Monogram Callaway Corvette Speedster
A steal, if you can find it
The lime green paint is outrageous. The wrap-around windshield looks like the strip of cellophane that you rip off the top of a candy bar. The interior, only slightly less outrageous than the paint, is electric blue pigskin accented by the Speedster script logo in mellow yellow. The Callaway Speedster is a wild car.” So states the introductory paragraph of the 45-step instruction sheet for Monogram’s Callaway Speedster kit.
When the 1/1 scale aftermarket tuner Callaway introduced a special, topless version of its twin-turbo Corvette conversion in 1991, it garnered considerable coverage in the “buff books” of the era. Painted a trendy lime/mint green pearl metallic, the prototype was eye-catching with its lowered windscreen that carried around into abbreviated racing-style side windows. The twin-turbo, smallblock, Corvette engine carried a factory-ship-through code (RPO B2K) and generated 403 net horsepower that delivered performance similar to the high-dollar European exotics of the day.
By the early 1990s, kitmaker Monogram had largely erased its 1970s reputation for somewhat simplified and easily assembled kits that sometimes lacked accuracy in body proportions. One of the key steps along the transformation was the mid-1980’s introduction of the company’s C4 Corvette coupe (and later, convertible) 1/24 scale kits.
The Monogram product development team saw the Callaway Speedster as a logical addition to the C4 Corvette kit range, as well as a great opportunity to polish credentials as a state-of-the-art kit design and manufacturing organization. While sharing much of the content with Monogram’s 1991 Corvette convertible kit (and to a smaller extent, its ZR-1), the kit also included many newly tooled parts and assemblies.
Model car journalist and historian Dennis Doty reviewed the new Monogram kit in his April 1993 issue of
He noted numerous newly tooled engine and engine compartment components, a new frame and floor pan assembly, and, of course, the all-new Speedster body featuring open lower side vents. Noting only the omission of Callaway decals for the wheels, Dennis concluded his review by stating, “I love this kit!”
Recalling the first time I broke the seal on a Callaway Speedster kit, I was impressed — indeed, almost overwhelmed — with the effort Monogram expended on this replica. Looking at the kit three decades later, I find my initial reaction still holds. Only the kit’s dark green styrene and overly tinted gray translucent parts trees (and possibly the tires) would be considered negatives from today’s perspective.
Reportedly, no more than 10 of the real twin-turbo Callaway Speedsters were produced, making the 1/1 scale prototype a very rare piece even back then. I suspect the kit did not sell all that well, and the lack of reissues, along with the almost embarrassingly low price of the kit today, certainly reinforces that view.
However, stated another way, this highly detailed and extraordinarily well-executed Monogram Callaway Speedster may now rank among the best all-time values in highly detailed, collectible Corvette kits.
MONOGRAM CALLAWAY CORVETTE SPEEDSTER Kit No.: 2958
Introduced: 1992, never reissued Current Value: $16