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Rare Twin Turbo: 1989 Callaway Corvette

This is the sort of collector car I simply don’t expect to see on craigslist. It’s a claimed real-deal Callaway Twin-Turbo Chevrolet Corvette, which is apparently one of just 67 examples made that year. The Callaway was the epitome of 1980s exuberance, with aerodynamic enhancements in addition to the numerous performance modifications. This one appears to be very original, right down to the original wheels, but it’s apparently sitting outside under a car cover. Reeves Callaway didn’t turn out a whole lot of cars, and he occupied that gray area between showroom stock and factory warranted tuner car. When new, it was considered one of the most powerful production sports cars in the world, and now it’s listed here on craigslist for a reasonably $29,000.

It’s funny; now we have Hellcat Dodges making absolutely ridiculous horsepower, the kind of numbers that make a Callaway-tuned Corvette seem laughably ordinary. Of course, at the time, it wasn’t – and the torque rating is still impressive today. The Callaway Vette turned out 382 horsepower and 562 lb.-ft. of torque, all courtesy of the Callaway skunkworks in Connecticut that is responsible for so many of the most celebrated 80s tuner cars. To this day, a Callaway-modified VW GTI or BMW 3-Series in exceptional condition will still command a very fair price despite being an aftermarket-enhanced vehicle; the Callaway pedigree is simply that strong. Why, then, isn’t this twin-turbocharged Corvette listed for more?

The Callaway package got you numerous aero enhancements as well, all designed to suck air over and through the chassis. The “Aerobody” package was a work of art when new, according to Car & Driver: “It’s the handsomest Corvette remake we’ve ever seen. Designed by Ca­nadian Paul Deutschman, it will be molded from GE sheet plastic in produc­tion form and will cost about $6500.” This is in addition to the engine work, which was formidable. The stock engine was stripped down to the bare block and fortified with a four-bolt main, forged crank, stainless steel intake valves, and of course, a pair of water-cooled Rotomaster T04 turbos and matching intercoolers.

So, what gives here? The only obvious detraction for this Corvette is the mileage, which clocks in at 81K. Frankly, I love the fact that this borderline supercar was actually driven as opposed to being left to sit inside for decades with 10,000 miles on the clock. Still, seeing it left outside with a crummy car cover over it doesn’t exactly appeal, either. While its performance capabilities may seem outdated by our current benchmarks, the Callaway Corvette was a gamechanger back in the day and it’s definitely a performance car icon. If I had the room and spare cash, I’d be sorely tempted to buy this as a marquee feature of any 80s car collection. When’s the last time you saw a real-deal Callaway Corvette?


  1. Frank Sumatra

    The mileage is a testament to the Callaway engineering and build quality.

    Like 7
  2. Lynna

    Looks like same shifter in a 1990 geo prism.

    Like 1
  3. Mike

    They took the car cover off on a CL ad. Let that sink in – the cover is all the way off. See, it can be done.

    Like 9
  4. Sam Shive

    The owner might not have a garage. Not everybody does. Glad to see one that’s NOT a trailer queen.

    Like 13
  5. alphasud Member

    Callaway made cars in the 80’s that kids like me drooled over. I remember like it was yesterday reading the Car&Driver write up on the Corvette. In the 80’s we were finally rolling out of the Malaise era and having performance like this was really special. I also remember the GTI and I think a few Sciroccos got the treatment as well. And finally one of Callaway’s creations that was little known was a twin turbo Alfa Romeo GTV6. When I was training at the Alfa training center in Orlando they had a twin turbo Busso on the engine stand that I drooled over that one as well.

    Like 7
    • TimS

      Being a teenager I the 80s had me dreaming of many performance cars of the day. The Callaway Corvette, BBS 928S4 and 959, Lambos and Ferrari. Let’s not forget the Gale Banks twin turbo kit for the Camaro and Firebird. Oh and the Vector W2. Talk about champagne taste on a seagram’s cooler budget. Lol

      Like 7
    • Steve Batch

      I had the pleasure of using the prototype VW Golf as a company driver for about six months. Single turbo kit, no intercooler. Only thing that gave away what it was, were the 8” BBS wheels. Fun car to drive.

      Like 0
  6. Cadmanls Member

    Till the King of the Hill was built these were the big dog of the c4 cars and this one was enjoyed. Bravo!

