(Interview) Article from the perspective of Reeves Callaway, on the subject of Callaway Cars

Discussion of Corvette based Callaway Cars including: (B2K) Callaway Twin Turbo Corvettes (C4); Callaway SuperNatural Corvettes (CL-1/CR-1); Callaway C12; Supercharged Corvettes; Callaway C16; 6th Generation Callaway Corvettes (SC560, SC580, SC606, SC616, SC620, SC652); and 7th Generation Callaway Corvettes (SC627/SC757) - and more!
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(Interview) Article from the perspective of Reeves Callaway, on the subject of Callaway Cars

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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. Saturday, October 31, 2020
Vintage Car Research LLC
Newsletter November, 2020
Reeves Callaway, Paul Deutschman and the 254.76 MPH Corvette “Sledgehammer”
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Vintage Car Research LLC
Research first, then decide. Saturday, October 31, 2020
You would not buy real estate without a title search. You would not buy an expensive painting without its provenance. Should you buy a vintage car without provenance and a title search?
Volume 4, Issue 9 November, 2020
1. Reeves Callaway interview.
2. Exporting Cultural Property, an example. Exporting a car from Canada, do you need a permit? Here is the Canadian process.
3. Why authenticity matters.
4. Gonzalo da Silva Pinto vs. Brian Austin Green and the 1955 Porsche Speedster.
5. A Tour on the Trace by Rebecca Evans.
6. Cartoon by Zoë
7. Advertise with the Newsletter.
On the cover.
Reeves Callaway, Paul
Deutschman and the 254.76 MPH Callaway “Sledgehammer” Corvette
Cover: 1988 Callaway “SledgeHammer” Corvette and 254.76 MPH
It's hard to believe that over 32 years ago on October 26, 1988, a heavily modified, but streetable C4 Corvette set a speed record with an extraordinary 254.76 mph run. Reeves Callaway and his team smashed the record books with a street-driven twin-turbo 1988 Corvette nicknamed “ Project Sledgehammer.” After setting the speed record the car was then driven from the Transportation Research Center in Ohio, back to Old Lyme, Connecticut.
The Sledgehammer Corvette on the cover of this month’s Vintage Car Research Newsletter was a modified version of a production 1988 Callaway Corvette, RPO (Regular Production Order) B2K. The Sledgehammer looks like a C4 with an attractive body that certainly achieved the the low drag necessary to achieve such high speed.
Plans for the Sledgehammer began after a modified Callaway Twin- Turbo won the Car & Driver "Gathering of the Eagles" top-speed event in 1987. Reeves Callaway drove it to a top-speed of 231 mph. This Corvette was certainly fast but Callaway thought it could go even faster with development. Corvette Chief Engineer Dave McClellan joked with Reeves saying, “ If the Mercedes AMG is der Hammer, then this Corvette ist der SledgeHammer!" The name stuck and Reeves and his team focused on developing the car to make it less race car and more true road car with all the amenities. Callaway’s calculation said it was possible to build a streetable 250 mph GT.
Engine development was a joint effort between Callaway and John Lingenfelter. The men are friends and compatriots in pursuit of well engineered speed. The result was more than 900 bhp, depending on manifold pressure. Several famous hot rod aftermarket parts companies were tapped to supply go faster parts. The 349.8ci, four-bolt-main Chevy Bow Tie block featured a cross- drilled nitrided crankshaft, Crower rods, Jesel roller rockers and stud girdle, Crane roller lifters, a mild Cam Techniques camshaft, a set of Brodix heads were O-ringed and a Barnes 10-quart dry-sump oil system was used. Compression was a low 7.5:1 from Cosworth pistons.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
Massive air/air intercoolers were mounted behind the front fascia, and the turbos were nestled alongside the engine block. Callaway made stainless-steel manifolds were connected to huge twin Turbonetics T04B-Series turbos (adjustable to 22 psi) exiting through SuperTrapp mufflers.
The suspension planning was by Carroll Smith and optimized for high-speed stability. Modifications were made to the interior for safety. Finally, a body design to cancel lift and reduce drag was supplied by Paul Deutschman to keep the car stable and sure footed at 250 miles per hour.
On October 19, 1988, the team drove the car to the Transportation Research Center in Ohio. Once on the 7.5- mile track, speed tests were conducted in 10 mph increments. On October 26, 1988 with John Lingenfelter driving, the Sledgehammer lived up to its name, blasting through the timers at 254.76 mph. When the celebrations ended the team packed up, and the Sledgehammer was driven, not trailered, back to Callaway headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut!
