The number of companies involved in tuning in the United States is simply huge. Historically, American cars had a huge resource, which, with some efforts, turned into a sports potential. Some started the business with the experience gained in their own garage, others, starting later, initially regarded this as a profession. However, few have achieved real success. And Callaway Cars can rightly be attributed to true professionals, as this is the only third-party tuner whose package of improvements can be ordered from a Chevrolet dealer in the United States.
The company’s founder, Reeves Calloway, was a fairly successful young race car driver in the early 70s, but the fuel crisis in 1973 brought the entire American auto industry to its knees and nearly killed such a popular motor sport. Reeves, despite his prospects and victories in the national championships, lost all sponsors and did not have the financial ability to chase further. To remain involved in motorsport, he got a job as an instructor in a sports driving school. There, he taught at the wheel of a BMW 320i and asked one of the machines from the creator of the school "for experiments", drove to his garage and set to work.
A graduate of a prestigious college did not use ready-made solutions of American customization and chose a fundamentally new approach. To add power to a German subcompact (and by American standards this is a subcompact), Calloway made a turbine in his garage, prepared the engine for its installation, and then gave a friend who worked in a well-known automobile magazine a ride on a car. He wrote an article about how much the character of this car has changed, and also reported that Calloway will soon begin supplying custom-made BMW accessories, although at that time Reeves did not even think about it. The article received a stormy response and Reeves was literally forced to start mass production of turbo kits in his garage. Then he began to refine other European cars: Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Callaway Cars Inc was founded in 1977. The set of improvements usually included not only parts related to the engine, but also suspension parts and more effective brakes.
The first turbo kit, manufactured on an industrial scale, was developed independently, but was produced on the side. Unable to pay for the release, Reeves Calloway agreed with the manufacturer that the first two years the sets would be released under the brand name of the contractor.
The next time Callaway Cars attracted the attention of the press, improving the Alfa Romeo GTV6. It accelerated to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, and to 100 mph in 24.3. With two turbines from Callaway, the same car accelerated to 60 in 5.5 and to 100 in 12 seconds!
But all this was pampering before the real thing. Since 1987, at 30 dealerships in the United States, it has become possible to order a Callaway twinturbo kit for Corvette, while fully maintaining the factory warranty. This is the only case in history when the options offered were not Chevrolet's own production. Right from the assembly line, the brand-new Corvette went to Callaway headquarters to install a tuning kit, and then transferred to a car dealership, where customers were already waiting for them.
While the standard Corvette C4 had just 240 horsepower, the turbocharged Callaway boasted 345 horses. The factory maximum speed of 240 km / h and 0-100 km / h in 6 seconds, the revised version contrasted 286 km / h and a hundred in 5.2 seconds. Of course, the Callaway package was quite expensive - $ 50,000 versus $ 28,000 for the base Corvette. However, with such characteristics that the Callaway turbo set gave, Corvette could compete with titans such as Lamborghini and Ferrari on equal terms, and the price tags on them ranged between 100 and 200 thousand dollars. In the last, 1990th year of the release of the Callaway modification, it was already delivering 403 hp. against the standard 250. As in other cars, Callaway Cars were not limited only to an increase in power. Brakes, suspension and aerodynamics were brought to mind.
But special attention should be paid to the modification of SledgeHammer Corvette (Sledgehammer). This car was released in 1988 with only one purpose: to set the record for the fastest road car, breaking the mark of 250 mph (402 km / h). The engine here is hand-assembled, two huge turbines and giant intercoolers. The manufacturer stated that the power is 898 hp and a torque of 1,047 N / m. When he managed to accelerate to 410 km / h, thereby setting a record, it became clear that Callaway did not exaggerate the data. In addition, Reeves Calloway claims that the race took place at a minimum boost. And, it should be noted, it was not cramps, driving exclusively in a straight line, but a full-fledged car for the city, with a Corvette serial interior, which means air conditioning, power windows, electric seats and a Bose stereo system.
Although Callaway Cars stopped delivering charged Corvette for sale through dealerships in 1990, it did not stop tuning them. Since 1992, the Corvette in the back of the C4 in the basic version begins to be produced with a more advanced and efficient LT1 engine. He gave out 300 hp. For many years, this motor was considered the standard among Russian American breeders. A 405 hp LT5 engine was installed on a more evil modification of the ZR-1.
Callaway Cars regarded such changes as excellent tuning potential. This time they moved away from the usual turbocharging, now they achieved the increase in power with a stroker, the engine volume increased from 5.7 liters to 6.3. Due to the fact that the power was able to "extract" without boost, in a natural way, the car was called Callaway SuperNatural Corvette. Of course, the inlet-outlet, the exhaust system changed, the electronics were reconfigured, more powerful brakes, coilovers were installed, the appearance changed, many details could be replaced when ordering a car. In different years, the power of the SuperNatural Corvette, built on the basis of the LT1 motor, ranged from 400 to 450 hp, and with LT4 they managed to remove 490 hp.
