When C.J. saw a picture of the new Cadillac CTS-V back in 2004 he had to have it. Who can blame him? Not only is the CTS-V one bad machine stock . . . C.J. has taken the time (and money) to make it even better with modifications and shows it on the road course. What’s your real name? (What’s your online screen name?)
My name is C.J. Sloan. My online screen name is tweeter81.
Where do you live?
I currently reside in Gillette, WY.
What GM(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/them?
At this time, I have two GM vehicles. (On a side note, I have only ever owned/driven GM vehicles in my life.) I own a 2004 Cadillac CTS-V and a 2007 Trailblazer SS. I purchased the CTS-V new in March of 2005, it had about 70 miles on it and it now has about 33,000 miles on it. I purchased the TBSS used in April of 2008, it had about 6,500 miles and it now has about 24,000 miles.
What originally attracted you to the Cadillac CTS-V?
When I first saw the pictures of a 400 Horsepower, 6 speed manual Cadillac with 4-piston Brembo brakes (and that big shiny mesh grille) in Motor Trend Magazine, I knew it was going to be a very special and unique car. After I test drove it, I was in love. The main thing to keep in mind is, at that time, it was the only domestic 400 Horsepower sedan on the market, and it has literally taken about 4-5 years for all of the other car companies to produce luxury-performance sedans that match the performance specs of the first generation CTS-V. Even the brand new Camaro SS (100 lbs lighter, 26 HP more, and better stock tires than a 2004 CTS-V) could not manage to beat the first generation CTS-V’s Nurburging lap time, which was reportedly 8:19.
What makes you want to track (road course) your Cadillac?
I went to my first track day at the Golden, CO State Patrol Training Track at the urging of some friends. I ended up having the time of my life and I knew that I would take any chance I could get in the future to get my car on the track. Being on the track is pure nirvana to me. Everything else in life just fades away and it is just you and your machine, pushing yourself and your car (almost) to the limits of its ability. It is truly the most fun thing that I can think of to do in my spare time.
It was also interesting being on the track in an high-performance luxury sedan, as my car also got a lot of attention since it was a car that most people didn’t recognize, or didn’t hardly ever see on the street (less than 2,500 CTS-Vs were made in 2004), and it really held its own on the track and surprised a lot of people. The free-flowing cat-back exhaust really brought out the beautiful small block Chevy V8 engine sound and made a lot of people take a second look as well.
What are your goals for your Cadillac (track-related or otherwise) and how close are you to achieving them?
I have already achieved a good portion of my goals for my CTS-V, which really boils down to attempting to build a perfect mix of street car and track car. I would say that I am about 70% done with all of my planned modifications, but all the car guys know how ideas and satisfaction levels change daily. I have held off on big power modifications as my car has been under warranty until the end of March 2010, but now that the warranty is almost up, I have all kinds of options. My big plans for the near future are addressing the wheelhop issue (this plagues almost all Independent Rear Suspension cars, but it is especially bad on the CTS-Vs) with some custom axles, upgrading my factory dual-mass clutch to a much lighter and better-performing aftermarket clutch kit, and possibly removing my catalytic converters and replacing them with test pipes and some DMH low-profile electric cut-outs thrown in for good measure. The long term plans are to increase the HP/TQ numbers with a heads/cam/intake package to achieve about 430-450 rwHP and similar torque numbers, this would be about 100 rwHP over what I my car currently produces. Also, a Specter Werkes Heat Extractor hood and possibly a custom vinyl wrap would complete the cosmetic modifications.
On another note, I also am very interested in working my way into some actual competitions on the track, such as One Lap of America or NASA Time Trials. I have currently completed a couple of HPDE days and a few lapping days, but the real fun is competition, that is what drives a person to perfect their skills and get their car to a point where it is truly competitive in its class. Of course, it still is a Luxury Sedan, so I won’t be stripping out the interior anytime soon.
Have a favorite story to tell about your Cadillac?
