In the beginning, there were underpowered sports cars. The energy crises of the early 1970's, subsequent lower compression ratios, and crude, first generation emission controls had combined to emasculate performance cars to the extent that enthusiasts were in despair.
Enter Reeves Callaway. In 1973, Reeves was a young man who found himself unable to continue his racing career, even after winning the National Championship in SCCA's Formula Vee. He simply didn't have the money. It was a difficult time for the young man just voted as one of the best of the new crop of SCCA racing drivers that year. Reeves was considered to have had the best pair of hands in Formula Car racing of any of the young American drivers. Contemporaries were notables such as Rick Mears and Emerson Fittipaldi.
Given his options, Reeves did what many race car drivers do; he went to work as a driving instructor. Working for Bob Bondurant, he became quite familiar with the intricacies and deficiencies of the 3-Series BMW. As the demo tour for BMW wound down, Reeves asked for and got one of the BMW 320i school cars with the intention of tuning for more power. Reeves had acquired a great many skills in his pursuit of becoming a professional race car driver. Among them were engine building, chassis tuning and component fabrication. Plus, he had the advantage of a great education, having received a BFA degree from Amherst College in 1970. Reeves knew that he could help the BMW in the horsepower department and took the 320i home to the garage behind his house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
In the solitude that only inventor/craftsman types know, Reeves constructed and installed his first prototype turbocharger system. Don Sherman of Car and Driver found out about the car and arranged for a drive. He wrote a one-page article describing how exciting the car was with the new-found power. Don inadvertently made it appear that Callaway was set to deliver turbocharger kits to the BMW community. The truth was that Reeves didn't even have a drill press, much less any of the real means to produce the components. It wasn’t very long before BMW turbo system orders began to pour in and Reeves’ racer resourcefulness was again valuable. Soon, Reeves and his friends were working at the house, in the garage, machining and assembling beautifully fabricated components, keeping up with the demand.
That was the genesis of a corporate philosophy that still applies today. There in stoic, rural New England, was born the Callaway tradition of development of the superior technical solution, with uncompromised engineering refinement, attention to aesthetics, and sophistication of end product.
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