Below you’ll find this month’s interview, Reeves Callaway.
1. What ignited the spark in you to start Callaway Cars? How did the idea for your business come about? What was the tipping point?
Imagine, if you will, a 25-year-old kid whose BA was in Fine Art, devoted to race car driving, design, and construction who had reached the finish line of a short but accomplished journey down the road to becoming a World Champion. I was the factory driver for Autodynamics, America’s largest producer of racing cars. I had just won the National Championship in Formula V. That means I was dead broke.
I had avoided the draft, gotten more than an Ivy League education at Amherst, but was passionate about beautifully done fabrication, and in fact all of the manual arts, and especially the science behind increasing engine power. I was angry that there was no curriculum for me to become expert at what I loved: Making beautiful engine systems. I owned no house, and the house we were living in had no garage. So it was the perfect opportunity to ‘make the tool, to make the tool’ to enact an old fabricator’s dilemma. But I need to back up first...
As an out-of-work race car driver, I really needed a job. Bob Bondurant was just starting his school and needed instructors. The condition for hiring was pretty straightforward. The instructors needed to be able to control a car, being driven at high-speed, by a car dealer, and control that car from the right seat in case the driver ran out of talent. Additionally, instructors needed to be able to speak to after-dinner audiences.
The other instructors were David Hobbs, Sam Posey ( see the Genuine Article link) , Nick Craw, and Jim Busby. A very cool experience traveling the continent to racetrack after racetrack demonstrating the potential of the BMW 320 I. I was an OK instructor, but the competition for the best story after dinner was of a different league. Hobbs and Posey were admirable speakers.
At the conclusion of the assignment I asked John Mitchell at BMW if I could borrow one of the school cars for an experiment in turbocharging. He bravely agreed and I took the car home to the house in Connecticut that had no garage. Construction of the garage started immediately.
I fabricated a rudimentary turbocharger system for the 320i. Fortunately the German engineering provided enough headroom so that the substantial increase in horsepower was possible with reliability. Of course there was also 'Sunoco 260' available at the pumps...a great salvation for turbocharged automobiles.
I think the stock 320 I made about 100 hp, ( ...on a good day, downhill, with a tailwind.) In turbocharged form it was making a pretty easy 175. So the car was actually a ball to drive. In those days Car and Driver magazine was in New York City. About 70 miles away. I had recently applied for a job there, and had been turned down! Their official excuse was that I was “overqualified”.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
So I called Don Sherman there and offered him the car for as long as he cared to drive it. He returned it in one piece, and a one pager appeared in the back of the magazine in 1977. The article made it seem like Reeves was ready to supply the world with BMW turbocharger systems. The truth was I was still shopping for an adequate drill press! But the great thing was that I could take every skill I learned in the preceding 10 years of race car building and apply it to the road car. It was such great pleasure to make beautiful castings, layouts, welding perfectly, finishing the tubing correctly and adding supplementary fuel control system. I had my friends in the neighborhood come over to work, and the five or six of us cleared the floors on Thursdays and packed all the boxes for Fridays shipment. They all went UPS, COD, to people who are willing to boost their BMW in a very DIY fashion.
No Billing, No Receivables, No warranty...Just a shoebox full of cash. We had the makings of a business!
2. Years ago (1977?) you were a young man trying to create a business that really wasn’t as prevalent then as today. You were a trailblazer. How did you get people (banks, investors, customers) to believe in you? Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
Running a business out of the garage, and doing it all in cash, meant that the financial controls were pretty easy. There was a shoebox of cash. There was a record ledger. And the only strategy was to incur no debt, and have no outstanding accounts receivable. Wow. Those were the days! Every shipment was by UPS COD. No car left the shop without being paid for. And there was no need for a bookkeeper. Periodically I would check and see how much cash was in the shoebox. If only that could have lasted.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
The problem is that ambition gets in the way. Farsightedness created a vision of more and more machinery, with more and more room, and more and more folks turning the handles of Bridgeports. But I was averse to debt. And I held out as long as I could. Eventually I had to raise money via loans from friends and family. But only after a lot of the risk was gone. But I never sold any stock. Never brought on any early partners.
Today things are more regular. We carry a normal amount of debt. I am just in the middle of our first capital raise in 40 years and fortunately we have a good name and a good track record behind us. It makes the fundraising a lot easier.
