The name Callaway is synonymous with powerful rare custom Corvettes. While the silver C4 Corvette known as the “Sledgehammer” may be the most famous of all the Callaway supercars, the specialty car manufacturer has produced many other models that are coveted among Corvette enthusiasts. The C12 Coupe is one such car that has succeeded on the racetrack and found its way into private collections.
The Callaway C12 Coupe debuted in 1998 and was built using the then-new C5 Corvette platform. Working with automotive designer Paul Deutschman, the C12 was heavily influenced by European aesthetics and only shares the C5’s glass, door handles, and door outline. The rest of the exterior is a carbon-fiber and Kevlar masterpiece unique to Callaway’s vision. Only 25 C12s were produced before production ended in 1999. Essentially, Callaway produced the street-legal C12 to satisfy the requirements of the rules for racing the C12.R race car in various organizations worldwide.
Callaway C12 Coupes rarely come up for sale, and even when they do, it’s usually at auction, and a sale price is not always reached. This particular C12 is currently being bid on over at the Bring A Trailer auction website. It is a unique example with a storied past. Of the 25 C12 Coupes built, 19 were built in 1999, and this car is number 18. The Mauritius Blue Mica exterior color has to be extremely rare, as doing some quick research online resulted in just one other C12, a 1998 model, being produced in the same color.
The car has aged very well as its two-tone leather upholstery remains in good condition and with 25,000 miles on the clock the car has only a few minor imperfections on the front splitter. This C12 rides on silver Azev 19-inch wheels wrapped in 295/30/19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The brakes are upgraded with slotted rotors at all four corners and Callaway-branded Alcon calipers up front.
Powering this C12 is Callaway’s optional 6.2-liter ‘SuperNatural’ V8 LS engine producing 482 horsepower and 466 lb-ft of torque. Handling shifting duties is a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to a limited-slip differential. With power numbers similar to the current C8 Corvette Stingray, it goes to show how far ahead of the times Callaway was with his creations. At the time of production, the C12 Coupe had an estimated top speed approaching 200 mph.
The history of C12 #18 involves being owned by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. In 2015, Earnhardt put the car up for sale on eBay but was contacted by Reeves Callaway to ask that the car be sold to a friend of his who was an avid Callaway collector. The gentleman owned the Callaway C12.R race car that took the pole position in its class at Le Mans in 1994 and finished second in its class in 1995. He wanted to add a C12 Coupe street car to his collection and Earnhardt’s car happened to be for sale at the right time.
The collector was lucky enough to pick the C12 up directly from Earnhardt’s garage, with Earnhardt signing the headliner before handing the keys over to the new owner. Fast forward to today, and C12 #18 is again up for sale, this time it is listed on Bring A Trailer with a current bid of $72,000 and no reserve. There are currently five days remaining on the auction and we expect the price to jump up considerably as the time winds down. However, even at $100,000, someone would be getting a magnificent example of Callaway’s work with a prominent history for half the price of what the car sold for when new. Go give the listing a look and if you’re in the market for a unique supercar that you’re not likely to see at your local Cars And Coffee, or anywhere else, place your bids.