One of the 50 most influential Corvettes ever built is up for sale on Bring a Trailer.
With 10 days left in the bidding, the highest offer so far has reached $425,476 for the 1988 Corvette Callaway SledgeHammer.
The SledgeHammer has earned legendary status in the Corvette world after reaching a record speed of 254.76 mph in October 1988, with John Lingenfelter behind the wheel on the 7.5-mile oval track at the Transportation Research Center in Ohio.
This Corvette started life as the 51st Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette earlier in 1988 and became the donor vehicle for Callaway’s Project SledgeHammer, which sought to create a car capable of breaking production car top-speed records while remaining street-legal.
A subsequent post on Bring a Trailer clarifies that the SledgeHammer was never emission-compliant. “It was a test vehicle,” @1988callaway32 explains. “That’s why the license plate from Connecticut says ‘Experimental Test 175.’ On the other hand, the mission of the car was to be a road drivable and fully equipped for comfort, with full interior, radio, air conditioning, and so manageable that you could give the keys to your mom… Not a thinly disguised race car as all of the other TopSpeed contestants were. So ‘road drivable’ became ‘road legal’ in the press. We tried to correct that opinion in the public marketing. But to no avail.”
The car is being offered on behalf of the current owner by Callaway Cars founder Reeves Callaway and includes engineering records, window sticker, a car familiarization course from Callaway Cars, an accident-free Carfax report, and a clean Colorado title.
Power comes from a hand-built twin-turbo and intercooled 5.7-liter V8 engine that poured forth 880 horsepower and 772 lb-ft of torque in Callaway testing, now hooked to a ZF six-speed manual transmission (though the transmission in place during the record run was a Doug Nash 4+3 manual).
Coated with silver paint, the car has a Paul Deutschman-designed Callaway Aerobody, which includes a revised nose and front grille, functional fender and quarter panel vents, wider door caps, and a rear spoiler incorporated into a revised rear fascia using factory Corvette taillights. The design eventually became the AeroBody on later C4 Callaway Corvettes. The front fascia used in the record run was later replaced with a production AeroBody component.
The interior looks much the same as a stock C4, with the key differences being a Callaway boost gauge in place of one of the center dash vents, a four-point leather-padded roll hoop, a fire-suppression system, and five-point safety harnesses.
After its hectic beginning, the car hasn’t seen much activity, with just 2,000 miles on the odometer after spending a lot of time in a museum-like environment. Callaway Cars replaced hoses, couplings, and fittings in a 2018 refresh. Speaking of museums, the car has been displayed several times at the National Corvette Museum and also was inducted into Bloomington Gold’s The Great Hall in 2013 as one of the 50 most influential Corvettes.
Before the SledgeHammer, Callaway developed top-speed projects on GM experimental platforms that had to be returned to General Motors to be crushed, according to company policy. The SledgeHammer, on the other hand, was built with the idea that it would be continually developed for multiple top-speed challenges popular in the ’80s.
Thirty-three years after it was built, the car belongs on the Automotive Mt. Rushmore, one fan commented on BaT. Another believes it should be worth at least $1 million. What do you think?
[VIDEO] MotorWeek Drives the Legendary Callaway Sledgehammer
[VIDEO] 30 Years of Callaway Corvettes: The Sledgehammer
[PICS] Callaway Takes Over the Corvette Museum for 30th Anniversary Exhibit