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Found an interview with Reeves

Brangeta

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I wasn't even searching for Callaway stuff, and this was the second link to pop up on google when I was searching for an issue of Chevy High Performance. Thought it needed to be shared!

http://www.cpts-test.com/callaway/

AN INTERVIEW WITH
REEVES CALLAWAY
by TOM BENFORD
This article originally appeared in the
February 1998 issue of
Vette Magazine
© 1998 TOM BENFORD
Callaway Advanced Engineering has established itself as a tour de force in the high performance automotive arenas of the world, with such legendary cars as the Top Gun, the Sledgehammer and others. Not content to rest on his company’s laurels and high watermarks of days gone by, founder and CEO Reeves Callaway has great plans for the C5 generation of Corvettes as well. He gave me an idea of what we can expect to see in the coming years when I interviewed him, and here’s what he had to say.
Reeves.gif
Corvette Entrepreneur Reeves Callaway
  1. Will Lingenfelter Performance Engineering be providing engines for the Callaway C5s as they did for the Sledgehammer’s historic 254+ m.p.h. run?
  1. You know, I don’t know where that rumor came from. Perhaps now is the time to correct it and put the whole issue to rest. We contracted Lingenfelter to build a couple of short blocks to save us some time, which we turbocharged, but they didn’t survive our dyno testing, so they were never used in the Sledgehammer. That record was set with a Callaway-built engine, although John (Lingenfelter) drove the car to set the record, since we had a very busy schedule in Europe creating Aston Martin’s Group C effort at that time. So it’s appropriate to congratulate Callaway for building the car, and John Lingenfelter for driving it to its record speed. That’s the way it was.
  1. What is the official Callaway position on the C5?
  1. We like to take our time in thinking about how to approach something as significant as the whole new (C5) platform. Our opinion is, as engineers evaluating someone else’s product, that this platform is terrific. So many things have been improved, made better, simpler, more logical in the new car - we are thrilled with it. So it will be the basis of a really great automobile. I mean, the standard car is a really great automobile.
  1. So, then, what’s Callaway’s mission regarding it?
  1. Our mission is to take that raw material and make it into the best iteration of the car that it can be. Because we’re not under the same restraints that the folks at the platform are under, we can do things that point the car towards a narrower market. Rather than what Chevrolet’s mission was, which was to point the car towards a broader market. You know, 45% female ownership, driveable by kids, old men and race car drivers; a whole widening of the audience for the Corvette is clearly their mission if they’re going to get up to 40, 50 or 60 thousand units a year. That’s not us. Our mission is to make this car into the kind of car that somebody who really knows automobiles and really knows what they want would come to us for. This is for the very experienced, very knowledgeable car owner.
  1. And what, exactly, do you think this type of individual wants?
  1. He wants something that is exclusive, something that is mechanically as sound and as fine as it can be made, something that looks very good, something that sounds very good and something that performs very well - in the extreme - and yet is still a very nice, competent automobile to drive on the road everyday. And I think that we can do an enormously good job on the new platform because the raw material is so good. Our plan is to completely rebody the automobile with a gorgeous looking reskinning, and repower the automobile, probably in several stages. The first stage will be, let’s say, more than 400 HP but as inexpensively as possible. Then once you’ve reskinned the automobile and incorporated the correct aerodynamics for high speed, repowered the automobile so that you can get to that high speed, then you have to make sure that all of the subsystems are up to that capability, meaning brakes, wheels, tires, suspension.
  1. Will you be racing the car?
  1. An underlying subplot here is that, of course, we want to compete with the car. The regulations that allow you to take a production car and compete with it have certain very strict strangleholds on what you can do. And, in order to compete, you must produce a road version of the car from which the competition car is derived. There are certain basic physical rules that govern the success of a race car: how well does it use its tires; how much power does it have; how much does it weigh; and what are its aerodynamics. These are the four things that are going to govern the success or failure of a race car. Since we are going to produce a high volume of these cars, we will homologate the car with the international regulators as the Callaway version of the car, having incorporated changes in all of those areas that would allow the car eventually, someday, to become a successful race car.
  1. What is your initial manufacturing volume for the Callaway C5?
  1. First year production will be 50 cars.
  1. That will relegate it to a very narrow and select band of purchasers.
  1. Sure, but don’t forget, in order to do the kind of work that we’ve talked about and just break even from an expense/ investment vs. income point of view you’re talking about a car that’s going to be at the $135,000 mark. It has to be - no question about it. There’s no way around that if your only going to build 50 cars the way that we build them.
  1. Would you consider expanding the volume incrementally for subsequent years?
  1. We would hope so if the car receives a good reaction.
  1. You mentioned that the engine builds would be in stages. Are you going to have different engine options available in this 50 car run?
