Callaway Corvette Celebrates 25 Years
Hard to believe that Reeves Callaway has been building wonderfully fast Corvettes for discriminating drivers for 25 years, starting in 1987. He decided to hold an open house at his California facility in Santa Ana to celebrate the occasion and also to show off the plant, which has been in operation since April of 2011.
Armed with son Pete, general manager of the western operation and Mike Zoner from the Connecticut office – and every one of the 12 or so workers who occupy the facility – Callaway held sway over a crowded room, making a short speech to welcome the throng. There were Callaway cars of various vintages parked outside and even a new car on a turntable outside, twirling in the sun as the freeway inhabitants stormed by.
This is only the second facility Callaway has had west of the Mississippi; the first was in Corona, CA and shared space with Eibach, a handy situation. But when this piece of property became available after Lamborghini of Orange County went under, Reeves, Pete and Mike decided it was – and still is – a perfect spot for manufacturing and vehicle preparation.
Building a Callaway Corvette, Camaro or Silverado is a two- or three-week job, Pete told me. The cars are shipped to Callaway’s two plants – either this one or the one in Connecticut – from Chevrolet dealerships or from factories once that order box has been ticked. Doing engine mods and physical changes that differentiate the Callaway from any other Chevy Corvette, Camaro or Silverado requires pieces that are made in the Santa Ana workshop that’s about 20,000 square feet.
There are 32 dealers qualified to sell Callaway products in the United States and Canada, Pete Callaway told me. “This is a fabulous location for us,” he said. “We’re so close to all of our suppliers here,” and in the flight path for John Wayne International Airport, which allows customers to come pick up their car and get a tour, once it’s complete.
Callaway purchased a huge CNC mill to handle tooling for many of its parts, including the requisite hood bulge, rocker panels, spoilers and splitters. The machine makes molds that allows workers to complete parts for any car right at this factory. The California facility produces about two cars each week; in Connecticut they can prepare three cars per week.
Among those at the celebration were the entire Gurney family, including Dan and Evi, Justin, Alex and their wives. Master photographer Jesse Alexander, whose work is on display in the beautiful gift shop drove down to take part as well. Friends, customers and media packed the floor, came early and stayed late.
Building beautiful and fast cars has always been the hallmark of Callaway Cars, whose tag is: Powerfully engineered automobiles. To see the entire line of Callaway products, including the world class Callaway C16, Callaway Corvette (including the 25th anniversary limited edition), Callaway Camaro and Callaway Sporttruck, visit http://www.callawaycars.com.
Words and Photos © Anne Proffit