August 1, 2007 America doesn’t have a strong tradition of ultra-high end supercars. The Vector WX3, Mosler MT900S, Vision K2 and Cunningham V12 were all fine cars but failed to make a splash in the market, much less create the sort of dynasties the European brands have spawned. Renowned Corvette tuners Callaway are lining up a shot at the title with the upcoming unveiling of their Callaway C16 Speedster, which starts with a Corvette C6 base and basically reworks everything for maximum power, speed, slippery aeros and style. The hardtop and convertible C16s, released earlier in the year, were magnificent beasts, but Callaway has left no panel un-tweaked in the design of the big-brother flagship Speedster. Its hand-made supercharged engine grunts out 700-odd horsepower, enough to take it well over 210 mph – and these sorts of speeds will feel even faster thanks to the topless, twin-screen cockpit. Retailing at just over US$300,000 and custom-tailored to every buyer, the Speedster is nearly three times the price of its lower-spec siblings, and it looks absolutely stunning.
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The made-to-order C16 Speedster represents a pinnacle in American supercar design. The supercharged and intercooled 700 horsepower Callaway exotic produces class leading power, a topless cockpit with twin wind deflectors and extended headrests, exquisite bodywork and race-inspired chassis tuning. Much like its spiritual predecessors, the 1990 Callaway Speedster and 1998 C12 Speedster, the latest C16 Speedster offers a visceral open air driving experience unlike any other.
“This is Callaway Cars’ most exquisite vehicle to date,” said company founder Reeves Callaway. “The C16 Speedster marks our 20th anniversary with Corvette and 30th year in business, and having this statement of our passion for the automobile featured on the concept lawn at Pebble Beach is a high water mark for us.”
The C16 Speedster was penned and modeled by Paul Deutschman, architect of the “Callaway look” and designer of the original 1990 Callaway Speedster. Every body panel has been redesigned to speak to style and aerodynamics, and a hand-tooled German leather interior adds exclusivity. Door sills, the steering wheel and dash area all carry signature Callaway badging. Each Speedster is tailored to the buyer’s specifications, including interior and exterior colors and a personalized build plate.
Underneath the car’s stunning bodywork lies the heart of a racecar. The Callaway supercharged, intercooled, 6.2L all-alloy hand-built powerplant produces 700hp and 660lb-ft of torque, propelling the Speedster from 0 to 60 in an estimated 3.2 seconds. Maximum velocity of the C16 Speedster is over 210 mph.
Overall handling and road feel is transmitted by a newly developed Callaway/Eibach Multi-Pro coil-over suspension system. This joint development effort produced an advanced spring/damper system, featuring 10-position compression and rebound adjustability, allowing the driver to customize settings for specific road conditions.
A unique element the Speedster shares with its C16 siblings – Coupe and Cabrio – are Callaway/Dymag Carbon wheels that weigh approximately 40-percent less than the lightest aluminum wheels, significantly reducing unsprung weight for improved acceleration, cornering and braking. These TUV- and DOT-tested wheels feature forged magnesium spiders surrounded by carbon fiber rims and measure 19” x 10” front and 20” x 13” rear. Residing behind the wheels is a Callaway / StopTech brake system, which utilizes 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers gripping 355mm x 32 mm rotors.
The Callaway C16 Speedster will be available for purchase in the Fall of 2007 and starts at US$305,000. Speedster No.1 of the series will be delivered to its new owner at Pebble Beach. Buyers can choose to have their car constructed in California, Connecticut or German factories.View gallery - 5 images