Nor'Easter

Also from Issue 91

  • 1968 L88 Convertible
  • Buyer’s Guide: $20K
  • 1963 Split-Window Coupe
  • History: Frank Winchell
  • 2015 Model-Year Preview
  • Racing: Long Beach, Laguna Seca
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The 25th Anniversary Corvette was not for the weak of wallet: The B2K option package cost $52,980. (It was $19,995 in 1987.) Add in the price of a $56,900 Grand Sport coupe, and the car came in at $109,880, just about $3K shy of the C6 range-topping ZR1. Even so, within 20 minutes of Callaway opening up the order line for its authorized dealers, more than half of the cars were spoken for, and by day’s end all 25 were gone. At least some of the dealers who ordered an Anniversary B2K Corvette did so without a specific retail buyer in hand. We know this because six were still available in February 2013 when renowned Callaway collector Tony Cardiello decided to buy one.

I saw an Anniversary car on display at Carlisle in August 2012,” explains Cardiello, “and thought it would be a perfect complement to my 1987 B2K Corvette. It would complete the circle, so to speak.” After calling Callaway, Cardiello learned there was a coupe available at a nearby Connecticut dealership, but when he spoke with a salesman there he didn’t like what he heard. “He was rather condescending and that turned me off, so I called the next closest dealer with a coupe, which happened to be George Matick Chevrolet in Redford, Michigan. They were extremely knowledgeable about Callaway cars and could not have been more helpful.

“Matick Chevrolet also happened to have a Cyber Gray ZR1 in stock when I called, and the salesman pointed out that it was about $10,000 less than the 25th Anniversary B2K, just so I would be sure that I did what was right for me. The ZR1 was tempting but I wanted to round out my Callaway collection, so in the end my decision was easy.”

The fact that the car was in Michigan, nearly 700 miles away, didn’t make a difference to Cardiello: “The car was new, and knowing the extremely high standard that Callaway builds cars to, in combination with the trust I had in the dealership, I didn’t need to go and see the car. We made the deal over the phone, they shipped it to me and I was 100-percent satisfied when it arrived.”

As with most of the Anniversary cars, Cardiello’s was built with the 4LT interior. It is one of 17 fitted with a manual transmission, and gear changes are executed via an optional, short-throw shifter. And surprisingly, it’s the only B2K ordered with the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.

Cardiello hasn’t pushed his car to its limits but does acknowledge driving it well north of 100 mph “without any idea of how fast I was actually going because it was so stable and quiet.” Though Cardiello hasn’t put his car on a drag strip, its quarter mile prowess was measured by the maker. Using the pilot B2K, a coupe used to validate the option package that’s not included in the production tally of 25 cars, Callaway’s test driver clicked off a best run of 10.87 seconds at 128 mph at Atco Raceway. Though it did not publish a top-speed specification, Callaway tells us that the car will top 205 mph if given enough room to stretch its legs to the fullest.

Your author’s tryst behind the wheel did not shatter any records—by virtue of deep deception and dumb luck my driving record remains spotless, and I am determined to keep it that way—but did yield a good feel for what this car is all about. During hard cornering there’s perceptibly less body roll than a standard GS offers up, presumably due to the stiffer Callaway anti-roll bars. Despite the added stiffness, however, the tires never gave up any contact with the road, even on pavement ravaged by the most hideous winter in a generation. With fewer than 1,000 easy miles on the clock, the Pilot Sport Cups are reasonably quiet and deliver fantastic grip. As far as acceleration is concerned, there is supreme linearity between throttle input and the engine’s reaction, with great rushes of power thrusting the car forward with impressive force. In that regard, it feels essentially identical to a ZR1.

All in all, the 25th Anniversary B2K does both Chevrolet and Callaway proud. The unique exterior parts, interior trim and special badging establish this car’s credentials without being ostentatious. And in keeping with Callaway tradition, its performance is right at the pointy end of things, exactly where we’d expect it to be.