Pebble Beach Week 2007: Callaway Speedster flashes into town

click above image for many high-res shots of the Callaway C16 Speedster

Twenty years ago, GM asked Reeves Callaway to infuse the Corvette with his particular brand of genius. The result was the most powerful production car ever sold in America. Twenty years later, the results are still coming, and this is the latest: the Callaway C16 Speedster, third in the C16 family introduced this year, joining the coupe and the cabriolet. For a large automaker to launch a car with three variants, in one year, is an achievement. For Callaway to do so, as a specialist producer, is nothing short of spectacular. Fittingly, the Speedster could be the most spectacular version yet. Click Read to get the full story, and check out the gallery to see hi-res images of the new Callaway C16 Speedster as well as the first Callaway Speedster made in 1990. Do you remember it on the cover of Motor Trend like it was yesterday? We do. Warning, though: it's still very green.

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The Speedster marks a great combination of immense power, concept car novelty, production car beauty, and high tech. A supercharged, 700 hp, 6.2-liter alloy V8 gets the car to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Specially developed, driver-alterable 10-position springs help keep the Michelin Pilots on the road.

The windshield's been ditched entirely for two fairings, and the trunk lid secures two Stand 21 racing helmets behind the seats for when the wind -- or bugs -- becomes a problem. To get behind those fairings, you move your hand over the DSpot, a magnetic field just behind the doors, the doors pop open, and you drop into chairs that put the "bucket" in bucket seats. Reeves said you only had to move your hand over the DSpot and break the magnetic field to get the doors open. Some other folks, and the press release, say you actually have to lay your hand on the car. We hope Reeves is right -- we can't imagine the owners of a $300,000 vehicle being okay with just anyone laying their greasy mitts on the paint.

StopTech brakes, newly developed ceramic affairs, are 6-pot up front and 4 in back, on massive rotors. They hide behind magnesium and carbon fiber wheels that are nothing short of gorgeous.

Instead of rear view and side mirrors there are three cameras, two in the side vents and one in the rear. We didn't get to see it in operation, but the Infiniti EX has the same sort of set up (though it also has mirrors). We expect that during slow maneuvers the console screen shows the three views, but what kind of side view you get during on the highway is a good question. Though with no pillars or roof, a quick flick of the head might be all you need.

There was even a first generation Speedster there from 1990, and the lineage is obvious, since Callaway's Corvettes have only ever had one designer, Paul Deutschman. We wanted to know why the car was green, and Callaway said that it was one of twelve and they wanted to get attention. They got the eyeballs, but Callaway said that they discovered green is very difficult to photographs, so good prints of the car are thin on the ground.

The Speedster's top speed is 210 mph. Callaway's Sledgehammer, which went 254.7 mph way back in 1988 and had a Bose stereo and air conditioning, did 254.7. When we asked Callaway why he thinks no one has gone faster than that, including his own cars, he replied: "It's hard and it's expensive. Goodyear spent close to a million bucks coming up with a tire could handle it." He said they weren't trying to set a record, they simply wanted to see how fast the car would go. According to their math, the car would do 252 mph, but when it was pressed they actually got to 254.7. "So we screwed up somewhere. But you don't want to break your own record. We'll let someone else break it first and then see."

When we asked him what does he think people should know about Callaway, he said "We're the best." Any other answer would have been surprising. "We've been doing this for thirty years, we've done our homework, and we know our" ... stuff. Indeed.

The Callaway C16 Speedster press release and specs:


Flagship Model in C16 Line Defines High-Speed Motoring in its Purest, Most Exclusive Form: The Made-to-Order Supercar Features Unrivaled Styling and a 700HP Hand-Built Powerplant

OLD LYME, CONNECTICUT (July 23, 2007) – Callaway Cars today announced it will unveil the C16 Speedster, the third and flagship model in the C16 lineup, on the concept lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, August 18, 2007.

