Say all of the abominable things you appetite about the Cadillac CTS. Go ahead. It looks funny. It’s underpowered. It’s expensive. It has two doors too many. It’s not awfully sporting. Chevy doesn’t advertise it.
For backsides acclimatized to 400 horses account of thrust, and eyes accomplished to admit wedgey fourth-gen. F and Rubenesque C5 Vette profiles, the aloft criticisms may able-bodied administer to abounding account these words. However, accede that the CTS is additionally the aboriginal new non-Corvette rear-drive passenger-car belvedere GM has alien in this country aback … aback … well, aback the agent that the CTS replaced, the generally-unloved Opel-sourced Catera, came on the arena in ’96. (The new GTO absolutely shares anatomy architectonics with the asleep Catera … but I wouldn’t say that too loud if I were you.)
This speaks of astronomic achievement abeyant for this new CTS platform. It alone seemed accustomed that acceptable things can appear of it, and alike now, Cadillac is ablution an abhorrent on BMW with its CTS-V (see sidebar). Still, that comes two years afterwards the CTS’ antecedent how-do-you-do.
For Tom Osiecki, that 730-day amplitude was too continued to wait.
Tom, to his credit, didn’t do the GM affair and bead in a 405hp LS6 amid the shock towers. Nope, aback he took commitment of this ablaze CTS in March of ’03, arranged abounding of every accessible advantage save for accessory aeronautics and a sunroof, he larboard the abeyance and bodywork alone; efforts were concentrated beneath the hood, area Tom took his all-inclusive turbo Buick ability and experience, and accumulated the best abrupt hot rod of the division in a bare 40 days.
In the ’80s, Tom played with a turbo Dodge Conquest, and fifteen years ago assuredly traded up to his aboriginal T-Type. “It had a chip, a analysis tube and some ram air affair on it, and it ran 12.79.” From there, he was hooked. “I approved to get into artlessly aspirated big-blocks once, but I went a low 14 canyon and went aback to turbos.”
The agent you see actuality absolutely was congenital about four years ago. “I congenital a Mazda RX7 with a 3.8-liter turbo, and that affair went 11.30s at 124 all day long, 11.70s if you didn’t apperceive how to drive. Well, I figured, added cubes allegation be better, so I congenital a 4.1L Caddy V-6 block turbo.” Tom knows affluence of bodies who banter his accommodation to run the Caddy 4.1 block for the added cubes, but he’s had no problems. “A lot of builders don’t like to use the 4.1 unless it’s a Stage block; allegedly all of the approved 4.1s draft up. But I’ve done three of ’em, and I’ve had annihilation but acceptable luck. Bodies ask me, what’s the magic? There is no magic. They assignment fine.
“But I approved aggregate with the RX7, and I couldn’t go alike a hundredth quicker with added cubes! Assuredly we ample out the gearing was all wrong; you could alone get a 4.10 in the Mazda rear. I swapped the 3.8 aback in, and addition offered me an atrocious bulk of money for it.” And appropriately the altogether acceptable 4.1L sat in Tom’s shop, A-Alert Automotive, for added than two years.
Enter the CTS. “I about didn’t buy one–I was angry off by the interior. It’s so bland.” But afresh thoughts of bottomward that Buick V-6 apple-pie in started dancing in his head, and he couldn’t advice himself. The abstraction of architecture a car with additional genitalia lying about in his shop, about acceleration the banal vehicle’s power, was too abundant to let lie.
Physically, there were no problems bottomward the new-old angled Six and the 200-4R auto in–“I took a sledge to one wheelwell area the auto came aural a quarter-inch; I didn’t appetite annihilation to rub.” The mounts bare a bit of construction, however. “I had to accomplish the ascent brackets out of quarter-inch angle-iron, and use banal GN motor mounts; I had to accomplish the crossmember too.”
Tom claims to accept physically gotten the engine/trans admixture anchored in its new home in a weekend, and was afraid to see how accurately it all fit and formed together. “Even the ability council burden corrupt was a GN absolute t-on; it goes beeline from the pump to the rack-and-pinion unit, the accoutrement were alike the same. Incredible.”
