Indy pace-car Corvettes have always garnered collector status and incited plenty of production-number crunching. So, here are a few stats to file away on the '08 edition:
*500 were built-234 coupes and 266 convertibles
* 25 were built for the European market
* 21 were built for the Canadian market
* 5 were built for the Mid-East market
The last 44 built were convertibles with Black tops, as opposed to the earlier Titanium-topped 'verts (the switch was reportedly made because Chevy ran out of Titanium tops).
The above statistics come from the C6 Registry (www.c6registry.com), but these factory-supplied figures don't show the number of pace cars converted to Callaway Corvette specifications, including the 580hp supercharged LS3 engine.
That number would be three. Well, maybe four. Sort of.
That's right, future collectors, only three Callaway Corvettes were built as '08 pace-car replicas-two convertibles and one coupe-and, coincidently, all of them were channeled through the same dealership: Cauley Chevrolet in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield. (Callaway tells us a fourth '08 pacer was converted earlier this year, but all of the special markings were stripped off at the owner's request, leaving only three with the true pace-car appearance.)
One of the earliest dealers for the exclusive Callaway cars, Cauley also has the distinction of being one of the Connecticut-based tuner's best-selling outlets (see sidebar). How the store came to possess the only pace cars built last year by Callaway is more the result of serendipity than of careful strategy, but it may prove historical in the long run.
"We talked with [Callaway] about a car or two to build for '08, and the pace car came up as an idea," says dealer Jeff Cauley. "So, at their suggestion, we built the coupe with an automatic transmission. We also did a convertible six-speed, and it sold right away. Then another customer wanted one, so we did another pace-car convertible with a manual transmission."
All three Callaway pace cars are legitimate one-of-one examples. Along with the single automatic car, each of the convertibles is equipped with a different-color top: one Titanium, and the other Black.
"The automatic car was a little different than what the average Callaway customer specifies, but it works very well," says Cauley. "The car is very fast, and the transmission shifts quickly and firmly."
With 75 more horses than a Z06, it's no surprise to learn the Callaway-modified pace car is quick. Although Callaway Corvettes no longer carry a Chevrolet order code, they're still available through a select number of dealers (25 in the U.S. and one-Toronto-area Wilson Niblett Chevrolet-in Canada), and the build process is essentially the same as the company's original C4-based Twin Turbo models.
In a nutshell, that means the cars are shipped to Callaway's Old Lyme, Connecticut, facility for conversion and delivered to the dealership as new vehicles. They carry a warranty and 50-state emissions compliance.
The basic package these days includes a Callaway-badged, Eaton-based MagnaCharger Roots blower system. It's fed by 53-lb/hr injectors and features a polished blower case, along with an air-to-liquid charge-cooling system. The setup makes about 7 pounds of boost, bumping the 6.2-liter LS3 engine's output to the aforementioned 580 horses and 510 lb-ft of torque. The latest version of the MagnaCharger compressor features Eaton's gen-six design, which is similar to the ZR1's blower in that it uses four-lobe rotors and tighter tolerances to broaden the effective range of the supercharger. That means more power at lower and higher rpm, the areas that are typically starved of boost.