  1. I was talking about the long view, not the order form. The long view says that if this is a platform with a ten-year lifespan, you’d better be thinking about where your initial release of horsepower starts, and then over the next ten years what headroom is available to you to continue bringing it up and up and up. Don’t forget we want to be successful in selling the car, so we pay a lot of attention to the price. That means the cost, especially in the engine side of it, has to be kept under control. So that means that normally-aspirated will be the initial release of the car. Will other things be available in the future? Turbo-charging, supercharging, nuclear power - sure, we’ll examine all of those. (Mutual laughter).
  1. Will you be selling component kits so owners of factory C5s can upgrade them to Callaway editions?
  1. Our vision is that the automobile has to be produced as a complete automobile; these are not packages that will be available as kits. So the only way that you’ll be able to get a Callaway automobile is as a full Callaway automobile. And I’ll give you some of the reasoning behind this. The whole concept of a high performance car has to be that the car is balanced. It’s capability in all areas has to come up to a certain target level. You can’t produce a car with way too much horsepower and no brakes; you can’t produce a car that has enough power to go so fast that it overcomes its own aerodynamics and becomes unstable; you can’t produce a car that doesn’t have the right balance between wheel, tire, power, aerodynamics, brakes. No responsible car manufacturer would do that.
  1. The total reskinning of the C5 that you mentioned - what will it look like?
  1. If you’ve seen the Callaway C7, imagine melding that body shape onto the C5 - that’s what the car looks like. Hey, when you see this thing you’re going to be knocked out; this is a great looking automobile. And that’s why we had to reskin the entire car - you can’t just add pieces onto someone else’s design and have it look integrated. This is, as you may imagine, a major deal. At our shop in Germany, right now, the full-size clay model is being created.
  1. Is Paul Deutschman doing the design work again?
  1. Yes, as always. So there very clearly will be the lineage there from the very early cars like the Sledgehammer on through the Speedsters on through the Aerobody - even the stuff that we’ve done on the other parts of the Chevrolet line like the Camaro and the Camaro body - they all have a certain feel and look to them. Of course the C7 is the ultimate expression of how Callaway thinks an automobile should be styled. So that’s why we’re taking the approach that we’ll meld the C7 body shape onto the C5.
  1. Well, I don’t think you’ll have a problem moving 50 units that look like that.
  1. Good. Then I’ll expect your order in the morning! (Mutual laughter).
  1. How are things going with your LS modifications?
  1. The engine is in development now. We don’t know where it will come out because you never know where it comes out until you’ve completed not only your power development and your durability development, but your emission development as well.
  1. Let’s chat a bit about your Le Mans GT2 cars. I’ve heard that you’re offering a street-legal version - is that true?
  1. The Le Mans GT2 car shape is called the Le Mans body and has been available for the past 2 years for the whole C4 line.
  1. That’s the body; but do you sell the entire car as well?
  1. Here’s the deal: Callaway is a commercial manufacturer of racing cars, so in 1994 when we built the first of the Le Mans cars and took it to Le Mans and qualified on the pole and all of that business, we saw a commercial market opportunity there to build replicas of that car, which we did in 1995, and took orders and sold them to race teams. So of the three remaining 1995 Le Mans GT2 cars, two of them are in the hands of the Agusta team and our Swiss distributor also has one; but they race those cars as customers. We don’t have anything to do with them; we support them from a parts point of view, but as far as Callaway going racing, we have only tried to support our customers doing racing for us.
  1. So you won’t be doing any factory-sponsored racing of the Callaway C5, either?
  1. From what I just said about the C5, you can see that our thoughts are clearly towards what it will take to make that a good competition car - a good GT2. Once we build the road cars, we have the basis for the homologation that will allow us to build the race car out of the road car. This is a very step-by-step thing that you must pursue in building a race car. You can’t just take a Corvette, modify it the way you think it should be as a race car and take it to Le Mans - it’s not allowed. You have to build road cars that incorporate those features that you want to race with. That’s why this year will be devoted to making the C5 into a Callaway configuration that, at its base, has the elements we would want to make it a successful competition car. For instance, the Callaway version of the car will be made a full 2 meters wide; it is 1.86 meters now. One of the basic laws of physics in race cars is that the wider a car is the faster it corners. But no car can be more than 2 meters wide. So if you’re going to be successful in that class you’re going to have to come up with a way to make the car 2 meters wide; you can’t take the stock C5 and make it 2 meters wide because it wasn’t homologated that way. So that’s why I say we’re building in all of the elements that we will want as a successful race car when it comes time to race the car.
  1. Do you have a projected time frame for when you may take it out racing?
  1. No. Our first task is to build and sell the road version of the car. But we’re always thinking Le Mans. Le Mans is really the only important motor race for sports cars in the world, and that would be our target.
  1. When the Callaway C5 does enter the Le Mans circuit, will that also be as customer racing or will Callaway itself be sponsoring the car.
  1. No. Us, as the factory, will do the car. We’ll make commercial copies available to racing teams, but I think the lesson we’ve learned in the last four years was that you can’t have customers doing the bidding of the factory.
 