In 1994, Reeves Calloway woke up racing ambition, which is quite natural, he sold real supercars, for which the race is the best advertisement. He swung his nose at Le Mans no less. The car looked like a door Corvette only. In the GT2 class, SuperNatural LM took first place in the qualification, tearing it out from cars like the Honda NSX GT2, Lotus Esprit S300, Alpine A610 Turbo, Ferrari 348 LM and Porsche 993 RSR / Turbo. In the race, the car was in the lead 142 laps, but got off - right on the track ran out of fuel. In 1995, already 3 cars were brought to Le Mans, and again SuperNatural turned out to be the first in qualification in its class and even faster than some rivals from high schools.
In the race, all three cars held 1-2-3 places, but, unfortunately, the leader could not dodge a car from another class that could not cope with the control and left. Honda NSX went ahead, but the result is very decent for such a modest team. For homologation SuperNatural LM were released and road versions.
In parallel with the successes in the GT2 category, Reeves Calloway decided that he was ready to compete with more serious competitors in the GT1 class, where the heat was given by the Porsche 911 GT1, McLaren F1 GTR, Lister Storm GTS, Ferrari F40 GTE, Chrysler Viper GTS-R and Nissan Skyline GT-R LM. These were conditionally-serial cars, where a certain serial car was taken as the basis, and then it could be modified as rigidly as possible, turning in fact into a sports prototype. Development began in 1993.
Callaway Cars decided to argue with the strongest manufacturers of serial sports cars, besides cynically ignoring their many years of experience and creating not a mid-engined car, but a front-wheel one, the only one in this class. Conditionally, it was a Chevrolet Corvette, however, in fact, the car was completely developed by Callaway Cars and was named C7R. The engine from SuperNatural was taken as the basis, from which, thanks to the supercharger, 650 hp were removed, which was the maximum power in its class. The body, suspension and electronics were developed independently.
Two cars were brought to Le Mans, a racing one and a spare one. But already at the qualification, they failed miserably, driving even slower than SuperNatural LM. Having significantly reworked the dynamics and carefully prepared the car, the team decided to practice in the 24-hour race at Daytona. He qualified ninth, but then confidently took the lead. After 12 hours, due to problems with the electronics, the C7R left the race. And then another blow - the FIA reviewed the rules and Callaway completely lost the chance to get to Le Mans.
1993 was generally a very fruitful year for the company. Then launched the release of SuperNatural Camaro. There is also an LT1 stroker up to 6.3 and 412 hp, as well as a redone suspension, brakes and a changed appearance. True, only 18 such cars saw the light.
Supernatural fans will appreciate the next car, the Callaway SuperNatural Impala SS. The scheme is still the same: instead of the factory LT1, which produced 260 hp on the Impala SS, there is a stroker up to 6.3 liters and 404 hp, up to a hundred it goes not 7.2 seconds, but 6.1. Numerous modifications led to a rise in price of the car twice.
In 1996, Callaway lost ground. Literally. GM, Callaway Motors, as well as Malibu Boats have teamed up to create the fastest boat under the fastest brand. She received a 400-horsepower engine from Callaway, a design from Corvette and accelerated to 105 km / h. 150 boats in three years were bought exclusively by the owners of the same car, usually ordering a boat of the same color with the car.
Of course, with the release of the 5th generation Corvette in 1997, Callaway Motors added concerns, it was necessary to present its version. The car was originally developed to replace the Le Mansovsky SuperNatural LM, as a result, 20 road cars saw the light. They worked much more with appearance than on all previous models, only doors remained from Corvette, all other body parts are individual.
The first 4 years of production, the C5 was offered only with a 350-horsepower LS1 engine, since 2001, the Z06 version with an LS6 engine has already produced 404 hp. Callaway was initially offered with a 440-horsepower engine and mechanics. To a hundred such a car accelerated in 4.4 seconds and showed a maximum speed of more than 300 km / h, while the Z06 is officially able to accelerate to hundreds faster - in 4.2 seconds, but it can only accelerate to 275 km / h. For Callaway you would have to pay from $ 140,000 instead of $ 40,000 for a regular Corvette. Now these cars are a welcome exhibit for a private collection.
The release of the 6th generation Corvette at the end of 2005 was a long-awaited event for both model lovers and the Callaway workshop. Of course, they had something to add. In stock, the Corvette 6.0-liter LS2 produced 400 hp, which allowed it to accelerate to 300 km / h and overcome a hundred in 4.4 seconds. Callaway engineers were able to remove 450 hp from the same engine, then 461 and 490 naturally aspirated. And that means more than 320 km / h and a hundred in less than 3.9 seconds.
