Car Feature: Charlie Miller’s Immaculate Opulent Blue CTS-V Wagon

When the second generation CTS-V debuted, the crowning jewel was the addition of a coupe to the lineup, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. When Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman at the time, was asked about the possibility of adding a wagon to the high-powered lineup in 2009, he replied, “Should sufficient demand materialize, there is no reason why we couldn’t do a V-Series wagon, and I would be standing in line for one, just ahead of you.”

Fast forward to the 2010 New York International Auto Show, Cadillac debuted the beautiful 5-door supercharged V8 Sport Wagon. The CTS Sport Wagon looked so good, it would’ve been dumb of GM to not produce a V-series Sport Wagon variant. We’re glad they did, though, and we’re even happier that Charlie Miller bought one and had his way with it.

Miller owns and operates a custom landscape business, but when he’s not tending to greenery, he’s out and about wreaking havoc at the track and on the streets in his beautiful Opulent Blue Metallic widebody CTS-V Sport Wagon.

Wagon Envy

The second-generation CTS-V design came a long way from the first-generation. The first-gen CTS-V was a nice car, but it looked bland and unexciting to the naked eye, almost like it could be any other ordinary CTS with a mesh grille and different factory wheels. To compete with leading foreign premium brands and their high-powered sport models, Cadillac needed to make the second-gen CTS-V stand out. With new suspension technology, a supercharged LSA engine, beautiful angular styling, and many more refinements, Cadillac did just that.

Before the Sport Wagon debuted, Miller had a 2009 Radiant Silver Metallic CTS-V Sedan that received a pulley and a tune for starters. After catching the mod bug, Miller installed just about every bolt-on besides cylinder heads. Miller drove the sedan for a good while before the wagon variant hit the streets. It wasn’t long until he came across this CTS-V Sport Wagon for sale on CTSVOwners.com and knew he had to have it.

Miller already had his Sedan up for sale when he spotted the Sport Wagon, and he aggressively pursued the car until he and the owner settled on a reasonable price that suited both parties. “The main selling point to the car was the Opulent Blue Metallic color and the Canepa widebody. I love the wagon because I think it is so cool and different,” Miller explained.

Once the car arrived from California, Miller immediately wanted to start upgrading it. “When I bought this car I took it directly to my mechanic and started tearing it down,” he commented.

Wide Load

If you take a look at Miller’s V-Wagon, you’ll notice that it’s not the average Caddy. First of all, The Opulent Blue Metallic is a rare color for the CTS-V line, but it’s even more rare to see the color on a Sport Wagon. Secondly, if you haven’t noticed yet, the car has the aforementioned beautiful, simple, yet aggressive Canepa widebody kit that emphasizes the angular lines of the car. Although the flares aren’t molded into the body, the widebody kit looks as if it could be factory.

Miller bought his V-Wagon with the kit already installed and paint-matched, but buying a car sight unseen except for in pictures, was a little bit of a gamble. When the car arrived from California, there were a few cracks in the fender flares and a few rock chips in the paint. Miller got all of that sorted shortly after he got the car. Even though he drives it daily and hauls his family around in it, Miller likes to keep it looking as perfect as he can. Believe it or not, he has actually never driven it in the rain, and every time he gets it on a lift, he wipes down the undercarriage to ensure that every area of the car is clean – now, that’s dedication.

The suspension setup on Miller’s long and wide Caddy is a system that is becoming more and more common for CTS-Vs – KW Suspension‘s Hydraulic Lift System. The system utilizes KW V3 coilovers, and a hydraulic cylinder is installed between spring plate and springs of each KW strut, allowing the driver to change the ride height for getting over speed bumps and into steep driveways, all without affecting the spring rate of the coilover. Pretty trick, right?

The Cadillac rides on a set of Weld Racing S77B wheels measuring 18 x 5.5-inches up front with MH Racemaster 185/50/18 tires and 18 x 12-inches out back wrapped in MH 345/35/18 drag radials, but those are just his track wheels and tires.

