For Sale: Callaway Sledgehammer – once world’s fastest car

November 21, 2013

Long before the Bugatti Veyron came along, a car from 1988 going by the name of the Callaway Sledgehammer held the record for the fastest road legal car with a top speed of over 400km/h.

Callaway Sledgehammer Mecum auction

Based on the Chevrolet Corvette of the same year, the Sledgehammer was designed purely to conquer land speed records. It features a handmade 5.7-litre NASCAR-type V8 engine using two T04B turbochargers, Mahle pistons, forged conrods, and two intercoolers. It produces a colossal 670kW and 1047Nm.

It was, up until 1999, the world’s fastest street legal car with a top speed of 410km/h. The car achieved the record at the Ohio Transportation Research Center.

In terms of getting up to the aviation-like top speed, getting there is just as exciting. 0-100km/h is dispatched in just 3.9 seconds while the quarter mile is covered in just 10.6 seconds. Let’s not forget this is a street legal car with rear-wheel drive, and from 1988.

Callaway Sledgehammer Mecum auction-rear

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Callaway hasn’t just fitted a monster engine to a Corvette to achieve the record speed though. There’s also a bespoke body with special panels and bumper bars to help the ‘Vette cut through the air during extreme speeds.

Other highlights include custom suspension with a lowered ride height and Koni dampers, 17-inch Dymag alloy wheels, as well as luxuries like the factory air-conditioning unit and sound system.

A fine example of the beast, as pictured here, will go up for auction on January 24 at a Mecum’s auction event. Head over to the original Mecum lot listing for more details.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.