3. How did you decide on the location for your business?
I must admit that I never really wanted anything more than just a nice workshop. In fact, I loved my existence in the garage at home. But realistically, if you’re going to manufacture something you need a decent amount of square footage. We were so far out of town that getting three-phase electricity was a problem. I called the the power company and, after the interview, they told me “Mr. Callaway, if you were going to build a public school out there, we still wouldn’t run three phase power...“ That’s when we started to generate our own three phase with a rudimentary phase converter that jumped off the wall every time the lathe started. It was clearly time to move. Besides, the septic tank was bubbling out of the ground and the fridge couldn’t hold the lunch bags.... We should have moved to California at that moment.
4. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Our best customer is the original equipment automobile manufacturer, worldwide. We have worked for almost everyone in the business: Aston Martin to Volkswagen. We sell them engineering services. And the ability to quickly bring product to the annualized production of specialized automobiles. Sometimes our name is prominent, as in the Callaway Range Rovers, or the Callaway Corvette. Also the MazdaSpeed Callaway turbocharged Protégés that we built in concert with Mazda. We made some 6000 cars for Mazda in 2003. For some clients the Callaway involvement is quiet. That’s OK. It's their choice. (Industry joke: Do you know how to pronounce Daimler-Chrysler? Answer: the Chrysler is silent.)
But the question is how to market your business. I have found that the best marketing is to rely on past successes. Frankly in this business you are only as good as your last movie. Let me give you a good example. When Alfa Romeo found it self in a tough position competing with the Maserati Biturbo, we were hired to design and build a twin turbo system for the Alfa Romeo GTV6 and get it to market place in less than a year, having it meet all Alfa durability requirements, and emission compliance. That's a good big job. We did it, and the car was frankly much better than we thought it was going to be. It was a ball to drive. It sounded great. And it stayed in one piece. But just as we were starting to crank up production, Alfa North America closed all stores and went back to Italy. And yet our whole company was dependent on this project. We had produced 35 well reviewed cars and now we were twiddling our thumbs. What to do? takes on an existential undertone.
As it turns out, and this is fate, one of the Alfas, unbeknownst to us, wound up in the General Motors evaluation review of their competitive set. GM bought one of the cars on the open market and in their evaluation it was a dead ringer, performance -wise, for a 1986 Corvette. I got a surprise phone call from Dave McLellan, chief engineer for the Corvette, (and I might add one of the best and brightest engineers I have worked with). He was impressed that a little 2.5 L TwinTurbo, V6, front engined, rear transaxle, sport sedan was such a high-performance car and that we had been responsible for supplying the power and the emission end of the equation. He asked if we would be interested in producing a few TwinTurbo versions of the Corvette... I believe that is the call that you wait for in this business. And it's a good example of being judged "by your last movie”.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020 5. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Thinking about this quickly and initially: I remember several. Certainly one was the day that we moved into a brand spanking new, sparkling clean 10,000 square-foot workshop in the industrial section of Old Lyme. ...We were occupant No. 2 of the Zone.... Here is the first video we made in the new building: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=VaUDeHjNjTs&t=31s
I had told the architect that I wanted a building that looked like a Sony clock/radio. I think he did a great job.
There was huge satisfaction, accompanied by a big dollop of terror, when we were on the starting line at Le Mans in 2004. Carroll Shelby came up to me right before the race, you know the ceremonial part, and said to me, “Reeves, I just wanted to tell you that I hope you have the best race of your life...I was so flattered...followed by, “Can you help me with some golf clubs?“
The creation of the first complete Callaway car - the Callaway C7, 1996.
The creation of the first complete Callaway engine. The Callaway HH V8 Indy engine.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
6. Can you name your greatest inspiration?
There is a list of equals. Ely Callaway, My father.A wise and caring man, who let all us children seek that path that let us find or passion. My brother Nicholas, and one of the most accomplished, artful and admirable publishers of modern books with clients such as Madonna, The Vatican, The Beatles. Victor Gauntlet, The Chairman of Aston Martin. Peter Livanos its farsighted owner in the late 80’s Dave McLellan, Zora Duntov. My maternal grandfather, Herbert Wiler. Dan and Evi Gurney, God Parents to my youngest kids. But all of this will take some more explanation.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
7. You have many long term employees. How do you find people motivated enough to bring into Callaway Cars
that truly care about the business and the products the way you do?