There were two beyond challenges in the way: the driveshaft and the wiring. “No overheating, the A/C works fine, aggregate is as it should be, for the best part. Aback I bought it, they let me archetype the base diagrams out of the account manual, and I aloof spliced the GN being in to work. The Check Agent ablaze stays on because a lot of sensors are missing–all of it is agenda signal, and the banal CTS has four cam sensors and two crank sensors. Of advance they’re not acquainted in, so I alive with the light. But all of the gauges work; the acting gauge, oil pressure, all of it. Alike the cooling admirers are active through the Cadillac harness. I didn’t accept to jump any of it.
“The alone bug I had was in the accouter I used. Addition gave me a base accouter that was a little cut up; I anchored best of it. I started it appropriate up, and as it happened, the aing day was the anniversary Bowling Green event, so I threw it on the bivouac and went down. I didn’t alike drive it about the block. I get there, cull it off the trailer, and it’ll idle, but it won’t go. Turns out there’s no MAP signal–all 3 affairs were cut. That was the alone problem.”
And afresh there’s the driveshaft. He started with a branch GN piece, cut almost a foot. “Then we had to accomplish an adapter plate…the bond on the third affiliate has three ts; it comes with elastic accepted joints. We fabricated an adapter plate, but it was .040 off, so afresh we bare the driveshaft rebalanced. We eventually acclimated a bond from a ’78 Caddy animosity and interfaced it calm on the driveshaft.” Also, the branch 3.73s were yanked in favor of a 3.42 gear, aloof like GNs came with from the factory. The accomplished action took two continued weeks–doesn’t complete like much, but aback the agent itself is active aural a weekend, it’s an eternity.
A complete surgical-steel 3-inch bankrupt (featuring a no-name muffler, afresh begin aloof lying about the shop) is fed by the ATR headers, but Tom will be dispatch up to a accurate bifold bankrupt arrangement with crossover, apparently by the time you apprehend this. “I accept to accomplish it aloof a little bit quieter,” he says. Besides the amount of the new CTS itself, the bankrupt represented his alone cogent abroad amount for architecture what you see here.
Race weight clocks in about 3,900 pounds. “It’s a tank!” says Tom. The result? How about 419 rear-wheel horsepower, and 11.42/121mph allurement speeds? “It wasn’t declared to run this fast! This was alone declared to be a low 12 car! Afterwards all of those 100-mph stops, I angled the rotors and had to get all-new brakes.” We’re not abiding which is ballsier: the actuality that Tom tore afar a brand-new, $40,000 car to bead a 15-year-old agent in it, or the actuality that he’s activity mid-11s in it and active it daily. Either way, we’re applauding.
If you’ve been advantageous any attention, you’ve heard about Cadillac’s new CTS-V, with its Nurburgring-tuned abeyance and 405hp LS6 powerplant/6-speed stick powertrain combo. Think it’s not a big deal? Think some $50,000 auto can’t possibly affect your GM achievement leanings? Think again.
The CTS-V is important, both to Cadillac and to you, the GM achievement enthusiast. First, the CTS-V is Cadillac’s arch arresting yet that it’s accommodating to comedy hardball with European marques, like Mercedes and BMW. The CTS-V is set to according BMW M5-style performance, for about $30K beneath than Bavaria’s best. If that’s not an angel fix, we don’t apperceive what is. And with Cadillac’s contempo accomplish to bulge in our accepted culture, including the whodathunkit success of the Escalade, the CTS-V may accept a angry chance. Suddenly, Cadillac looks like amount in the exceptional bazaar for the aboriginal time in decades.
Second, what happens at Cadillac, area GM can allegation a exceptional for new technology, eventually trickles bottomward to the blow of the lineup. This includes the return, in force, of rear caster drive to the GM passenger-car lineup. With the rear-drive CTS and XLR already in place, and the SRX account and the Escalade clawing with all four wheels, that alone leaves the DeVille and Seville as the division’s abandoned front-drivers. And that will change in 2005 or so, aback the Seville (renamed STS) and DeVille replacements are redesigned and get rear-drive. GM can’t allow to accomplish a bespoke belvedere for any of its vehicles; alike the C6 Corvette shares its anatomy with the Northstar-powered XLR auto roadster. So it alone makes faculty that added capacity will allotment elements of Cadillac’s move to rear drive. Which models? Which divisions? Stay tuned.
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