Callaway Corvette - Canadian review

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Callaway Corvette - Canadian review

Postby Unsprung » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:32 am

This is a review of one of the turnkey upgrades offered by Callaway Cars for the C6 Corvette.

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Road test: Callaway Corvette
Posted: February 12, 2009, 4:00 PM by Patty C.

Though I’ve driven a lot of fast cars, not many are like the Callaway Corvette. The howl of its supercharger winding up was like a siren’s song to summon all my foolish blood. The short-throw, six-speed manual shifter made me feel like Zeus with my hand on a thunderbolt. Cruising in fourth on the highway at about 80 kilometres an hour, I blipped the throttle and snicked into third, generating a primal scream from the 580-horsepower, 6.2-litre behemoth under the bulging hood as the revs surged but stayed out of the red. I pushed down hard on the accelerator and the Chevy rocketed ahead like a mythic chariot pulled by a team of winged stallions.

It is only behind the wheel of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis that I have felt such power. But this was just a regular run-of-the-mill Chevrolet Corvette with performance modifications.

Of course, it’s significant that the company doing the modifications is best known for its 650-hp, US$170,470 Callaway C16 supercar that’s built on Corvette architecture. It’s also significant that the Callaway Corvette is a car I could realistically own. All I need is a new or used Corvette and — for US$18,900 — Callaway will turn it into a fire-breathing, 580-hp monster with a gobsmacking 510 pound-feet of torque that’s capable of blasting from zero to 96 km/h in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 330 km/h. Whoa, Nellie!

A police car pulled up right after my test drive. I thought I was in trouble, big trouble, but Officer Peters only wanted to talk about the car. He now plans to order the Callaway package for his own Corvette. You see, it’s fine to dream about owning an exotic supercar such as a Ferrari, but the dream turns into a plan when you can actually fit it into your budget.

The price of a base Corvette Coupe is US$65,205 — even when adding the US$18,900 Callaway Corvette package, it comes out close to US$85,000. That’s less than the 505-hp, Corvette Z06 that retails for US$93,775 and much less than the 638-hp ZR1 with the sky-high US$126,605 ticket.

The price can be dropped more if you add the Callaway Package to a Corvette you already own or to one picked up used. Callaway says it can modify any Corvette — coupe, convertible, automatic or manual — that is a 2006 model year or newer. Also, because the Callaway Corvette package is sold at Chevrolet dealers, that’s where it’s serviced (this includes Canada). That means supercar performance without supercar mechanic charges.

There are no Chevrolet dealerships in Canada currently selling the Callaway Corvette, but Canadian customers can order the package from their closest U.S. dealer, and their 580-hp Callaway Corvette can be picked up or delivered to their door. Callaway is actively working to establish a network of Canadian dealers and hopes to have the first in place by spring.

Like any vehicle, the Callaway Corvette can get plenty pricey when options are added. The vehicle I drove was well equipped, including a short-throw shifter (US$480), decorative aluminum horizontal slats around the exhaust (distinguishing and cool for US$790), fibreglass sport seats (US$7,440), aluminum wheels (US$3,260), a performance suspension system (US$5,760) and Le Mans performance brake package (US$7,240). That’s a heady US$24,970 in options.

Now, with the exception of the exhaust slats, each one of those items adds to the performance and feel of the car. The Callaway mechanicals are so precise I could feel everything happening in the car and truly felt a part of it, like I had supercharged bionic limbs. It’s a fine feeling, but it sure is costly.

By far the most economical option is adding the package to a low-mileage, used Vette. One is still getting a load of stuff for US$18,900, including the 580-hp, 6.2L supercharged engine, a “honker” high-flow intake system, Callaway exhaust system with “Double-D” pipes, Callaway-branded floor mats, door panels, dash plaque and exterior badges and the Callaway C16 hood with its massive, telltale, colour-contrasted bulge in the centre.

Once installed, it will be obvious you’re driving something different — to others on the road and definitely to yourself. Just make sure you move over when Officer Peters drives up from behind.

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Postby Panther » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:59 am

outa our price range but heaps

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Postby australi » Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:21 am

NICE car, but yeah; probably NOT one many will buy as their daily driver! :P

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Postby Unsprung » Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:14 am

You can see similar Callaway cars and others built by Callaway over the years at the following slide show.

I took a tour of their headquarters in the state of Connecticut, about two hours north of New York City. These days, however, the founder, Reeves Callaway, and his son run the company from their location in Southern California.

Incidentally, although the prices quoted in the Canadian article, above, are in USD, they are all about 25% higher than normal. Perhaps this is a reflection of their cost to the Canadian consumer. I don't know the answer.

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