Published December 20, 2013
| Road & Track
If you wanted to go faster than everyone else in 1988, then Callaway had a Corvette for you. The company called it the Sledgehammer, and it would set your mullet on fire.
While the fourth-generation Corvette remains the least lusted-after iteration of Chevrolet's fiberglass-bodied big V8 formula, Callaway offered solutions to the '80s Vette's woeful performance. The company's solution for horsepower dilution came mostly in the form of turbo kits, suspension upgrades, and aero kits. The engineering showcase for was the Callaway Sledgehammer.
With over 898 hp and 772 lb-ft of torque available courtesy of two Turbonetics TO4B turbochargers, the Callaway Sledgehammer was able to reach 254.76 mph with John Lingenfelter behind the wheel. This was in 1988, when Rick Astley was killing the pop music charts and Saint Bugatti wasn't yet a twinkle in Volkswagen's eye.
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The Callaway Sledgehammer remains a technological marvel to this day both for its record run and its packaging. The aerodynamics of the standard Corvette were modified by Paul Deutschman to maximize airflow, reduce lift, and increase cooling to the massive intercoolers tucked neatly ahead of the Sledgehammer's custom V8. Lifting the clamshell hood reveals a NASCAR-spec GM block, running Mahle pistons, forged connecting rods, and Brodix aluminum heads.
Suspension tuning was carried out by Carroll Smith, who went so far as to relocate the lower control arms for increased high-speed stability. Despite the drastic modifications, the Callaway retained the factory leather interior, air conditioning, and sound systems, making it a docile highway cruiser capable of handling the trip from Callaway headquarters in Connecticut to Transportation Research Center's 7.5 oval in Ohio. Not too shabby, even by today's standards.
The Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer crosses the auction block on Friday, January 17th at Mecum's Kissimmee, Florida event. See it here.