THE V-FACTOR: Cadillac CTS-V Dream Car Attained

From 2009-’15, General Motors and Cadillac built some of the greatest cars in their combined, century-plus-long history. Known as the V2s, or the second-generation of Cadillac’s V-series cars, the CTS-V, sedan, coupe, and sport wagon quickly became LS-powered legends of their day.

I Gotta Get Me One of These

Back in early 2018, I was busy at work, compiling all-available information for my article, World War-V: A History of Cadillac’s V-series Cars, posted last April. During the weeks of extensive research, writing, interviewing and image sourcing, something happened to me — something that hadn’t happened since I was a kid.

I fell in love with a car and began to yearn for it, day and night. With every written word, every picture, video, and input from the individuals who had a hand in the conception and development of these awesome cars, I became ever more entranced.

Since I was the tender age of six, I’ve been a tried-and-true Pontiac man. I remember the $2.50 Saturday matinee in the summer of 1977, when I first saw Smokey and the Bandit and the iconic black and gold Trans Am. I proclaimed then, to all who would listen: “I’m gonna’ have a car like that someday.” And I did.

Well, it was happening again. The mere sight of the V2 cars, the sedans in particular, made my heart race. I began to contemplate how could I get one of these.

Gone-Goat

After the article was posted my V fever only increased in temperature. I could think of nothing else. I was obsessed. Much to my wife’s annoyance, every drive I had my eyes peeled like a hawk’s, looking for the unmistakable site of Caddy’s V2 super sedan. When spotting one of these rare beasts I would shout-out and point, like Columbus directing his ships toward land.

I began to plot and toil — there must be a way to get one. After all, “I deserved it,” I thought. Anyway, as mentioned, my Pontiac blood had been coursing for a long time. But now, GM’s “Wreath and Crest” division was about to make me part with one of my prized Ponchos.

Never would I relinquish my precious ’02 WS6 TA, acquired factory-fresh from Canada, way back in October of ’01. But as for my ’06 GTO? Don’t get me wrong, I loved my neo-Goat — an automatic Cyclone Gray car with an LS2 that pulled like nothing else and roared like a wild animal through the SLP LM2s exhaust. A truly incredible GT car, but if my V dream was to be realized, the GTO would have to go.

For starters, I placed an ad in the Pontiac Oakland Club International (POCI), known as Smoke Signals magazine, hoping that one of my Pontiac brethren would bite. But after three months and no interest, my hopes waned. And without cold, hard, cash in my pocket, I couldn’t exploit any V prospects.

By early 2019, I still had no offers and decided to give BringATrailer.com (BAT) a shot. I detailed the Goat and sent in my photos and information, thinking this would do the trick. But after much preparation, anticipation, and a week at auction, I only received heavy conversation and low ball offers. I was disappointed to say the least. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

My efforts on multiple online car sales sites also came-up short. I stressed that without the money from a GTO sale, I’d never acquire a V. But just then, the phone rang. The voice was friendly and anxious. He said, “Hello, my name is Sal, I’m a former L.I. GTO club member and I saw your GTO for sale in Smoke Signals magazine.”

My prayers had been answered. A real buyer and a Pontiac guy, to boot. To explain a long process short, Sal was calling from the sunshine state, but knew what he was doing and all about the ’06 GTO. He asked the right questions and had a friend come and inspect and test drive the car. By the end of March money was exchanged, the paperwork was kosher, and my beloved Goat was on a truck from New York to Florida.

Vision Quest

Now, with about half the money I needed, I got serious. Every night for an hour or two, I scoured the internet for a suitable CTS-V. I wanted a Thunder Gray sedan with the lowest possible mileage and in my price range, of course. With only a hair over 10,000 V2 sedans produced between 2009-’14, I focused my search on 2009-’11-built cars.

Days and then weeks passed. My internet regimen was all-encompassing now. My nose was on my phone so much, I felt like a teenage girl on Instagram. Well, not exactly. Finding the right car was easier said than done. Too many miles, wrong color, lacking my preferred options, or priced too high, all hampered my efforts. I briefly considered the edgy V coupe. But without a fully retractable sunroof, I still favored the four-door. I would not quit. A V2 sedan would be mine. I just hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

Then it happened. As I scanned all the usual sites, I was transfixed. A ’09 CTS-V sedan, dressed in sinister, raven black. Certainly not my first color choice, knowing the b**ch it is to keep nice. But, with only 28,850 miles, I was intrigued.

It was a fresh arrival at Suncoast Porsche/Audi/VW, in Sarasota Florida. So fresh, in fact, only a few pictures were up and the all-important CARFAX was not yet available. But the asking price was listed, loud and clear, and it was in my ballpark.

Without hesitation, I called the dealer and spoke with a sales assistant. She took my information and my request for more images and the CARFAX. Within a day I had the squeaky-clean vehicle history and enough pictures to further wet my appetite. The V appeared to be in excellent condition and the CARFAX revealed only two owners, one of which is believed to be as a dealer demo, showing a scant 2,700 miles in its first two years on the road.

Doing my due diligence, I called the service department at the Caddy dealer that had tended to the V over the past decade. Lucking out, I spoke with the actual technician, who knew the car and the owner. Confirming the clean vehicle history and the previous owner’s meticulous service, he said, “you’re buying a good car, from a nice old man.” That was all I needed to hear.

