The 80s were a time of phenomenal advancement for the Corvette. At the beginning of the decade, the tired C3 was still being sold as new on showroom floors, even though a fuel crisis and EPA regulations made that car a shadow of its former self. By mid-decade, however, Corvette began recovering from the dark ages of the 70s. With the C4, introduced for the 1984 model year, Chevrolet began to gaze deeply into the 80s and beyond.
This look to the future could be evidenced by a horsepower-figure rocket launch. In 1984, Corvettes moved on the dance floor to the tune of 205 horsepower. By 1989, only five years later, the ZR-1 with its 375-horsepower, Lotus-designed LT5 V8 was preparing for a 1990 model year debut. Beyond that, tuners like Callaway had already gone lightyears beyond 375 horsepower. In 1988, Callaway introduced its Sledgehammer — an 898-horsepower, 254-mph marvel of engineering. Part of the car’s frame was used for the intake, for crying out loud, and this was 21 years before the Aston Martin One-77.
While this week’s Corvette of the Week is not the official Sledgehammer (car #51), people commonly mistake BoostedmaxPSI’s 1988 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette #57 for the famous Sledgehammer. Running 12 pounds of boost, BoostedmaxPSI’s car “makes do” with 420 horsepower and 540 lb-ft of torque. Granted, it’s no Sledgehammer, but it has enough of the Sledgehammer’s DNA to make you weak in the knees.
To refresh your memory about Corvette performance that was 20 years ahead of its time, check out the Sledgehammer’s behind-the-scenes video below, followed by some footage of what BoostedmaxPSI’s car can do.
additional images by [ZZRguy]