My favorite story happened at that same Golden State Patrol Track day that I talked about earlier. During one particular lapping session I had my car on the track at the same time as a handful of Lotus Elises and a Porsche 911 Turbo. The Porsche owner decided to shut down and do his cool down laps a little early, but I wanted to get as much track time that day as possible, so I was still pushing my car and running pretty hard. I came up on the Porsche in a long straight section and he gave me the point by. So I hammered the throttle and drove around him. After that lapping session was over, he came over to me and said, “Man, that sounds great for a Cadillac, what’s in it?” I said, “It’s got the LS6 Corvette Z06 motor,” and his response was, “oh…I see why it sounds so great now.” People just don’t expect to hear that tuned muscle car sound from a Cadillac and it was really cool to get recognition from a guy driving a Porsche.
What was your favorite modification? Why?
I can’t pick one, so I will narrow it down to just two. First, the Magnaflow cat-back exhaust was an awesome modification because it really allowed the car to sound like a high horsepower Chevy V8 car should. The stock resonator exhaust system was way too quiet from the factory. Second, the UUC short-throw shifter was probably the modification that increased my enjoyment of the car the most. The stock shifter was very sloppy and had extremely long throws, the UUC shifter really made shifting quick, crisp, and much more fun. No more missed shifts after that mod.
Who has done most of the modifications on your Cadillac?
I have done about half of the modifications to my car (FG2 shocks, Hotchkis Swaybars, Ground Control Coilover Kit, Magnaflow cat-back exhaust, CTS Sport spoiler, Lingenfelter CAI), with help from some car guy friends, of course. I am pretty inexperienced at wrenching on cars, so it is very helpful to learn from guys who have done this stuff before on their own cars. The other half of the modifications (Kooks headers, plugs/wires, 561 Motorwerks anti-wheelhop kit, powdercoated grilles/wheels, tinted exterior lights, tune) were done by Dragon Pro Street Engineering out of Dacono, CO.
What’s the best part about being a Cadillac owner? The most challenging?
I try not to fall into the typical attitude that some people have that says since it is a Cadillac it is automatically better than all the rest of the domestic brands. My feeling is that I like a car for the styling, performance, and feelings that it gives me, not for the brand name. The best part about the car really is the low production numbers of the first generation CTS-V make it a pretty rare car and they are not seen on the street very often, which sets it apart from the Vettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of the world (although those cars are all cool as well). The most challenging aspect of owning the Cadillac CTS-V is two things really, the first being a “Cadillac Tax” on almost all aftermarket parts. This means that since the part is for a Cadillac, the vendor or maker of the part automatically assumes that you should be able to spend more money on parts because the brand name of the car. A part for my car that is exactly the same as a part for a Mustang or a Camaro, usually costs about 50%-75% more. These high prices could also be attributed to the fact that the CTS-V market is fairly small, so vendors have to jack up the prices on items because they know they will not sell that many of them. Both of those things are really frustrating. The other thing is the fact that a lot of people do not respect the V as a true high-performance automobile because they think it must just be “a soft old man’s Cadillac”, which is really the farthest thing from the truth. Once they ride in the car, they change their minds pretty quickly though, haha.
Who has helped you the most along the way with the car? Any mentors?
I have had a handful of guys throughout the years really make it possible for me to get the car to the place that it is now. First, I want to thank Bill Velose (BBV on the Cadillacforums.com) for the huge amount of help installing all of my aftermarket suspension components. I definitely could not have done those installs without him. I have also had correspondence with some really cool guys over the last 5 years about what parts to buy, what works the best, what to watch out for, etc. The following guys on the Cadillacforums.com have really helped me out a lot and/or contributed a lot to the V Community: (online screen names) BBV, PISNUOFF, rgd, v-sam, lunarx, 50 4Ever, nikon, thebigjimsho, trukk, SkullV, darkman, stealthv, whisler151, lollygagger8, bneal1022, and a bunch of others that I am forgetting.