It was all there. The high-polished rims, heated/ventilated Recaro sport seats, Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, sunroof, unbelievably-low, yet confirmed mileage, etc. Now, all I had to do was get it at my price.

Victory From Defeat

After a week of anxious pondering I called the dealer. My offer was at the high-end of market value, if not what they were asking, but the salesman shot me a “no can do”, like I just asked to date his sister or something. Devastated, I crawled away with my tail between my legs. I really wanted this car, but I had a budget to stick to and a marriage to keep in good standing.

Another week passed and I tried again. This time I went to the top, asking for the pre-owned sales manager, a gentleman named Cranston. He listened to my plight, as I virtually begged him to accept my good offer. He remained silent to my end. He then responded, “It seems you really want this car. I can accept that offer, sure.” As a writer, I shouldn’t be saying this, but words can’t express the joy. I was buying a CTS-V.

I was now passed along to the helpful, friendly hands of a sales associate, Nick, who professionally facilitated the whole process, right through to delivery.

Validation

It was three more weeks before the transport arrived with my V from Florida, but it was well worth the wait. Upon close inspection, my V2 sedan was a strong 9 out of 10 condition-wise. The black paint was glossy with minimal surface scratches. The polished rims didn’t have a mark on them and the interior looked and smelled fresh, with the leather/suede Recaros clean and tight. Obviously garaged for most, if not all of its life, the V’s undercarriage appears ridiculously clean.

Although the dealer had sent me a start-up video before purchase, I was anxious to fire her up for myself. I had been reading everything available on the V2s and came across the alleged supercharger issues that some LSA-powered V2s and ZL1 Camaros had experienced. This prompted a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) and extended warranty from GM on the matter. But as I had found through exhaustive investigation, not every LSA is plagued by lubricant contamination in the blower. In fact, to allay my fears, I reviewed more than 60 CARFAX reports on comparable V2s and found only four had record of a supercharger repair/replacement. And many of these cars had 60-70,000 even 100,000-miles on them.

Thankfully, my V is as quiet as a church mouse. The idle is smooth, with the blower emitting just a hint of mechanical-operating melody. But I’ll keep my ears open.

Vanguard: Driving Impressions

Writing “World War “V” opened my eyes to the astounding capabilities of the V2 cars — now I experienced it for myself. Having driven Germany’s best, I was interested to see how my supposed Benz/Bimmer beater really stacked up. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. All the materials are of a high-quality and have held up well over the past decade. The cockpit is nicely sealed and devoid of any noise, even on New York’s appalling roads. Only a muffled whine from the supercharger emanates from the engine bay, and frankly, it’s awesome.

From a performance standpoint my 10-year-old V2 sedan is one of the quickest, best handling cars I’ve ever driven, hands down. Now, of course, I’m biased, but I’m certainly not alone in this opinion.

In the tour mode suspension setting, the Magnetic Ride shocks (MRC) deliver a smooth yet firm Caddy-like ride. While in sport setting the dampers stiffen, further connecting the chassis and the massive Michelin Pilot Sport rubber to the road. The huge Brembo binders allow you to push the envelope with confidence, showing exactly how this over 2-ton sedan negotiated Germany’s famed Nürburgring in under 8-minutes.

Turning off the traction control (Stabilitrak) allows-for rubber-roasting sessions in competition mode. Here you can team with the computer, moving through the six-speed auto via the fuzzy-covered shifter, moved to the right, or the trigger buttons on the rear of the steering wheel. And as for the 6.2L LSA V8, with its 1.9L Eaton Twin Vortices Series (TVS) supercharger, well, let’s just say if you’ve been in an airplane at the instance of liftoff from the runway, you’ll understand the acceleration rate of 556 horsepower and /551 lb-ft.

AMG’s and BMW’s bend to my will.

Victory: Conclusion

I’ve spent the past two months learning my V’s characteristics and abilities and also tweaking her here and there. I brought the dark and lovely sedan to Bill at Top Edge Tinting in St. James N.Y., for a flawless, 40/50-percent shading of the glass. They also preformed paint correction using XPEL paint protection film-application/Gliptone GT Quartz ceramic-coating.

I added V-embroidered front floor mats and self-explanatory custom license plates. I cleaned the Alcantara steering wheel and shifter and did a mini-detail on the car. I ordered some missing under-hood fasteners and will replace the sun-faded rear V-badge. My V2 sedan has seen a babied life, left totally unmolested and factory stock. And for now, I’m leaving her that way.

In summation, I couldn’t be happier with my dream V. She’s everything I hoped for and more. I’ll always be a Pontiac guy from now until I part this world, but Caddy has definitely secured a place in my heart and soul. I consider the V cars to be an American automotive accomplishment of historic proportions. And I feel privileged to own one. So, when people ask me, and it happens often, “what is it, what’s so special about this black sedan of yours?” I simply reply with a wide grin, “It’s the V-factor.”

 

About the author

Andrew Nussbaum

Pontiac possessed by Smokey and the Bandit at 6 years old, and cultivated through the '80s by GTAs, IROCS and Grand Nationals, Andrew hails from Queens NY and has been writing freelance for ten years.
Read My Articles

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