In the Z06 version, the Corvette was already pretty good. It installed the largest small block (excuse the pun) LS7, a volume of 7.0 liters, giving out 505 hp The most powerful aspirator in GM history. In addition to the standard, for Americans, power increase, a lot of work was done to reduce weight and many other solutions from the world of racing cars were applied. Its maximum speed was 318 km / h, and acceleration to hundreds took 3.9 seconds, but much depended on the driver - it could be half a second slower, or 0.2 faster. Atmospheric Corvette Z06 modified in Callaway developed a power of 550 hp.
And then the superchargers went into action. From the 6.0-liter engine, they first removed 560 hp, then 580, 606, and 616 hp. Callaway's LS7 with supercharger delivered all 652 hp. To hundreds, this accelerates in about 3.5 seconds, and its maximum speed is about 340 km / h. As with past Corvettes, not only the engine was finalized, but the entire car was integrated. You could buy such Callaway at several Chevrolet dealerships. The car was provided with a warranty of 3 years and 25,000 miles. The body this time practically did not “suffer” and escaped with only minor touches indicating tuning.
Of particular note is the Callaway C16 model, which also served as the base for the Corvette C6, but it doesn’t look much like it, especially if it's a speedster version. The LS3 engine with supercharger delivers 650 hp. for coupe and convertible bodies, and 700 hp for speedster. This model was made only to order, for the first time in the history of the company. She was given a guarantee of 5 years and 50,000 miles.
The success of Callaway on the "citizen", was continued on racing tracks. In 2007, the company's racing division prepared three cars for the FIA GT3 European Ring Championship. In the course of the racing season for private teams, another 10 cars were built to order. In the 2007 Design Cup, the Callaway team received the main award. To describe and list the subsequent triumphs on racing tracks around the world, dozens of pages are needed. It is worth mentioning that cars, modified by a private team with enviable regularity for about 10 years, have been taking away prestigious titles from under the nose of factory teams Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Ford GT, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. At the moment, GM does not independently prepare Corvette to participate in circuit races, but orders them from Callaway and some other companies.
After success with the fairly expensive Corvette, Callaway once again turned its attention to the muscle car segment. From 2009 to today, you can buy a modified Camaro. They modify only the most evil versions: SS and ZL1, and they do it the same with the help of superchargers. 455-strong Super Sport becomes 630 strong, leaves the hundred for 3.9, instead of 4.3. The upgraded version will cost an additional $ 17,000. The 650-strong stock Camaro ZL1 will remain far behind if it decides to compete with the 750-strong Callaway. Up to a hundred, it accelerates faster by 0.2 (3.4 seconds). The cost of a tuning package on ZL1 is the same as on SS. You say that the potential of these cars is much higher? Yes, but at the same time Callaway Camaro are suitable for daily use, and also do not fly off the warranty.
Since 2011, Callaway has turned its attention to America’s most popular cars: trucks and huge SUVs, of course, the GM concern. With the help of superchargers, the power of 5.3 liter engines rises from 355 to 480 hp. These engines can be found on Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, as well as Suburban and Tahoe, and their more packaged relatives from GMC - Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL. With a 6.2 motor in the states, you can purchase the top version of Silverado, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade, with a power of 420 hp. Not bad, but Callaway brings power up to 560 hp. They are also finalizing the largest gasoline Silverado 2500HD, removing from it instead of 360 hp. already 490 hp
But, of course, Callaway was most pleased with the release of the new Corvette C7. The base model was taken with a 6.2-liter LT1 engine. In stock, it produces 460 hp, but with a supercharger it is already 627 hp. This is slightly smaller than the Corvette Z06 (650 hp), but the guys from Callaway got to it, having already removed 757 horses with their supercharger. To accelerate to a hundred, he needs less than 3.0 seconds, and he passes 1/4 of a mile like a dragster - only 10.5 seconds.
In the 2019 model year, all Corvette fans expect the release of the most charged version of the ZR1. This is 745 bhp. (already smaller than that of Callaway), the characteristics have not yet been disclosed, only the price is known - $ 120,000, while the exactly equal Callaway will cost about $ 100,000. Of course, you should wait until the engineers get to the ZR1 - probably the result of their witchcraft will wipe the nose of many European supercars.
Of course, the designers of the company could not help but surprise. The C7 came out pretty beautiful, and Callaway did not make big changes to it. First. And then with one small element they completely transformed the appearance of the sports car: They made a station wagon out of a coupe!
Of course, many cars modified Callaway can make a complaint about the appearance, although today they are much more restrained. We can say that the potential of GM cars is not fully realized, but Callaway is essentially a court tuner of the concern, offering their favorite new cars from a car dealership and with a guarantee, but more productive, to the sophisticated and solvent public. And it seems to me, for reasonably reasonable money.