boostedmaxPSI

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Not sure of the intent of this post...

However, good research should also post the rebuttal from John L.

http://www.cpts-test.com/lngnfltr/

Only those who were involved with the project will know the truth. You have two of the most respected men in the industry saying the exact opposite :confused

It's no secret that LPE had a big hand in helping Callaway Cars with several aspects of Callaway Cars to include the infamous 100+ "kit" the emphasis is on the kit. LPE did the camshaft, heads and throttle body as indicated on the actual 100+ receipt.

Not sure who did the actual engineering on the 100+ intake or where it came from. One thing is for sure, "Puff the Magic Dragon" AKA Mary Anne has the same/similar intake and that was a 1985 Corvette back in Sept 1985. One thing is for sure, and this intake WORKS! and it's unfortunate there aren't more available ;) Time will tell :upthumbs

In fact Callaway Cars used several shops to help them with their cars including the SuperNatural program. This came directly from Reeves during the Bowling Green GTG in May 2007 when I asked him about the CNC heads on my SuperNatural.
 

*89x2*

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...from numerous folks involved:

However, good research should also post the rebuttal from John L.

http://www.cpts-test.com/lngnfltr/

Only those who were involved with the project will know the truth. You have two of the most respected men in the industry saying the exact opposite :confused
l.


Two LPE engines were built, neither survived to be used for the "record run" in the Sledgehammer. It was a Callaway built engine in there, period.

The Sledgehammer was actually not built to go 254.76mph. Rather, it was done to run, "just fast enough" (to win every shoot-out there would be).

Somewhere along the line, the boost was dialed in during the testing and the run was made - it made enourmous power and set a speed record that has stood the test of time. :cool

John definately gets the credit for driving the car to its record speed :upthumbs Callaway Cars' engine made it happen :w
 

boostedmaxPSI

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Chris I'm not arguing for or against this particular topic. I'm merely stating that two ppl are saying the exact opposite.

I did a quick check on LPE's website and it still has a statement about this particular topic:

http://www.lingenfelter.com/legend.htm

Per LPE website

In 1988, Reeves Callaway contracted John Lingenfelter to design and build the engine for the Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette project. Lingenfelter built a 355 CID twin-turbocharged EFI Chevy that produced more than 900 horsepower. Reeves team assembled the car and drove this very streetable Corvette to Ohio for the testing. During the testing John Lingenfelter piloted the Lingenfelter powered Callaway Sledgehammer to a record holding pass of 254.76 mph on the 7.5-mile oval at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio.

Commentary from a article that originally appeared in the June 1998 issue of Vette Magazine © 1998 TOM BENFORD



And a quick check of HOT ROD April 1989 coverage of Sledgehammer has both Revees and John making statements in regards to Sledgehammer and has John listed several times as THE engine builder. If it was wrong in 1989 why didn't Revees correct him and this article on the spot? Why hasn't Callaway Cars made LPE remove this statement from their website. That's false advertisement!