I must admit that it’s down to luck and timing. In New England it is not too difficult to find talented folks who love the craft of making something as well as it can be made. And that attitude is contagious in the small workspace. Pardon the expression and the analogy. The men and women who have worked at Callaway managed or required a work environment in which I seldom had to ask someone to do a better job. It’s really self- motivated. That’s why I say luck and timing.
8. What advice would you give to recently graduated college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Yikes. Do you know the worst vice?... Advice.
However, here goes: All you need to do is find your passion. Bring that to the table and you’ll be all right. Most entrepreneurs that I know don’t seek recognition as much as the satisfaction of a job well done.
9. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
See above
10. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I would say few to none are categorized as sacrifices. Perhaps better is that putting 100% of your attention into your particular pursuit will by necessity make it impossible to do everything else in your life that you may have planned. Get over it.
11. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would certainly have more carefully analyzed the world changing events developing right before my eyes. Computing. The Internet. Apple. Amazon. SpaceX and Tesla. And I would have trusted my instincts well enough to have gotten on board the train.
12. Care to mention any failures and what you learned from them?
Here’s where the list gets really long....But as Arian Reynard, the brilliantly accomplished race car designer said: Failures are the building blocks of Experience.
13. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
I am not good at the long-haul unless things are going quickly and well. I tend to move on because the next challenge is so captivating in the present difficulties tend to be annoying.
14. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Somewhere between 10 and 15 hours a day... but its not work!
15. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It is clear that the central element in my life is work. But what do you call work if it’s not really work. If your work is your opportunity to make the stuff that you dream about, then as we all know, you are very lucky. I have been fortunate to have had three very understanding wives. And they produced magnificent children. I can certainly understand why a work first mentality would have been an indicator of rank.
16. What motivates you?
Simply the opportunity to make something very beautiful.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
17. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
My greatest fear is that our democracy will fail to purge dangerous characters.
18. So, the work day is done, now what? What are your hobbies?
My secret habit has been to be the best helicopter pilot I could be. It has been a lifelong pursuit and I can report that my greatest sense of adventure has been to explore the world as a helicopter pilot. Dean Kamen taught me to fly. I cannot underscore strongly enough the pleasure of a circumnavigation of the North American continent, two times, as the pilot of my helicopter, with the family in back like a Winnebago and the unfounded realization that this continent is a deep and perpetual example of the magnificent riches of America. Several times during those journeys, I was overwhelmed
19. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
SpaceX
20. If you were interviewing Reeves Callaway, what one question would you ask?
I think you've done that, Jeff
Some interesting Callaway links below:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI-g8TTriVI&lis ... W&index=26
Google: Callaway Engineering 1983 Development Indy 500 Racing Engine from a Clean Sheet of Paper
www.callawaycars.com/25thanniversaryedition
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
Reeves and his dog, Alice upper right. Dan Gurney lower left. “Pilots Who Lunch” friends.
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Vintage Car Research LLC Research first, then decide. October 31, 2020
Callaway 25th Anniversary Edition Commemorating 25 years of Callaway Competition accomplishments
2020 marks Callaway Competition’s 25th year of operation. Headquartered in Leingarten Germany, Callaway Competition has constructed some of the most successful GT3 race cars in history. They’ve competed in numerous forms of international GT racing, collecting countless wins and podium finishes. Currently, Callaway Competition is recognized as “the most successful race team” of the ADAC GT Masters series, campaigning a Callaway Corvette against European GT3 sports cars. To commemorate Callaway Competition’s milestone, Callaway is preparing twenty-five specially-equipped “25th Anniversary Edition” Callaway Corvette SC757s.
A competition-oriented “Champion Package” is also offered as an option. It includes Callaway’s TrakPak, a selection of performance components and chassis setup derived from Callaway’s racetrack experience. In addition, several “Competition Options” (shown below) are available with or without the Champion Package.
For more information, see Callaway’s 25th Anniversary Edition website page: https://www.callawaycars.com/25thanniversaryedition
TEMECULA CALIFORNIA • LEINGARTEN GERMANY • OLD LYME CONNECTICUT 866 927 9400 toll free callawaycars.com
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1988Callaway#16
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Re: (Interview) Article from the perspective of Reeves Callaway, on the subject of Callaway Cars

Post by 1988Callaway#16 »

Thanks for posting this! :cool

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