The supercharged and intercooled 700-horsepower Callaway V8 produces class-leading power. A topless cockpit with twin wind deflectors and extended headrests, exquisite bodywork, and race-inspired chassis tuning, the made-to-order C16 Speedster represents a pinnacle in American supercar design. Much like its spiritual predecessors, the 1990 Callaway Twin Turbo 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 Twin Turbo Speedster. Every body panel has been designed to speak to style and function, and a hand-tooled German leather interior adds exclusivity. Door sills, steering wheel, and dash area carry signature Callaway badging. Each C16 Speedster is tailored to the owner's taste for interior and exterior color and displays a numbered build plate. Matching fitted luggage by Schedoni is made from the same skins as the interior, and are marked with the Speedster's VIN.

For high-speed driving, helmets are incorporated as part of the body design. A pair of matching, color coordinated, full coverage, carbon fiber, Formula One "Ivos" helmets by Stand 21 are captured by the rear deck bodywork and effectively built into the Speedster's extended headrests. Moderate-speed cruising uses the twin built-in wind deflectors, but the innovative Stand 21 helmets are always available for more spirited motoring.

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 supplemental coil-over suspension. This co-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. 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. Debuting behind the wheels is the new Callaway / StopTech carbon ceramic brake system, which utilizes 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers gripping 355mm x 32 mm carbon rotors. The total weight savings from the combination of carbon/magnesium wheels and carbon ceramic brakes is 20 pounds per corner, 80 pounds total. This extraordinary weight reduction benefits the dynamics of road wheel compliance and lowered rotational inertia as well as decreasing the mass of the vehicle.

Another unique feature of the Callaway C16 automobiles is the electronic door release system, the DSpot. The Callaway C16s have no external door handles, resulting in very clean design lines. Instead, the door opening is triggered by a Callaway development, the DSpot – an area of the bodywork that is touch sensitive. Touching the DSpot pops the door open. The DSpot feature is automatically operational when the key fob is within 1 meter of the automobile.

The Speedster replaces traditional rearview mirrors with a 3 camera, closed-circuit system that displays its images on the Panasonic Strada navigation unit.

The Callaway C16 Speedster is priced at $305,000 USD, inclusive of all options, and is orderable now. Delivery is three months from commission. Speedster No.1 of the series is sold and will be delivered to its new owner at the Pebble Beach debut, August 18 on the Concept Lawn.

The Callaway C16 Speedster is built at Callaway facilities in California, Connecticut, and Germany and is available for purchase exclusively through Callaway Cars' authorized dealer network. Callaway C16 components are also available individually for 2005 - 2007 Corvettes through Callaway authorized retailers and installers. For additional information on Callaway Cars, its automobiles and dealer locations, call 860-434-9002 or visit


Callaway C16 Speedster Technical Data

Engine: 6.2 liter (378 in.3) V8, 90°, cast aluminum block and heads;
Horsepower: 700 bhp @ 6,200 rpm (SAE)
Torque: 660 lb-ft @ 4,750 rpm (SAE)
Redline: 6,500 rpm
Supercharger: Eaton/Magnuson Roots-style; with integral air/liquid intercooler

Drive Train
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic with paddle shift
Front and rear: Forged aluminum, unequal length, upper and lower control arms. Callaway/Eibach Multi-Pro coil-over suspension with double adjustable dampers external reservoir with 10-position compression control; companion helper and tender springs supplementing composite leaf springs; front and rear Callaway anti-roll bars, tubular steel
Front: 19 x 10 Callaway/Dymag forged magnesium/carbon fiber rims 285/30ZR19 Michelin Pilot Sport II
Rear: 20 x 13 Callaway/Dymag forged magnesium/carbon fiber rims 345/25ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport II
Front/rear: Callaway/StopTech Carbon Ceramic
6-piston (front) and 4-piston (rear) calipers with 380 x 32 mm rotors (front & rear)
Wheelbase: 105.7 inches
Track, front: 62.1 inches
rear: 61.7 inches
Height: 40.1 inches
Length: 174.6 inches
Width: 74.6 inches
Curb weight: 3,150 pounds
Fuel capacity: 18 gallons

Fuel Economy
City/Highway: 18/28 (manual transmission); 17/27 (automatic transmission)
Vehicle/Powertrain: 5-year/100,000 mile warranty
Top speed 210 mph
0-60 3.2 sec
Quarter mile 10.97 @ 128
Lateral G 1.05

MSRP $305,000

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