Again, not arguing for or against either builder, just find the mystery interesting. After all it seems that it's common to find several Callaways running today with LPE engineering. Here's a couple that come to mind:

  • Red C12 in Texas with an LPE 427
  • your 1989 Twin Turbo with LPE motor
  • The '88 with 100+ kit
  • Red LT1 Aerobody
  • '87 Twin Turbo recently for sale with LPE throttle body
  • Possibley my '92 435 SuperNatural with LPE CNC'd heads? I still don't have a clear answer on this one.
It's no big deal, it is what it is...
 

*89x2*

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Frank, it is important to keep clairty in this muddled topic - There has been so much "bad information" and the LPE site only recently added that to their pages. It certainly was not there when JL was alive (that I ever recall seeing) and now that the company is sold, who would be there, that even remembered??

Reading the binders on the Sledgehammer, I am sticking with what I know :cool :m

But additionally, and I don't mean to beat a dead horse...


SurfnSun said:
I assume youre talking about him driving the car.

FWIW...LPE built some R&D motors for the project but a Callaway built motor made the run and resides in the car today.

Its absolutely ridiculous the number of uninformed fans that credit him with the car's performance...yet for some reason its called the CALLAWAY Sledgehammer.

Even if it was an LPE short block in the car(which its not) really how much of a difference would that make? The engineering of the project was done by Callaway, the build of the car was done by Callaway...John Lingenfelter drove it to its top speed.

Give credit where its due.

And internally, from someone who knew John and knows Reeves...

CallawayMV said:
The engine in the car for this session was supplied by Callaway.


I've never seen a direct quote from John claiming that he built the engine that was in the car when it ran the 254. Several of us here at Callaway knew John personally. He was no liar.

Pointing this out is absolutely not intended to cast any dispersions on LPE's capabilities. They have built and continue to build very powerful engines.

CallawayMV said:
I remember reading these articles in the eighties. I was working for Accel at the time (1981-'93) and I introduced Accel's "Lingenfelter Signature Series" of intake manifolds and camshafts together. I was purchasing engineering time, manifolds, cams, etc. from John. I actually didn't meet Reeves until later when I went to work for Callaway's engineering department from 1993 to 1994. Before ultimately returning to Callaway, I worked for Moroso for 6 years and kept in touch with John as we attended the same industry events and I worked the NHRA racing circuit. LPE was also a good Moroso customer. I know Jeff Smith, who wrote the April '89 Hot Rod article shown in this thread. I've met Csaba, but I can't say I know him personally like I know Jeff. I have the highest regard for all of these folks so I don't know why there would be conflicting info.

I never asked John about this; at the time, I assumed the articles were accurate so it just never came up. I can only report what Reeves and others who were at Callaway at the time have told us when these threads came up a while ago. (I'm absolutely certain Reeves wouldn't be inaccurate about John's participation.) Again, it's no reflection on John or LPE's ability to build engines. LPE's record speaks for itself. However, the two LPE engines prepared for the record failed on the dyno and a Callaway-built backup engine was used for the trip to Ohio and the record run. I don't know the circumstances of the failures; but my guess would be an unforeseen component failure rather than any problems with machining or assembly.

CallawayMV said:
I do know that John was a modest man. We worked on Accel projects together and we spent time together socially; I had the utmost respect for John. I considered him a friend and I think he considered me as a friend. I don't think he would ever have claimed to do something he didn't do. At the same time, I don't think that Reeves is a liar.

I'm not being coached to write anything. I'm just reporting what I know to try to set the record straight. (And none of that ever was critical of John or LPE's engines.) I'm trying not to take this personally, but if you knew me, you'd know that I believe that there are some things more important than "the job".





It is a shame that JL did not come to a (published) agreement before leaving us. It was amazing driving skills that got the car to that level of speed. But not even that was mentioned, when he was inducted into the NCM Corvette Hall of Fame. :ugh
 

boostedmaxPSI

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I agree, this is a beaten issue. But to address your statements with some facts...

