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Reinventing the Wheel

Reeves Callaway: A Series of Dreams

October 29, 1998|PAUL DEAN

The teenage and adult dreams of Reeves Callaway have never wavered from cars. Racing Super Vees to a national championship. Turbocharging early BMWs. Working under contract with Land Rover of England to squeeze more horsepower from the 4.6HSE Range Rover.

Callaway's main calling, for decades, has been blueprinting Chevrolet Corvettes--or re-engineering an already powerful sports car into a headier performer by simply massaging and refining parts and systems to their maximum capabilities.

(And, yes, you may recognize the name as that of the famous family golf club business, founded by his father, Ely.)

Callaway Corvettes are in collector-car museums. They have raced at Le Mans as factory and private entries. Now, in partnership with IVM Engineering of Munich, Germany, Callaway has evolved the $178,000 Callaway C12. It is a rebodied Corvette with aerodynamic, powertrain, chassis, suspension and handling enhancements creating a 440-horsepower, 200-mph super sports car for endurance racing or city driving.

"My cars are a series of dreams and, as far as I'm concerned, the best one is the latest one," says Callaway, 50, who builds his dreams in Connecticut. "The vision has always been to accept the challenge of making a good car great by giving it character. And vision equals dream.

"At the end of the day, the right formula for me is to obtain something that is already a very good starting point, then refocusing that car down a receding cone leading to a vehicle that truly satisfies me. Even if that does mean starting with the finest piece of machinery you can buy, and discarding most of it."

It is, Callaway knows, an endless vision.

He is already working on a dream beyond the C12.

"It's the C13," he says.

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