    Like 10
  7. Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heyday Member

    As a product of the 80’s I remember these were a big deal. None so much as the Callaway Sledgehammer. Untouchable for its time with mind-blowing stats at a time when most American performance cars were in the 200-300 hp range at best. Then theres the Lamborghini Countach that most kids had on their wall of that age group which was carrying 420 hp. The Sledgehammer was knockin on the door of 900 hp, could handle well and had good styling upgrades to boot. I know the C4’s aren’t on everyone’s checklist but these would be worth owning.

    Like 8
    • Frank Sumatra

      And the Sledgehammer was driven from the Old Lyme shop to the Ohio test track where it hit 255 MPH in 1988. And then they drove it back home.

      Like 14
  8. James

    Others beat me but came here to say one word: Sledgehammer. I was an idiot teenager when I first read about that car and it’s still swims around my head to this day as I approach 50 years old. Unf!

    Like 4
  9. James Waterman

    An absolutely amazing find! Good job!!!👍👍👍😀

    Like 0
  10. Melton Mooney

    Wondering why the finance paperwork with the CL add shows it’s an ’87.

    Like 0
    • moosie moosie

      @ Melton Mooney, If you check closer it shows where an ’87 was traded in on this ’89 !

      Like 1
  11. chrlsful

    friend here helped tham develop the turbo (came up from CT to see the prototype, consult). Never thought it would get goin.

    Like 0
  12. RoughDiamond

    I remember these as well and am so tempted to pull the trigger on this beauty. I know nothing about turbos though and imagine they would be very costly to replace. One could have a heck of a lot of fun until they had to be though.

    Like 0
  13. Howie Mueler

    Bragging about the twin turbo, and no engine photos?

    Like 3
  14. Harley Anderson

    Did Jerry Seinfeld buy this for his dad in an episode once ?

    Like 0
    • douglas hunt

      I thought Jerry bought his dad a big cadddy??

      Like 2
  15. Richard Martin

    I am curious to know how these compare with the C4 Z06. The Z06 had the the Lotus designed quad cam engine as compared to these with twin turbos.
    I presume both of them were/are quite desirable if not a trifle expensive at the time.
    Callaway have done some pretty nice things over the years, not the least of which is the C7 Aerowagon.

    Like 0
    • Frank Sumatra

      Perhaps you are thinking about the ZR-1? That had the GM/Lotus designed LT5. 375-405 HP over the 1990-1995 production run. I think the 1990 Callaway had 390 HP and around 500 lb-ft of torque. I also think that you could oprion up your Callaway to whatever HP figure you were willing to pay for.

      Like 0
      • Richard Martin

        You’re right of course Frank – I did mean the ZR1. Not even sure they had a Z06 in the C4s. Thank you for the info.
        It’s all academic for me in Australia as Corvettes are very rare here – the only ones are those that are privately imported – at huge expense as the law requires them to be converted to RHD. Fortunately that’s about to change with the release of the RHD version of the C8.

        Like 1
      • Frank Sumatra

        @Richard- G’day! (Sorry, but I had to) It is my distinct pleasure to inform you that there is an NCRS Aussie Chapter! Check out their website. Some very nice cars are shown, many of them appear to be left-hand drive.

        Like 0
  16. Harley Anderson

    Did Jerry Seinfeld buy this for his dad in an episode?

    Like 0
  17. t-bone BOB

    Located in Boca Raton, FL

    Like 0
  18. Frank Sumatra

    Perhaps you are thinking about the ZR-1? That had the GM/Lotus designed LT5. 375-405 HP over the 1990-1995 production run. I think the 1990 Callaway had 390 HP and around 500 lb-ft of torque. I also think that you could option your Callaway to whatever HP figure you were willing to pay for.

    Like 0
  19. Claudio

    Hi guys
    My corvette life
    A nice you tuber is rebuilding the same car
    Have a look

    Like 1
    • CJinSD

      And the My Corvette Life guy paid $16,500 for his B2K with 30,000 miles.

      Like 0
  20. Steve Batchelder

    The 1990 Callaway had 403hp and right around 600 ft/lbs of torque. That’s with only 10 lbs of boost! Tha non-emission ones were the baddest. We built one for a gentleman in England that made so much boost it blew apart the intake manifold! That car was a beast!

    Like 0
  21. Steve Batchelder

    We also made a twin turbo ZR1.
    De-tuned to 750 hp!

    Like 0

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