Over the last century, the makeup of car enthusiasts has shown to be as varied as their machines. It’s not just the usual lot of oil-laden mechanics and hot-rodders, it may be the guy or girl next door, or any unassuming individual baring no outward hint to their inner-most automotive demons. This is the story of one such man and his chosen steed. By weekday, he’s a mild-mannered accident attorney and auxiliary cop. By the weekend, he’s a bar owner, who drives one of the most powerful, fastest, and best-performing American cars ever made.
Coming of Age
Fifty-year-old Long Island native, Regis Gallet, professes to be a car guy since childhood. He credits genetics, saying he was born with it. Growing up through the 1970s and ’80s, Matchbox cars eventually led to the real thing. His first ride was a 1983 Volkwagon Rabbit, followed by its more performance-focused alter-ego, an ’84 GTI. After that, there was an ’88 IROC Camaro and a couple of 944 Porsches, to name a few. Regis defines himself as a cruiser. Whether at Chaminade HS St John’s University or Touro Law School, he was always cruising his cars. As Regis puts it, “it’s a lifestyle.”
In 2010, Regis tied the knot with his lovely wife, Christi. She was his co-car-conspirator and steered him toward his first late model, high-performance offering, a brand new, fifth-gen Camaro SS. Regis recalls perusing the Bow Tie dealer’s lot for a Malibu, until Christi overruled, suggesting the latest pony car instead. Fortunately, this was not her last rebuttal, but more on that later.
A Gentleman’s Hot Rod
Regis rocked his bad, black Camaro SS for a few years but needed a change. Multiple factors were at work, including the pony car’s low-slung cockpit, submarine-like sightline, and impracticality for New York winters. Regis’s tastes were changing, too. His interests were drawn to another kind of performance car, a more sophisticated machine – gentleman’s hot rod, if you will.
Being the methodical lawyer that he is, Regis did his research well, and in 2013, one car seemed to check all the boxes: it was the Chrysler 300 SRT8. Regis went with beautiful pearl white with the black chrome group, which added a black chrome grille surround and 20-inch wheels to match.
Regis and his inconspicuous Chrysler laid down the law for a couple of years until, once again, he was ready to move on. It was early 2015, and the Hellcat was the talk of the land. Regis was intrigued and saw no problem staying with a Mopar. Especially one with luxury amenities and 707 supercharged ponies to boot.
His vote was not unanimous, though, as his wife testified. She remembers viewing a Super Bowl commercial depicting a new sports car-like Cadillac. She felt her hubby should take a look, so, listening to his wife’s deposition, Regis did just that.
Standard of the World
Based on the super-rigid Alpha platform, shared with sixth-Gen Camaro, the ’16 CTS-V3 was the most powerful Cadillac ever built and stands as one of GM’s most powerful cars ever,period. Equipped with the C7 Z06’s LT4 motor, the CTS-V3 wields 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft supercharged power through an eight-speed, paddle-shifted automatic transmission (8L90). In addition, it features multiple drive modes, performance traction management, Magnetic Ride Control, a carbon-fiber hood, and aero-optimized bodywork, to name a few features.
It was conceived and built as a true dual-purpose machine: a sophisticated and refined luxury sedan and a track-ready weapon in one. Capable of 1-g lateral acceleration, 0-60-mph in 3.5-seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph, the CTS-V3 is world-class and world-beating. Its mission was to take on its Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW-M, and Audi RS adversaries. Needless to say, Regis had to have one.
Made to Order
Once Regis’s mind was set, he realized this was no open and shut case. New ’16 CTS-Vs were not crowding dealer’s lots like truckloads of Corollas. Instead, they were great cars, meant to be rare and to be ordered. So, that’s precisely what he did. Regis called King O’Rourke Cadillac in Smithtown, New York, following a GM dealer buddy lead to spec out his V right over the phone.
Regis did his homework and wanted no regrets. He specified Crystal White Tricoat with all available options.
His decision includes:
- Polished 19-inch forged aluminum wheels
- Power moonroof
- Recaro performance seats
- Alcantara-covered steering wheel/shifter
- Performance data/video recorder
- Gold Brembo calipers
- Carbon-fiber package that provides the exposed-weave race-derived material on a larger front splitter, hood vent, rear diffuser, and taller rear spoiler
Investigation and Instigation
With the wait on, Regis kept track of his order. Finally, he received confirmation from Caddy, but no set build date or target production week (TPW). Production was supposed to begin in early summer, but this was delayed more than once. As the days and weeks passed, Regis sweated out his mandatory sentence. With the dealer clueless, he decided to represent himself.
Regis wanted the truth about his V-Caddy; he could handle the truth. So he Google-searched and stalked (his word) the internet for Cadillac executive’s contact info. Not surprisingly, he came across the Facebook page of none other than Johan de Nysschen, then President of Cadillac.
