Callaway C16 – 2007

There’s nothing much wrong with the Chevy Corvette C6 — except it’s not a Callaway C16. This is the customized C6 that was designed to compete with the Lambo Murcielago, Porsche 911 GT3 . . . not to mention Ferrari F430s and 599 GTBs. Not much to beat there, then.

But the expensive Callaway C16 actually puts a buyer’s money where its mouth is, living up to the corporate slogan (Powerfully Engineered Automobiles) and delivering a truly monumental performance car that looks very different from the Corvette C6 from whence it sprang — only the roof, rear hatch and mirrors are retained from the original.

When the C16 was unveiled, company founder Reeves Callaway proudly announced: ‘The C16 says exactly what we want to say about the capabilities at Callaway Cars — it’s gorgeous, it has class-leading performance and it’s a true daily driver based on one the best sports-car platforms ever made.’

In practice this means a supercharged 6.2 litre V8 fuel-injected engine generating 650 bhp. Sophisticated Callaway/Eibach Multi-Pro coil-over suspension. Speed-sensitive, magnetic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Forged magnesium wheels with carbon-fibre rims, fitted with special tyres.

Six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) caliper brakes with an optional carbon-ceramic alternative. Personal comfort hasn’t been overlooked, either, with a leather interior and fanatical attention to detail that extends to colour-coordinated seat belts.

There are three versions of the Callaway C16 — the standard coupe, a seductive open-top Cabrio and an awesome topless Speedster, a raging (and outrageous) roadster that draws admiring crowds everywhere it goes. Best drive this one wearing the colour-coded crash helmet that’s supplied, just in case — this is a viciously quick car with an open cockpit and miniscule wind deflectors. There are no mirrors on the Speedster, just tiny rear-facing cameras that feed images to the satnav screen.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

USA

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2007

ENGINE:

6.2 l (378 cid) V8

PERFORMANCE:

Manual transmission – top speed of 216 mph (410 km/h);0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.3 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Getting hold of a C16 isn’t a matter of nipping down to the nearest showroom armed with (at least) $180,000 … each car is custom built to order with the buyer deciding on the exact specification from a range of enticing possibilities, which soon crank up the price – the fitted luggage set is $8,800.

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