Image Source: Canepa

For street driving, Miller relies on a set of HRE P40 wheels that are significantly larger than his wheel setup for the track – 19 x 11-inches up front and 20 x 13-inches in the rear. The HRE P40s are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports measuring 285/40/19 for the fronts and 345/30/20 for the rears. You could say that the tread-to-pavement ratio is on point.

Sitting behind the wheels are the factory 6-piston and 4-piston Brembo calipers that squeeze R1 drilled and slotted rotors with Hawk carbon-ceramic brake pads to bring the car to a standstill in a matter of seconds. There’s no shortage of stopping power on this longroof!

Under The Hood

Powering the CTS-V Sport Wagon is the LSA 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that we’ve all come to know and love, but you didn’t think Miller would keep it all factory, do you?

For starters, Miller obtained a Weapon X Motorsports Reaper Stage 2 camshaft and CNC-ported Trick Flow cylinder head package from Ben Herndon at Weapon X as well as some Injector Dynamics ID850 injectors to ensure there’s no shortage of fuel getting to the cylinders. Cold, fresh air enters the engine through a G-force cold air intake system with a Green filter secured to the end, and a Nick Williams 102-mm billet throttle body.

Miller also had the supercharger snout ported and added a ZL1 lid to squeeze out some extra power. To add a little flare under the hood, Eric Nash powdercoated the lid and intake tube in a nice silver/grey color. To keep the supercharger happy and ensure that temps stay low under the hood, a Weapon X double-wide heat exchanger is employed.

Miller wasn’t just going to leave the factory exhaust manifolds on with all of the new hardware, so he opted for some 2-inch primary American Racing Headers long-tube pipes that feed a catless 3-inch crossover pipe, ultimately connecting to the stock cat-back exhaust to give the perfect balance of power and sound. After all, it is a daily-driver.

With all of the new hardware bolted to the LSA and a healthy tune by Jeremy Formato of Fasterproms Tuning, the output at the rear wheels is a stout 681 horsepower and 646 pound-feet of torque – more than enough for a kid-hauling daily-driver! All of that power gets to the stock rearend through the stock transmission, converter, and driveshaft. Even the rear half-shafts are stock. Try doing that on a first-generation CTS-V…

With 681 horsepower and 646 pound-feet of torque at the rear tires, you’re probably wondering how fast Miller’s V-Wagon is at the strip. At the Holley LS Fest held at the Beech Bend Raceway Park last September, Miller achieved a time of 10.85 at 127.55 miles per hour in the quarter mile. November of 2014 is where the car really shined, though, and Miller bested his old time with a 10.30 at 134.56 at Maryland International Raceway – not too shabby for a wagon, eh?

“I don’t think I will ever sell this car. It is the perfect balance of speed and comfort. I can go 180 miles per hour one moment and the next be cruising in traffic getting 20 miles per gallon. Or drive three hours to Ocean City, Maryland for the Spring Car Cruise, beat on the car and drive back without being worried it is going to blow up,” Miller stated.

Miller isn’t done with his V-Wagon by any means. In fact, the car is in the shop right now receiving an ice box mounted in the trunk, upgraded sway bars, a Squash fuel system upgrade to run E85, Formato heat reduction spacers, electronic exhaust cutouts, Weapon X carbon fiber foglight inlets, and Injector Dynamics ID1300 injectors to feed the E85 into the cylinders.

Without the help from Chad Elder at Moonlight Automotive burning the midnight oil, Jeremy Formato of Fasterproms handling the final tuning, and Ben Herndon at Weapon X for helping out with parts, Miller’s CTS-V Sport Wagon wouldn’t sit how it does today. We can’t wait to see how Miller’s V-Wagon reacts to the upgrades that are currently being installed. Also, we’d like to congratulate Miller for having one of the most badass CTS-V Sport Wagons we’ve seen to date. Keep up the awesome work, Charlie!

Photo gallery

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About the author

Josh Kirsh

Born in Van Nuys, Raised in Murrieta, Joshua Kirsh is a SoCal Native. With a love for anything on wheels since the ripe young age of two, Joshua Managed to turn his love for automobiles into a career. As Power Automedia's newest writer, he plans to bring you some of the industry's hottest news topics while he's not out in the shop wrenching on some of our badass in-house project builds.
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