About Our Founder

Callaway Cars Founder and CEO, Ely Reeves Callaway III, passed away on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at his home in Newport Beach, California, from injuries sustained after a fall.

Reeves was a legendary figure in the world of high-performance automobiles. Entirely self-taught, Reeves founded the company in 1977 from his garage in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

His first product success was an aftermarket turbocharger kit for BMW applications, which renowned automotive journalist Don Sherman reviewed favorably that year in Car and Driver magazine. The rest was history as Reeves, a Formula Vee champion driver prior to becoming a constructor, moved with his customary speed to open Callaway Cars’ first headquarters in Old Lyme.

During the following four decades, Reeves and Callaway Cars continued to earn top accolades from media, the automotive industry, and the global motorsports world as a pioneer of “Powerfully Engineered Automobiles”. His unique performance and design innovations have delivered track and road-going successes for global marques, including BMW, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Land Rover, Mazda and General Motors, who looked to Callaway’s innovation, creativity, agility, and performance to help accomplish their goals.

Reeves is perhaps best known for his work with Corvette, a deep, high-level relationship with the American sports car manufacturer that began in 1987 and culminated with two industry firsts:
• The Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette “B2K” designation, a factory RPO code to signify the GM stamp of approval to permit sale and distribution of the Callaway Corvette via the Chevrolet Dealer network which, in turn, earned Callaway Cars the rare honor of becoming designated a Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer.
• The second was a world-first record: in 1989, Callaway Cars built a Twin Turbo Corvette, dubbed “The Sledgehammer” that blew away all the competition by setting a production-car top speed record of 254.76 mph. Not until 2010, 21 years later, did Bugatti break Callaway’s record with a Veyron Super Sport.

In 1994, Reeves launched a Germany-based racing unit, Callaway Competition, with partners Ernst Wöhr and Giovanni Ciccone. International recognition was achieved by their successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and later a European GT racing team which ultimately led to authorization by GM to construct and homologate C6- and C7-generation GT3 race cars for international competition.

More recently, Reeves was the driving force in the evolution of a series of supercharged Callaway road cars, pickups and SUVs. These Callaway-branded vehicles sport engineering innovation, breathtaking horsepower and tasteful aesthetics – hallmarks of Reeves’ design philosophy. With integrated componentry, insistence on regulatory compliance and OEM-level quality, Reeves’ son, Pete, now carries on his legacy, ensuring that these products maintain Callaway-level excellence.

Reeves’ vision, creativity, and innovation encompassed not only automotive engineering, but aviation and aerospace as well with Callaway Carbon, Inc. A longtime helicopter pilot and Board Director for Kaman Corporation, Reeves was in recent years a founding adviser to a hydrogen-powered and composite-intensive, blended-wing aircraft start-up with funding from NASA and the Air Force.

The first son of Ely Reeves Callaway, Jr., the founder of Callaway Golf, and brother of publisher Nicholas Callaway, Reeves proudly epitomized the entrepreneurial Callaway family tradition of making the finest goods that enhance an individual’s enjoyment, performance and lifestyle.

 


Reeves Callaway 1947-2023

Ely Reeves Callaway III