For more than 60 years, it’s been on the walls of teenager’s rooms, drag strips and tracks across the country, and the driveways of those who have finally attained the financial means to buy their very own example of America’s sports car. You don’t even have to say which company makes it; everyone knows the name Corvette, and everyone knows its a unique car.
As unique as it is, it’s still hard to call the Corvette a rare vehicle. According to the National Corvette Museum, Chevrolet manufactured 32,782 Corvettes for the 2017 model year. Of those, nearly a fifth are Z06 coupes – a total of 6,197 rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
When you do the math, there is a good chance you will get an eyeful of the C7 Corvette flying down a highway near you.
The Corvette you see here? Probably not, and that’s because it’s not exactly a Corvette. It’s a Callaway – an SC757 Corvette Z06 AeroWagen, to be exact.
After years of kicking around the idea of a Corvette shooting brake (inspired by an Aston Martin shooting brake concept), Callaway and designer Paul Deutschman finally released one last year. The company produces approximately 300 vehicles a year, not all of which are Corvettes.
Callaway has been upgrading General Motors vehicles for decades and is happy to juice up Camaros, full-size Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs, and even the Cadillac Escalade or CTS-V for customers with deep pockets.
In late March, Callaway’s race team went to the Circuit of the Americas to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge Series. Given how many members of the media would be there, Callaway decided to bring along the SC757 AeroWagen. They didn’t just truck it in, though. They had someone drive it more than 1,100 miles from St. Petersburg, Florida to Austin, Texas. After the event was over, Pete Callaway, general manager of Callaway and son of company founder Reeves Callaway, gave me a tech breakdown and tour of the red road warrior.
There’s no getting around the fact that the AeroWagen is an odd-looking machine, but I wouldn’t call it ugly. With just one look it’s obvious why the AeroWagen package makes the Corvette as unique as it is special. Callaway and Deutschman wanted to create a Corvette that stood out from the rest and succeeded.
The AeroWagen makes a mid-engine supercar look typical. Callaway kept most of the Z06’s muscular lines, and added a bit of unexpected visual flair, turning the Corvette into a “concept car” for the road.
As a bonus, it also has slightly more luggage space than a regular Corvette coupe.
Converting a stock C7 Corvette Stingray, Grand Sport, Z06, or Callaway-enhanced C7 coupe into an AeroWagen can be a day-long process. The AeroWagen package includes the hatch assembly, tempered glass, halo bar, rear and upper spoilers, and badges. Installed and painted, it costs $14,990. The DIY kit version retails for $13,115.
According to Pete Callaway, “The AeroWagen hatch assembly is a part-for-part replacement of the original equipment Corvette rear hatch, using the original hardware and latching mechanisms.”
He said the hatch swap takes about three hours and that the massive carbon fiber spoiler on the car took approximately 4.5-hours to put on because it required the removal of the bumper and the tail lights. However, no drilling or irreversible changes are necessary.
Under the Hood
The AeroWagen mod wasn’t the only thing that made Callaway’s press car unique.
Callaway offers two packages for the C7 Corvette: the SC627 and SC757. The SC627 is the milder option of the two and comes with Callaway’s 2.3-liter GenThree supercharger – nearly a third larger than the stock Z06’s 1.74-liter blower – with TripleCooled intercooler system that consists of one sizeable primary intercooler and two smaller secondary units, in addition to a high-flow intake.
The SC627 upgrade gives the Corvette Stingray, or Grand Sport, 627 horsepower. Torque goes up to 610 lb-ft. Those respective increases of 167 and 145 (compared to the Grand Sport stock V8 figures) result in a 0-60 mph time of 3.4-seconds (down from 3.6-seconds) and an 11-second quarter-mile at 126 mph.
The SC757 package is only available on the Z06 platform and uses the same underlying hardware as the SC627, but is tuned to crank out – you got it – 757 horsepower and 777 lb-ft. Callaway claims the SC757 has a 0-60 time of 2.8-seconds and a quarter-mile time of 10.5-seconds at 131 mph.
I’ll save you from doing the math and tell you those figures are an increase of 107 and 127, respectively. Those numbers trump the output figures of the “ultimate factory Corvette,” the 2019 ZR1.
Over the past few years, “Z06” and “heat soak” have become synonymous. Aware of the issue, Callaway has taken an extra step to prevent it with the GenThree system. The GenThree only allowed inlet air temperature to increase by less than 10 degrees during dyno pulls. Other supercharger systems typically see an increase of at least 35 degrees.
The GenThree eliminates the ‘heat soak’ problem and provides more consistent lap-to-lap performance at the track and run-to-run performance at the dragstrip.
Callaway pairs that SC757 go with plenty of show, which includes carbon fiber engine covers, a build plaque with VIN, a trim ring for the hood cutout, Callaway door-sill panels, interior and exterior badges. The price for all of that flash and firepower is $18,495.
However, that wasn’t the end of the options list for the press car. Callaway also added its own forged black chrome wheels ($6,280), which shave two to three pounds of unsprung weight from each corner of the Z06.
Engineers pulled the stock exhaust and installed a $2,995 single-mode system which Pete Callaway said was designed to sound its best all the time, not just when fully open, the way dual-mode systems need to be to belt out their most soul-stirring solos.
In total, the press car had a sticker price of $151,000.
On The Road Again
Inside, the SC757 AeroWagen was a standard Z06 Corvette – except for Callaway’s floor mats and badges, of course. I had no complaints.
The knob for the Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension was connected to a stock magnetic ride suspension.
The “Tour” mode had an expected sporty stiffness to it but was never harsh. The steering response was relaxed without being lethargic, and it handled the curves I threw at it coolly and casually.
However, I did most of the drive in “Sport” mode. Predictably, the steering was quicker. The weight and responsiveness brought a champion linebacker to mind as it felt heavy but moved with surprising speed and accuracy. Whether I went right or left, it immediately jinked the same way and never missed a step.
Callaway also left the Z06’s optional carbon ceramic brakes stock. Why fix what’s not broken? The brakes engaged near the top of the left pedal’s travel and did their job smoothly and progressively the whole way down. I didn’t feel any snatching, grabbing, or jerking.
Callaway extensively modified the Z06 while leaving the everyday driveability that makes the Corvette so lovable, intact.
Not that I wanted to drive the SC757 AeroWagen like an everyday car. I was in a red super-‘Vette with more horsepower and torque than a Hellcat. I wanted to keep on the throttle until the paint started flying off.
Unfortunately, midday traffic and a massive law enforcement presence meant I was going to have to be selective about where I swung the speedo hard right.
Once I got an opening, I jammed the SC757 AeroWagen through it. The power came out in huge chunks which the eight-speed automatic processed with compelling immediacy. The more throttle I applied, the more I heard the exhaust’s exotic roar. It was familiar and foreign all at once as if I had encountered a large, angry dog from another planet. Adding 20 mph to my speed was a terrifyingly quick and easy process. Each second I kept my right foot down didn’t make me fear for my life, but for my license.
To unleash Callaway’s 757-horsepower AeroWagen, you will need a lot of open roads, and a good lawyer wouldn’t hurt, either.
Once I returned the SC757 AeroWagen, Pete Callaway and his girlfriend loaded their luggage into it, jumped in, and headed toward Arizona. The I-10 leaves plenty of room for road-bound rocketry.
Red blurs are probably common sites out there, but not all of them are made by Callaway. When drivers out west saw the red streak of the SC757 AeroWagen, they weren’t getting a glimpse at something ordinary. They were getting a neck-snappingly quick look at something rare.