Callaway Visits Austin to Show Off its Awesome AeroWagen

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Callaway custom has more power than the new ZR1 and looks unlike any other Corvette. 

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” We’ve all heard that at least once in our lives. Maybe from a teacher. Perhaps in a boring meeting. It’s a nice thought. It’s also wrong. Let’s face it. There are stupid questions. Life would be a lot less frustrating without them.

There are also unnecessary questions. I saw one in my inbox a few weeks ago: “Like to Drive a 757-Horsepower Corvette Next Week?” I can’t say it was a stupid question to ask. The media agency rep who asked me that had never met me before. For all he knew, I could’ve been the lamest guy on the planet who prefers cars to be as exciting as plain oatmeal. It was just unnecessary. He had me at SC757.

That’s Callaway speak for the most powerful engine package the company produces for the C7 Corvette Z06. The base SC627 bundle for the Stingray and Grand Sport includes Callaway’s 2.3-liter GenThree Supercharger with TripleCooled intercooler system (one large primary and two smaller secondary intercoolers) as well as a high flow intake.

 

The engine didn’t just tempt me to open it up. It dared me.

 

Callaway claims its GenThree blower keeps inlet air temperature increases below 10 degrees Fahrenheit during dyno testing, whereas other superchargers let temps go up by 35 or more. Of course, Callaway didn’t forget to address heat soak, stating its system “provides more consistent lap-to-lap performance at the track and run-to-run performance at the dragstrip.”

That hardware combo helps the LT1 push out 627 horsepower and 610 lb-ft. Callaway’s SC757 setup for the Z06 uses the same hardware tuned to produce 757 and 777, respectively. Priced at $18,495, it also includes carbon fiber engine covers, a supercharger surround on the hood, Callaway door sill panels, interior and exterior badging, and an underhood build plaque with VIN number.

Driving a regular SC757 Corvette Z06 would’ve been special enough, but the $151,000 car Callaway brought to Austin to show off to media as its race team competed in the Pirelli World Challenge Series happened to be an AeroWagen. Instead of having it trucked in from the last competition in St. Petersburg, Florida, Callaway had someone drive it more than 1,100 miles to the Circuit of the Americas.

I met Pete Callaway, general manager of the brand and son of founder Reeves Callaway, after the races in south Austin. He explained that the AeroWagen’s unusual looks were partially inspired by an Aston Martin shooting brake concept a few years ago. (He didn’t mention the exact name, but it’s likely he was talking about the Jet 2+2 from Bertone.) Callaway and its chief designer Paul Deutschman wanted to create a Corvette that stood apart from all others. Increasing luggage space was more of a byproduct than a motivating factor. It’s safe to say they succeeded. America is not a wagon-crazy country in the first place. A Corvette with a shooting brake-style rear hatch is an even more exotic sight. The hard lines and angles that end in a mail slot rear window make the Z06 look odd, but I can’t say the AeroWagen is an ugly car. Deutschman was striving for unique and he got it. The Jet 2+2 had a similar look, but you’ll probably never see that one-off rolling down the highway. That’s not the case for Deutschman’s unusual creation.

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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