Regis couldn’t message Caddy’s boss directly but found his FB friends list, including Johan’s now late mother. Regis politely introduced himself and pleaded his case about his V. Johan’s mom didn’t have direct answers, but she assured Regis her son Johan was aware of him and his plight.
Regis went further. He emailed additional Caddy big-wigs, trying to coerce a confession. He even went as far as threatening to cancel his order and buy a more readily available BMW M5, the CTS-V’s arch-nemesis.
Finally, after five months of V-less confinement, Regis got word that his super sedan was on its way. Regis says, “It was love at first sight when he first laid eyes on it.” He was informed that his 2016 CTS-V was the first delivered in the state, and the 17th built and fitted with the Carbon-Fiber package (CFZ). Considering the low number of firsst-year CTS-V3s produced (1,887-1,345 in the U.S.), Regis’s example is one rare and exclusive machine.
Ready and Waiting
Regis was so prepared for the arrival of his CTS-V that he impressed the dealer by having his vanity license plate “BADILLAC” ready to go upon delivery.
Protection and Personalization
With more horsepower and torque than he could handle, Regis put a suspended sentence on power-adders, deciding to first add some aesthetic insurance. Applied by Detailing Dynamics in Mineola, NY, the exterior barrier includes XPEL Paint Protection Film (PPF) over the hood, front fascia, mirrors, doors, rocker panels, rear wheel arches, and carbon-fiber. This was followed by a full-body XPEL Fusion Plus Ceramic coating application, including the wheels/brake calipers and all glass.
A creative lightbulb flickered above Regis’s head, with the V’s pearlescent hue gleaming and impervious. Acknowledging Caddy’s masterpiece, he still felt the need to personalize his super sedan. For this labor of love, he went with his gut and the talented team at Detailing Dynamics. Regis started slow, having the engraved “V” on his factory wheels painted red.
Regis said, “I kept it looking stock for a couple of years.” But then, like a 4,145-pound 640-horse Cadillac, things got rolling. New shoes were first. Regis put the stock rollers in the garage, and on went a set of Bastille Copper Niche Forged wheels with white body-color accents. Next, he one-upped the size, with 20x9s in front and 20x10s rear, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S XL rubber, 255/35ZR20s in front/295/30ZR20s out back.
The copper wheels started an avalanche of ideas. Soon, copper-colored vinyl trim accents were custom formed, cut, and applied to the hood, mirrors, and ground effects. Next, the shiny window trim was darkened gloss black, and carbon-fiber sill extensions were added for good and aero-effect.
Now came the cockpit and under-hood. More body color was applied to the steering wheel, instrument pod, dash, and door trim, while the center console received a copper color. The shroud, battery/fuse box cover, and strut tower brace were all shot to match in the engine bay. The center section of the rear diffuser eventually followed suit, and inside, diamond-pattern leather floor liners were added for classy protection.
Next, Regis didn’t want the factory carbon-fiber package and added sill extensions to get lonely, so he had the lower front fascia induction ports and side mirrors replaced with exposed weave pieces.
With the lion’s share of exterior and interior customizing done, Regis then addressed the V-Caddy’s meager power output and tame exhaust note. Again, he decided to go mild rather than wild, installing a Roto-Fab cold air-induction (CAI) and Stainless Works, full 3-inch mandrel-bent cat-back exhaust. The new rumble system replaces the large single stock muffler with a pair of tuned units. They feature factory-like, electronic dual-mode (tour/track) valves in a quartet of polished, slash-cut tips.
The air mods improved breathing and enhanced the blower whine and exhaust growl to biblical proportions. A late friend who spoke to the V’s computer via Superchips handheld programmer tuned the PCM and gave Regis an educated guess that his CTS-V had moved out of the 650 horsepower neighborhood and closer to a more exclusive 700 horsepower arena.
Regis wasn’t done yet. He admired the lighting features applied to some tuner cars and had a unique idea in mind. An Internet search uncovered an automotive lighting specialist in North Carolina who shared his vision. The plan was to create custom Lexan overlays for the CTS-V’s badges that would allow a lighting element to illuminate them upon electronic request.
Regis purchased all-new badges and door sill plates for the artist. Working in bulk, all pieces were returned to Regis in four weeks, ready for installation. Once again, Detailing Dynamics handled the tasks of applying the badges and wiring everything nice and clean.
With all said and done, the front and rear Caddy crests, door sill plates, V-badges, and even the rear diffuser deflectors, can all glow with the flick of a switch or by smartphone app command. As luminescent icing under the cake, Regis had light bars mounted under the front, rear, sides, and the suspension to illuminate the wheel wells and entire perimeter of the car.
Regis’s CTS-V has lived a charmed life. After putting about 8,500-miles on the clock in the first two years of ownership, the odometer stands at 9,700 to date. So it’s been a love affair, alright. Regis admits to relegating his super sedan’s use to dry weather cruising in spring, summer, and early fall. As for mods, he says he’s done. And let there be no mistake, Regis may be an accident attorney by trade, but the detailed setup he applied to his CTS-V was no accident.