Ultra-Rare, One-Of-Two Callaway SuperNatural CR-1 Corvettes Up For Sale

When it comes to the collectability of C4 Corvettes, there are a couple of nameplates that rise to the surface. Monikers such as the ZR-1 with its LT5 engine, Callaway Corvettes, both in B2K and SuperNatural form and a handful of others will continue to carry their value amid this 12-year run of Corvette production.

It’s a fair price on a great car! – Chris Chessnoe, Callaway Cars Inc.

You would do well to find any of these nameplates in your garage, but what if you were able to contain them all in one auto? That’s exactly what an enthusiastic owner did, way back when he ordered this particular 1991 Corvette new through Malcom Konnor Chevrolet in New Jersey. He purchased the car as a 375-horsepowered ZR-1 Corvette and then shortly afterward, shipped it off to the folks at Callaway Cars in Old Lyme, Connecticut for them to work their magic.

All CR-1s had the Aerobody upgrade. The owner chose a red hue slightly darker than the original color and purposely had the rub strip painted red, which originally would have been black. Photo: Richard Prince Photography

With approximately 5,000 miles on the clock, this ZR-1 was on its way to becoming one of the famed Callaway CR-1 Corvettes. The Callaway nameplate had entrenched itself in Corvettes previously with their B2K package, which entailed installation of twin-turbos on the L98 (Tuned Port) engine. The B2K package was available through any Chevrolet dealer, and stands as the only dealer-offered option package that was not directly from Chevrolet.

The interior was treated to a custom leather interior of the owner's choosing. Subsequent stitching declared the work done by Callaway and also contains "CR-1" embroidery on the seat backs. Photos: Richard Prince Photography

With the advent of both the LT1 and the LT5 engine, Callaway decided to utilize the engine’s improved breathing capabilities and not use turbocharging to boost the engine’s performance. Known as SuperNaturals, the engines in these cars were upgraded with higher-performing parts that went beyond the capabilities of what Chevrolet could provide. The LT1 cars were known as CL-1s and the LT5-engined cars were known as CR-1s, a nod to the LT5’s ZR1 RPO code.

The CR-1 featured the high-winding LT5 engine. Note the CR-1 logo. Photo: Richard Prince Photography

There were several items from Callaway that were required to carry either the CL-1 or CR-1 status. One of which was the super-slippery Callaway Aerobody package. Another was a total refurbishment of the engine to Callaway specs, which for this car, consisted of the LT5 Engine Performance Package. The engine package included a blueprinted engine assembly with forged crank, rods and pistons, a set of special Callaway cams placed in ported Callaway head assemblies, mated to a ported intake and high-flow induction. The engine then received a Callaway tune to make the assembly work to optimum levels.

Corvette Chief Engineer, Dave McLellan (right) and Gordon Killebrew (left) pose with the owner and his CR-1 Corvette.

This particular CR-1 is special in that the entire car was treated to the Callaway catalog. Not only was the body and engine massaged at the hands of Callaway’s craftsmen, but also the interior, exhaust and chassis received their handiwork. Known as “full boat” cars, or cars which received EVERYTHING Callaway Cars had to offer, they were quite rare, even back then. In fact, only TWO “full-boat” CR-1 cars were ever known to exist, the other being an Aqua Blue example.

The time frame that this particular car was given the “full-boat” treatment occurred in two phases. First, the car was shipped to Callaway Cars’ facility in ’92 for the first round which included the base CR-1 conversion to 475-horsepower status. Also, as part of the initial conversion, the car was smoothed with the Aerobody panels, received the full Connolly leather-wrapped interior with Wilton rugs and a four-point, leather-wrapped roll-bar.

The complete interior was covered in tan leather, including the four-point roll-bar. Photo: Richard Prince Photography

Then, in 1993, the car returned to receive the upgraded Brembo brakes (with auxiliary parking brake), coilover suspension, single-mass flywheel and clutch and Callaway’s header-cat assembly that peaked performance to 490 horsepower. These modifications rounded out the Callaway options list available on the CR-1 Corvettes.

The car was sent to Callaway's shop in Old Lyme Connecticut for all modifications, which also included coilovers and Brembo brakes.

Rare In Name Also

Possessing all the options makes for a rare CR-1, but don’t feel badly if you’ve never heard of one before. That’s because only the earliest SuperNatural cars were called either CL-1 or CR-1s. Shortly after production began, the decision was made to simply call them SuperNaturals, in keeping with their naturally-aspirated form. The decision to just use the term SuperNatural and stop using CL-1 or CR-1 means that there are only a few cars that can call themselves that by name. Chris Chessnoe from Callaway said there are less than a dozen CR-1 cars produced during this time. That makes them pretty rare indeed.

Lightweight Dymag wheels and Brembo brakes round out the corners. Photo: Richard Prince Photography

This particular car has only had one owner, but this is not his only Callaway. Being a true enthusiast, he has enjoyed “Powerfully Engineered Automobiles” all along the way. He also owns a B2K (both the twin-turbo’d and supercharged 25th Anniversary type), as well as several other of the company’s offerings. Parting with the super-rare CR-1 will simply make room for another one of Callaway’s creations. Being a CR-1 meant that he was also welcomed into the ZR-1 Registry, and was quite active back in the day with this group as well.

The car has just under 37,000 miles on the odometer. Photo: Richard Prince Photography

Currently, the car is listed on the Callaway Owner’s Group web page and the listing, gives the entire breakdown of the car’s build statistics. Whether you are a fan of either the Callaway line of cars or the ZR-1 Corvette, this car is definitely worth checking out. And, if you’re one of those truly blessed individuals who are able to take advantage of this offer, you’ll surely get a fair price on a great, ultra-rare car and be able to enjoy many of the highlights of the C4 era, all in this one Corvette!

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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