The Callaway SledgeHammer is unquestionably one of the most famous Corvettes ever built. And with a recorded speed of 254.76 miles per hour, it’s the fastest street-legal Corvette in existence. Yet it’s a time capsule, from 1988, and in a lot of ways, it’s like staring at Apollo 11. Completely dated by today’s standards, yet represents an incredible achievement in time that has yet to be eclipsed. Could it still set another record tomorrow? Well, considering that it’s been stored in a museum environment for the past three decades, it’s certainly in the condition to do so. Suppose a new owner were to find out? Yes, the 1988 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway SledgeHammer is crossing the auction block.
What’s probably the most esteemed Corvette to pop up on Bring A Trailer, the Callaway SledgeHammer will be represented for its current owner by Reeves Callaway himself, and is expected to draw bids from all over the world.
MC&T recently caught up with Callaway Cars owner and founder Reeves Callaway, who explained that his company is unlikely to do a followup to the SledgeHammer Corvette speed record anytime soon. In turn, it makes the 255 mph top speed run, set at the Transportation Research Center in October 1988 during a Car & Driver comparison test, that much more uncommon of an occurrence. Nobody has come close to that kind of speed with a street legal Corvette. Not Hennessey, not Lingenfelter Performance, nor Katech.
The Callaway SledgeHammer began its life as a dealer-ordered 1988 Corvette with Regular Production Option code B2K. The car was then shipped to Callaway Engineering in Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it began its upgrades. By that time, the SledgeHammer was the 51st Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette for the 1988 model year.
Project SledgeHammer was a follow up to Project Top Gun, and represented a vehicle that was capable of breaking production car top speed records, which it did, while retaining a street legal demeanor. To prove it, the car was driven round-trip from Callaway headquarters in Connecticut to the Transportation Research Center’s 7.5-mile oval track in Ohio. There, late racing driver John Lingenfelter sent the car around the oval at a truly unfathomable 254.76 mph. A record that would go unchallenged until the arrival of the Bugatti Veyron in 2006.
According to Callaway, Project SledgeHammer was intended to be continually developed to participate in multiple top speed challenges that automotive magazines organized. However, when word got out that the car achieved the speeds that it did, nobody saw any point in challenging it. Although, it would certainly be interesting to see what that test would look like in today’s era.
More details on the Callaway SledgeHammer Corvette can be found on the Bring A Trailer listing, where the gavel will drop in just 11 days from now.