway Cars, remembers him:

“I have had the privilege of working with Reeves and helping him innovate for over 35 years. Reeves always strived to make the finest vehicles and products and then improve them. His support of our customers, partners, and team members was unwavering. We shall carry his vision and mission forward and continue to grow the company he founded and built into innovative future products that he would applaud as we honor his legacy.”

The first son of Ely Reeves Callaway, Jr., the founder of Callaway Golf, and brother of publisher Nicholas Callaway, Reeves proudly epitomized the entrepreneurial Callaway family tradition of making the finest goods that enhance an individual’s enjoyment, performance, and lifestyle.

A true gentleman, he was the devoted father of four and grandfather of two. 

His large circle of friends, colleagues, and admirers around the world will mourn his passing and miss him deeply. 

Further, communiqués from Callaway Cars will be forthcoming.

For inquiries, please e-mail:

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