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1989 Callaway Speedster Corvette

In 1989 Callaway introduced a Speedster which was culmination of their stytling, engineering and trimming talents. Their first example was a bright green ZR1, which had a severely chopped windscreen, no side mirrors, eighteen inch wheels and a vibrant blue leather interior stitched purposefully from Germany.

Nothing about Callaway’s Speedster was reserved, and this is especially true when investigating the specification. The car had 450 horsepower. This figure was a tremendous amount for 1989, and was one of the most powerful accepted by the American EPA for pollution standards. To create such a car, Callaway had to tackle several problems, and the first was fitting the new twin turbos, complex engine headers and airbox in an already cluttered engine bay.

Adding turbos to the existing GM engine meant Callaway had to develop several new systems. These included new engine mototronics, fuel injection system, and an exhaust system including custom headers and catalytic converters. One of the most complex tasks was redesigning the front crossmember to accommodate an airbox to feed the engine intake. The engines themselves were blueprinted, magnafluxed, fitted with Cosworth pistons and forged cranks alongside NASCAR units at Ed Lanier’s shop.

Beyond turbocharging, Speedsters received a competition suspension with coil overs, adjustable shocks, a Brembo brake package and massive 3 piece Oz racing wheels. At the time, the 17 inch wheels were the largest to fit on a Corvette, and Callaway even had prototype 18 inch wheels fitted to chassis #000. Bridgestone provded run-flat tires, which was an emerging technology, and one that freed the Speedster from they necessary spare wheel.

Outwards the car was styled by Paul Deutschman who made a very unique carbon fiber body having special air inlets and outlets for intercoolers. As a unique feature, twin power bulges met each headrest, and helped divide up the rear section of the Speedster. As a result of the integrated rear section, the Speedster remained permanently topless, a configuration which was suited for the California weather in which this car debuted.

Despite and an initial planned production of 50 examples, only 12 Speedsters were manufactured. The last two were built from the ZR1 and called Super Speedsters with 750 bhp.

1989 Callaway Speedster Corvette Gallery

See the full 1989 Callaway Speedster Corvette Gallery

In Detail

type Professionally Tuned Car
built at Old Lyme, Connecticut, USA
production 10
price $ $ 150,000
predeccesor 1990 Callaway Corvette Super Speedster
engine Twin Turbo V8
aspiration Twin Garrett Rotomaster T04 Turbos
valvetrain OHV 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed Mulitpoint Fuel Injection
displacement 5735 cc / 350.0 in³
bore 101.6 mm / 4.0 in
stroke 88.4 mm / 3.48 in
compression 7.5:1
power 335.6 kw / 450.0 bhp @ 4500 rpm
specific output 78.47 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 281.25 bhp per tonne
torque 831.12 nm / 613 ft lbs @ 3000 rpm
body / frame Composite Boby Panels over Steel Frame
driven wheels RWD w/Limited Slip
front tires 275/40ZR-17
rear tires 275/40ZR-17
front brakes Vented Discs w/ABS
rear brakes Vented Discs w/ABS
front wheels F 43.2 x 24.1 cm / 17.0 x 9.5 in
rear wheels R 43.2 x 24.1 cm / 17 x 9.5 in
steering Rack & Pinion w/Power Assist
f suspension Unequal A-Arms w/Transverse Leaf Springs, Dampers, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Upper & Lower Trailing Arms w/Transverse Leaf Srpings, Dampers, Anti-Roll Bar
curb weight 1600 kg / 3527 lbs
wheelbase 2443 mm / 96.2 in
front track 1514 mm / 59.6 in
rear track 1534 mm / 60.4 in
length 4480 mm / 179.8 in
width 1803 mm / 71 in
height 1041 mm / 41 in
transmission ZF 6-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.68:1, 1.30:1, 1.00:1, 0.75:1, 0.50:1
top speed ~305.8 kph / 190.0 mph
0 – 60 mph ~4.2 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~12.7 seconds