Introduced at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, the C6-based Callaway C16 combines a stunning, fresh look with upgraded suspension components, brakes, and a supercharged, 560hp engine. The base C16 coupe retails for $119,865 (including the car) and retains its five-year/100,000-mile GM warranty.
The show car was also fitted with an optional custom interior and innovative Dymag carbon-fiber/magnesium wheels. These wheels employ state-of-the-art construction, wedding lightweight magnesium centers to a carbon-fiber rim using titanium fasteners. The optional rims weigh a little over 14 pounds each and dramatically reduce the suspension's unsprung weight. Callaway also offers a 616hp engine upgrade, which purportedly produces 3.3-second 0-60 times and a 206-mph top speed.
Mechanical attributes aside, the most amazing part of this story is how Callaway designed, built, and delivered the car to the L.A. Auto Show in a little over five months. It all began with a planning meeting at the company's headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut, in October of 2004. The meeting's purpose was to map out the modifications that would be made to the upcoming Carlisle/Callaway C6 project car (featured in VETTE in a six-part series).
Designer Paul Deutschman, a longtime Callaway collaborator, spent considerable time running his hands over the new C6. As he did so, he outlined a number of changes he hoped to make to the latest-generation Corvette body. Company founder Reeves Callaway initially wanted Paul to design new front and rear fascias for the project car. The team eventually decided against this approach, however, and the body-modification part of the project was tabled.
Flash forward to the summer of 2006, when Reeves called Paul to commission the design of an entirely new body for the C6. His chief requirement was that the panels bolt onto the stock C6 without chassis modifications. Paul put pen to paper and-using his '04 C6 analysis as a foundation-quickly completed the stunning new C16 design concept.
Reeves and the rest of the Callaway staff were impressed with Deutschman's ideas and gave the designer the green light to present the concept in 1/12-scale clay. It was now August, and Reeves wanted to debut the car in late November. It seemed like an impossible objective. However, being a small engineering company, Callaway was free to use innovative construction technology in order to meet the goal. The project would have two teams, one in Old Lyme and the second in Deutschman's hometown of Montreal, Canada.
Montreal and its environs are home to many specialty manufacturing facilities. This resource is exactly what the project needed in order to meet its deadlines. Paul was responsible for the design and oversaw the construction of the C16's body panels. Callaway was responsible for acquiring a base C6, stripping its interior, and incorporating suspension, brake, and engine upgrades. A black '07 six-speed coupe was purchased in early September, and the Old Lyme crew began their mechanical transformation.
Meanwhile in Montreal, Paul began working with CAD designer Francois Couillard. Francois scanned Paul's clay model into his software, and together they fine-tuned the design. Simultaneously, Old Lyme fed precise body-panel CAD data and attachment measurements to the pair. Armed with this information, Francois and Paul made individual computer files-including bolt locations and final shape-for each body panel. These included the hood, rear-hatch buttresses, rocker panels, door panels, and front and rear fenders and fascias. The completed CAD panel files were sent to local manufacturers, who loaded them into CNC machines to produce the molds from which the C16 body panels would be manufactured.
The Callaway-modified C6 was shipped to Montreal on October 25 to have its old body panels removed and the new ones installed. By November 17, panel work was completed, and the car was ready for paint. At this point, the project's pace accelerated considerably. On November 19, Garage East End applied the car's House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl Orange paint with silver accents. The optional Deutschleder mahogany leather-and-suede interior was installed just two days later. The completed car was then photographed in Montreal on Thanksgiving Day and shipped to Old Lyme for final adjustments.
The car arrived in Los Angeles on Monday, November 27. Its Dymag wheels and Yokohama tires were installed, more photos were taken, and the C16 was finally delivered to the Los Angeles Convention Center later that day. The rest, as they say, is history. Record crowds attended, and throughout the event, people crowded around the Callaway exhibit to admire the company's latest creation. For the project's principals, it was a fitting capstone to an improbable feat of design and engineering.
For more information on the C16, including how to order your own, visit www.callawaycars.com