Is there a particular shop you’d like to recommend?
I have had Dragon Pro Street Engineering out of Dacono, CO (formerly in Broomfield, CO) do a lot of work on my car. They do great work, address all the little issues and details that come up during the installation process, and take a lot of pride in their work, and Brent is really a great guy to work with. I will be taking my car to them in the future for my engine mods, etc.
Do you spend time on any Cadillac sites? Which ones?
I have been a supporting member at www.cadillacforums.com for the last 5 years and have come to regard the guys on that site as a sort of extended family. I have learned so much there and saved a ton of money as a result of following the great advice of the pioneers on that forum. I also spend a lot of time at www.ls1tech.com, in the Cadillac CTS-V section. And whenever I decide to hit the track in the Denver area, I correspond with some friends via www.ricekiller.com and try to set up meets at the track.
- Lingenfelter Cold Air Intake (CAI) w/ K&N cone-style air filter
- UUC Short-throw shifter w/ Lindsay Cadillac Custom shifter bushings
- Magnaflow Cat-back exhaust (bought used)
- Kooks 1 ¾” Cermakromed Long Tube Headers w/ HiFlo Cats
- ARP Header Studs
- Granatelli (Zero) Ohm 1200º plug wires w/ Koolsox
- NGK TR55ix Iridium spark plugs
- Custom Dyno Tune by Dragon Pro Street Engineering (D.P.S.E.) 351 rwHP / 365 rwTQ (ft-lbs)
- Upgraded (optional) GM FG2 Shocks (bought used)
- Ground Control Single Adjustable Coil-Over Kit (came with Eibach Sport Springs – 600 lb/650 lb)
- Hotchkis Swaybars (front and rear) w/ collars
- Corvette C5 Z06 GM Front Endlinks
- Had front fenders rolled by Jim’s Exotic Bodies in Lafayette, CO
- Had rear fenders rolled by D.P.S.E.
- Aggressive Street Alignment = 2.2º negative camber in front and rear
- 561 Motorwerks Traction Kit (anti-wheelhop)
- Drilled and Slotted Performance Rotors (OC Autosports/Trinet Cliffhanger style)
- Hawk HP+ Pads (front) and Hawk HPS Pads (rear)
- UUC Stainless Steel Brake Lines (Red)
- Toyo T1-R Tires = 245/40YR19 (front) & 285/35YR19 (rear) – for street
- Toyo R888 Tires = 235/35YR19 (front) & 295/30ZR19 (rear) – for track/street
Exterior (Cosmetic) & AeroDynamic Modifications:
- OEM-style CTS Sport Spoiler
- CCW SP600 Forged Polished Aluminum Wheels (w/ TPMS) = 19”x9” (front) and 19”x10” (rear)
- Powder coated all four (4) CCW Wheels Matte Black w/ Red Pinstripe
- Debadged rear CTS emblem and Installed Car Motorsports LS6 Billet Aluminum Emblem
- Powder coated upper and lower grilles Matte Black and painted grille surround Black Raven to match rest of car
- Custom Painted Flamed LS6 Fuel Rail Covers (FRCs)
- Chrome Oil Cap w/ V-Series Logo Decal
- OEM (Black) Cadillac Wheel Center Caps
- Smoked Tint Film / Niteshades Paint for all exterior lights
- 8th Day Creations decals (Nurburgring 8:19 lap time, Cadillac Wreath & Skull)
Interior (Cosmetic) Modifications:
- CTS (non V) Armrest
- Custom Billet Aluminum Radio Knobs and Door Lock Pulls
- Lloyd’s Custom Embroidered Black Floormats and Trunkmat w/ V-Series Logo
Are you on Twitter? Facebook? How can people find you online?
No twitter account. I am on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tweeter81). I frequently post at the forums listed above. I love talking cars, answering questions, and helping people out in their quest to mod their own vehicles.