There has been so much "bad information" and the LPE site only recently added that to their pages. It certainly was not there when JL was alive (that I ever recall seeing)

What do you mean by recently added? It's been there since 1998:confused John was very much alive then and during this interview.

This article originally appeared in the
June 1998 issue of Vette Magazine
© 1998 TOM BENFORD

Legend: T. = Tom Benford J. = John Lingenfelter

T. Your corporate website states that Lingenfelter Performance Engineering built the 1,200 HP engine that powered the Callaway Sledgehammer, but Reeves Callaway said your engine wasn’t the one used in the car on its over-254 mph run. Would you care to provide a rebuttal?

J. Well, the only thing I’d say is that the people that were there and the people that were involved know the real answers and what the truth is. That will suffice for me.

Actual article can be read here"

http://www.cpts-test.com/lngnfltr/


It is a shame that JL did not come to a (published) agreement before leaving us.

The statement above looks published to me. ;shrug
 
T

TurboLuigi

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Frank,

I think this arguing is pointless in that LPE was a sub for Callaway and Reeves is probably the only person that really knows and vouch for it. I was present in the discussion we once had on this topic and too heard him tell the story of the how several engines including with the two that LPE built were destroyd in the test effort leading up the run.

-Luigi
:cool
 
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Well it is true that Lingefelter built engines for Callaway . He had built them with O rings and the engines ended up failing . Some of his technology was used but it was a Callaway motor per Reeves and Zoner on several occasions this was brought up and was clarified by Reeves and Mike that it was Callaway's motor that was in the Sledgehammer
 

boostedmaxPSI

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Frank,

I think this arguing is pointless in that LPE was a sub for Callaway and Reeves is probably the only person that really knows and vouch for it.
-Luigi
:cool

Who's arguing :confused

Reread my post above where I state that I AM NOT arguing for or against this topic. I merely pointing out that two people are saying the opposite. Reeves makes it very clear that it was Callaway's engine and it doesn't take a person with a law degree to figure out what John is say in his interview that he claims it's his engine and to compound this issue further you have LPE advertising it on their website. ;shrug
 
T

TurboLuigi

Guest
So if you are not arguing then what is the point of keeping this alive?
:w

-Luigi
:cool
 

John H. Christensen

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95 Callaway LM CR-1, 96 SN, 98 CS AND C-16
THERE WERE SEVERAL LOCAL SHOPS HERE IN CT. THAT DONE ENGINE WORK FOR CALLAWAY.
WOULD YOU ADD THEIR COMPANY NAMES ALSO?
SHOULD LPE ADD THEIR SUBCONTRACTERS TO THEIR WEBSITE?
 

*89x2*

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Frank, to clarify, what I meant by recently added, was that I believe the part about the Sledgehammer, has not been on the LPE website for very long (It has always been a part of the Callaway Cars website). Maybe someone pulled it after the interview?? ;squint: I know it is back now - and LPE is not owned by a Lingenfelter anymore...

In 2004, I was at a hotel bar when in came two gentlemen. One was a writer/photographer named Randy Leffingwell and the other, none other than Tom Benford. Talking cars, this was certainly brought up (he noticed my COG shirt :cool ) and when this exact interview came up for discussion, I asked why JL did not say more than a statment that did not really answer the question ;shrug Tom said that Reeves in his interview clarified the situation completley, JL let it as what was published. That really ended the discussion on the matter for Tom.

We talked for a couple of hours and he really had seemed to take an impartial position on each interview, reporting, "as it was." That does not always happen - I can assure you of that! :eyerole

Look, not going to argue - in fact, I am a bit surprised that you have heard the position of Callaway Cars from multiple quotes yet it somehow is still "suspect" to you. ;shrug



Big John, good point(s) :beer
 

scraffen

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Hey,

What the heck is the difference! It was Reeves concept regardless.

I believe Reeves anyway though.
 

boostedmaxPSI

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Look, not going to argue - in fact, I am a bit surprised that you have heard the position of Callaway Cars from multiple quotes yet it somehow is still "suspect" to you. ;shrug

Whoa Nellie!!!

I think you have completely mis-understood my stand on this issue. I've never once thought LPE built this motor. I have no doubt it was ALL Callaway. My whole point was that somebody is taking credit for something they didn't do, and have been for a very long time.
 

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