Callaway SC757 Z06 AeroWagen first drive: Baby got back…



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There has probably never been a supercar about which someone hasn’t said, “That’d look better as a shooting brake.” A shooting brake is in the same family as the station wagon, what hot-rodders would call a “long roof;” some purists argue a true shooting brake has to have a wagon back but only two side doors. Either way, it’s usually used to refer to a truly special car.

There have been shooting-brake versions of everything from the Sultan of Brunei’s Ferrari 456 and the famous Bizzarrini-built Breadvan Ferrari 250 GT SWB to various Bentleys and Astons Martin. Why do owners do this? Some no doubt really do want the added utility of a wagon in a car that can perform with the best in the world. Others? Maybe it’s like the old joke about the dog –- they do it because they can.

Callaway Aerowagen roof detail

Aerowagen is the German spelling because Callaway also sells cars in Europe through its German shop. Photo by Drew Phillips

Back in ancient times, the idea with this body configuration was that you could load your shotguns and your hunting dogs in the back and go out on the estate and hunt for quail and pheasant (all the while hoping the dogs didn’t get ahold of the guns and demand better chew treats). Shooting brakes were utilitarian versions of their owners’ favorite sports cars, and now there is a shooting-brake version of one of the greatest sports cars ever to grace a racetrack: the Callaway Corvette.

How did this happen? So there we were …

“Our designer, Paul Deutschman, and Pete (Callaway, son of Reeves) and Mike Zoner (managing director of Callaway Cars) and I were all sitting around saying, ‘What can we do for the C7,” recalls company founder Reeves Callaway. “Because the design of that car is very elegant as it is, we said, ‘We don’t need to rebody this car like some of the ones of the past. So what could we do that nobody else has done?”

A shooting brake, naturally.

“Paul came up with the idea of entering into the shooting brake realm by extending the back of the car,” said Reeves. “We loved the drawings. And we said, ‘Gee, that’s probably just the right thing. We preserve the integrity of the whole design, just augment it with this optional station wagonish kind of back.”

Room to burn!

Room to burn! But not enough for a back seat. Photo by Drew Phillips

That was way back in 2013. They released some drawings, some mild internet-commenter controversy ensued, but no new brake arrived, shooting or otherwise. They were busy with other tasks. This item would be carbon fiber, and Callaway makes carbon-fiber pieces for all kinds of applications, from cars to spacecraft. So when they finally got a little caught up on the carbon work, they started building their own shooting brake. What you see here is, at long last, the first one.

Not only is it made of carbon fiber, it has many advantages over the back half of the stock Z06.

“There’s no downside,” said Reeves. “It’s an aerodynamic improvement, it’s a slight weight-neutral (within a pound of the stock ZO6) and it’s a volume improvement. And it’s plug-and-play: It bolts right on the same hardware, the same latch point, the same gasket, everything.”

Exactly how much more volume there is over the 15 cubic feet of cargo volume found under the stock C7’s rear hatch isn’t on the spec sheet. Reeves says it “adds a third golf bag.” You can still carry only two golfers, however — even an AeroWagen doesn’t give you enough room for rudimentary back seats. But a glance over your shoulder from the driver’s seat suggests a “significant” volume increase.

Another claimed improvement that doesn’t show up as a quantified item on the spec sheet is aerodynamic.

“Not downforce. It’s a drag reduction,” said Reeves. “You know about the Kamm effect? Any car that ends in a more vertical, squared-off back end benefits from what’s called the Kamm effect. And this does that. The airflow stays attached rather than (behaving the way it does with) the (stock) back window, which sort of lets it depart.”

So in theory, the top speed should be higher, but again, that figure is not on the spec sheet, either.

The AeroWagen kit attaches to any Corvette C7 except the convertible, and we could have gotten any kind of C7 out there to drive. While just about any C7 would have been good, we hit the jackpot and got the mighty and all-conquering Z06. Out of the factory, the Z06 makes 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. That is admirable enough, but Callaway has never settled for admirable enough. The Z06 to which this first AeroWagen was bolted also came with the Callaway SC757 kit, which includes an Eaton 2300-cc TVS supercharger on top of the block, Callaway’s three-stage intercooler and low-restriction air-inlet system. That means the Z06 we drove made 757 hp and 777 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are downright Boeing in their impressive performance.

Callaway lists 0-60 in 2.7 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.5 at 131. That’s almost 2/10ths quicker to 60 than the stock Z06 and almost a half-second quicker in the quarter. How would it feel behind the wheel? We’d know soon enough.

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