Rare Rides: The 1994 Callaway C8 SuperNatural - a Fast Camaro

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

This series featured a Callaway creation once before — the incredible and Teal Time upholstered Speedster from 1991. While the Speedster showed what Callaway could do with a Nineties Corvette, the company dabbled in similar era Camaros as well.

Let’s see what they created.

The Callaway company was initially a turbocharging enterprise, one which worked for BMW in the late Seventies. Owner Reeves Callaway developed a new turbocharger for the 320i that helped the model’s 2.0-liter engine provide 160 horsepower (instead of the standard version’s 110). A few years later, Callaway was hired by Alfa Romeo to work on the GTV-6. The angular liftback gained two turbos in that application.

Exposure to the GTV put Callaway on GM’s radar, and the automaker soon inked a deal with Callaway to create a twin-turbo Corvette engine. In a first for Callaway, its engine design was offered as factory option by a manufacturer, and covered under warranty. Turbo development continued through late 1988, with the pinnacle Sledgehammer. It was still a Corvette, but one transformed into a 900-horsepower monster.

Once the Nineties brought along a new LT1 engine (Gen II), Callaway pivoted from turbo and went to more traditional power enhancement methods. The most important change Callaway made was an increase in displacement. The 5.7-liter became a 6.3, and a new intake (along with other changes) resulted in 404 horsepower. During the new engine’s development, Callaway kept the upcoming Camaro in mind. Sports car customers everywhere were excited for a modern Camaro to succeed the ancient Eighties block. Engine work complete, the new SuperNatural LT1 V8 was born.

Callaway also needed aero enhancements. The company reached out to the designer of the prior twin-turbo Corvettes and asked for a Camaro design; what resulted was the “CamAerobody.” The nose was longer and lower, with stabilizing fins to cut through the air. The lower part of the Camaro was also reworked, fiberglass covered the door skins and rocker panels. The rear end was reworked as well; smoothed edges assisted with drag. Behind each wheel, gills appeared like on those fancy European Ferraris. But everything was functional, and the power and aero changes meant a new top speed of 170.

The cost of all this work circa 1994 was around $56,000. Some customers bought a regular Camaro and had it converted to a “C8 SuperNatural” with the revised body and SuperNatural engine. Others swapped only the engine, or only the aero body. A select few ordered a C8 direct, which was only available via Mystic Chevrolet in Mystic, Connecticut (now Valenti Chevrolet). Today’s Rare Ride is one of those direct order cars, an early example of the 55 total cars completed. It’s listed for sale presently on eBay.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 15 comments
  • Tylanner Tylanner on Apr 11, 2020

    An absolute embarrassment.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Apr 11, 2020

    Callaway got a start by making VW turbo kits. I had a Scirocco with a primitive but effective system. The stock engine, blown probably got 130 hp, but in a no weight car, it was pretty quick. No intercooler....water (actually washer fluid) injection took care of detonation- came on at 3 lbs boost ...I bought a LOT of wiper fluid. I still recall the window sticker... No Boost until Warm....allow 30 seconds spin down before shutting off engine. There wasn't any water jacket, the turbo was cooled only by oil, and you didn't want to "coke the bearings". I guess it worked, I've had a few turbo cars to this day, and never replaced a turbo...

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.