Reeves Callaway known for icons like Sledgehammer Corvette
Company built high-performance upgrades for decades
Ely Reeves Callaway III, the founder and CEO of Callaway Cars has died. Callaway Cars issued a statement today saying that Reeves Callaway passed on July 11 at his home in California from injuries sustained after a fall. The automotive icon, who had been developing high-performance cars since 1977, was 76.
Callaway, son of businessman Ely Callaway Jr, started in the auto industry in 1973 as an instructor at the Bob Bondurant Racing School. While there, he took one of the school’s BMW 320i cars and developed a prototype turbocharger in his garage. In 1977, he founded Callaway Cars to sell these turbocharger kits.
The car company grew from there, selling turbocharger systems for other Euro brands. In 1987, Callaway’s Twin Turbo Chevrolet Corvette, which made 382 hp, was available to order from select GM dealers. He then developed a car called the Sledgehammer, a 1989 Corvette that set a production car record of 254.76 mph that wouldn’t be surpassed until 2010.
Callaway Cars continued to develop faster and faster Corvette models as well as other models including the Range Rover. The company developed and supplied the turbo system used in the 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege.
Today, Callaway Cars supplies performance upgrades for Corvette and Camaro along with GM full-size pickups and SUVs.
“Thanks to Reeves’ visionary entrepreneurial spirit, Callaway Cars will continue to innovate and grow in the 21st century, inspired by his unique, extraordinary vision, and by his personal example of integrity, resourcefulness, and leadership as our founder,” said his son Peter Reeves Callaway, the company’s President.
“Dad’s passion for making beautifully designed and crafted machines can be seen in each and every project, and we remain devoted to executing to the highest standards, in true Callaway fashion. He was rarely found doing anything other than working towards the next milestone for the company. He was a charismatic leader with a sense of humor that we will all remember through various “Reeves-isms”. I feel fortunate to have grown up working with him and the company.”