Introduced to the press at Riverside International Raceway in late 1982, the long-awaited fourth-generation Corvette was stylish, sophisticated, worldly – and unlike any Corvette ever before.
But the excitement didn’t last. Though the 1984 model racked up the second highest build in Corvette history (thanks to a 1.5-year long run), its 51,547 production soon dropped to 39,729 for 1985 and then to 35,109 for 1986. The 350-cubic-inch, tuned-port-injection engines were just not cutting it, and with the four-cam, 32-valve ZR-1 stuck in the developmental pipeline, the Corvette’s relatively low sales compared to other GM models made the company hesitant to further invest in improving the breed.
Unfortunate as the situation was for Corvette, it played out beautifully for Callaway Cars in Old Lyme, Connecticut, which had already been creating high-performance turbocharger packages for different manufacturers. GM became a believer too, after purchasing one of Callaway’s twin-turbo Alfa Romeo GTV6s and discovering that it ran rings around a standard Corvette.
A meeting quickly ensued, and just a few months later, Chevrolet announced a new Corvette option for 1987. Regular Production Option (RPO) B2K specified a 350-cubic inch Corvette V8, with breathing enhanced by a pair of small turbochargers. Even more notably though, it marked the first externally supplied Corvette high-performance package available through participating Chevrolet dealers and covered by a full GM warranty. Times were changing in the competitive arena, and fast.
The Callaway Twin Turbo’s power rating began at 345 hp in 1987 and then grew to 382 horsepower with an astounding 560 lb-ft. of torque for 1989. To handle this massive output, a Callaway-modified GM Turbo 400 automatic replaced the Corvette’s standard 700R4 automatic transmission. The carefully engineered swap included the addition of a Laycock de Normanville-type overdrive unit, as well as integration with the Corvette’s Delco Powertrain Control Module. Despite this trickery, however, only 10 Callaway Corvettes were equipped with the automatic option in 1989, thanks largely to the new availability of the widely heralded ZF six-speed manual transmission.
The finished product was impressive to say the least, with 0–60 times in the mid four-second range, quarter-mile elapsed times in the 12-second range, and top-speed potential approaching 180 mph. Best of all, while these extremely limited-production Corvettes offered supercar-type performance, they were also surprisingly easy to maintain, with everyday drivability.
This particular 1989 Callaway Corvette has accumulated only 1,055 miles, and it has been owned by discriminating collectors since new. The Bright Red exterior and matching interior are truly stunning and befitting a car with its performance capabilities. Exclusivity is guaranteed, with this car being one of only 69 Callaway Corvettes built in 1989, as well as one of the few equipped with the available automatic transmission. It also includes a rare matching hardtop, as well as other desirable Corvette options. In excellent overall condition, this well-preserved Callaway continues to run and drive as new.