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Old 05-14-2020, 01:36 PM   #1
Blackbirdws6
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Talking '18 Cadillac CTS-V - Life is too short to drive boring cars

As the title suggests, I've acquired a new vehicle but as with anything I do, there is always a story because nothing I do is simple.

tl;dr summary - Vette gone, Merc gone, tried finding unicorn V2, decided to get V3

So let's step back to just before the world decided to implode due to Covid-19. My Vette was due to be turned in on March 6th and while I really loved that car, the plan was to keep a slot open for new toys down the road. I had a ton of fun with it and while keeping her was a viable option, I was good to move on. I removed what made sense to take off before the return and made sure the last run up 287 to the dealer would be memorable. I may or may not have held the RPM at 5k the entire way while making sure the trans shifted into 5th at WOT .




A friend picks me up and we go to get a nice lunch before heading home. I get on home and go to put the E55 in the garage. Keep in mind it is raining fairly heavily right now. I turn the key and I don’t even get a click. A dead battery….. Admittedly I neglected in using the car much as I was piling on the miles before the Vette went back. Every few days I would run the Benz but get a low battery on the dash simply telling me the convenience features would not be available. After a few mins, it would all be restored so I didn’t take much concern. Up until that day, the car would always start but nope, not today. Keeping my cool, I went into the garage to grab the jump pack. I popped the trunk, got in there and tried again. I got a quick flash of life but not enough to turn the motor over. I wait a bit, try again, same issue. Hmm…. Maybe my jump pack needs a charge so I grab my truck and jumper cables. No dice!!!!

I don’t need to get the car in the garage so I just run an extension cord and put the car on my trickle charger to see if it will come alive again in the AM. The next morning, I pop the trunk and the trickle charger reads 5 V and 0 charge…..OK she dead. Keep in mind these cars have two batteries, a baby one up in the engine bay and the starting battery in the trunk (big boy). I know what these things run so I’m mentally prepared for a decent expense of a new battery. I call Napa and get a price and also Mercedes just to see if there is a difference. The Merc battery was within 20 bucks of Napa so I figured I’ll pay the $20 extra for the sticker (Mercedes Benz – The best of nothing…..). Yes I recognize its just a relabeled battery but whatever. I grab the battery and drop it in which works as expected. Great. Wait what’s this, the radio now wants to shut off randomly and turn back on. That’s new. The issue continues to persist and ultimately the unit is entirely dead so off we go down the rabbit hole of diagnosis. Without getting too detailed, there is essentially a big fiber optic communication system in the car. Any break will cause an issue and you need to rule out if a device is the problem. They sell a little fiber optic loop to “delete” a module in the car and if it works again, you know that’s your issue. I do all that an in the process, and while sliding in the DVD nav unit back into its tray, the fiber optic line got caught and damaged….DAMNIT.




Turns out a repair is nothing to scoff at and you need specialty tools to get it done. A company rents/sells these stupid glorified cutters/crimpers to do the job with a fiber optic specific splice connector. The company wanted $275 A DAY to rent these things or they could be purchased for the low cost of $975 excluding tax and shipping. UNREAL.

Thankfully Beggs and his German connections were able to source a repair kit to borrow. He swung down and he got the cable repaired. However….the radio still didn’t work. A usual culprit is now the audio gateway module which could have also caused the dead battery. I get a refurbished unit and still, no radio. In one last desperate attempt, I order a used radio off ebay that looked decent. That came in and finally, I have a working radio again. That sucked but at least I got this with the new radio.



In between the radio woes, I have had a check engine light come on a few times for both main cats. I grabbed a set of Magnaflow 300 cell units and commissioned Chris to get these burned in. These were universal units and he needed to try to fit in a straight cat to a nearly 90 degree bend. Memories were made that day and he is likely scarred to participate in any of my future projects. Only one side got done that evening due to the fitment challenges and this was also the evening Murphy issued the 9PM curfew. The garage door at Adam’s shop was closed at just about 9PM so I anticipated getting pulled over. To my surprise, there were quite a few cars on the road and I made it home without issue. In the later weeks, the other cat got installed and the check engine was gone.





So after all that “fun”, I decided that perhaps its time for the Benz to go bye bye. My trust in the car was severely diminished and other parts of the car were still an issue (pano roof was broken, rear main seal leak, creak in the front suspension somewhere, massage seats leaking). All the shade tree fixes were attempted with the pano roof and repairing the massage seats was going to be quite a project). The car just isn’t worth the potential expense of bringing it all up to snuff, so I didn’t see the point of keeping it if the fun options aren’t all working. Sure this is cheaper than a car payment but I don’t need the headache. I posted it on CL and Facebook and within about a week or so, the car was sold. This was a hell of an experience as Facebook doesn't let you price the car higher than what they think its worth. You are left to put in a lower amount and even though I clearly stated the price in the opening of the ad, people don't read. I had the car up for $15.5k and lopped off a 0 so it was $1,550. What a mistake that was as I had literally every joker messaging me about the car only to later READ and see that wasn't the price. I swear if I wanted to run a scam, I could make all the easy money taking deposits. I had people even asking me, what's your best price?..... After a while, I just got irate in my responses. I found the right buyer who didn't care about the roof working and just loved the car overall and upkeep that's been done to date. A cash deal was done (got my number, woot) and he then asked if I could transport the car to Brooklyn. I obliged at an additional cost and that was it.




So now with the Vette and now Benz gone, I thought I would be good to sit tight for a bit given the Covid situation. Unfortunately, I have a problem and with too much mental time on my hands, I decided to start looking for the car I really wanted over the E55 but didn’t want to spend the money for at the time given I have the other cars. This car being a Gen 2 CTS-V sedan. I did my homework and these cars look to be pretty reliable but like anything, you need to watch for miles, number of owners, mods, etc. Ideally I would be fine with a <50k mile clean example with the right set of options and color. My first choice in color was the Opulent Blue followed by Black Diamond/Crystal Red. As folks that know me, once I latch on to an idea, I don’t let up until its done so off I went online to scour every part of the US for the ideal car. Alerts were setup to let me know when anything hitting my criteria popped up. While I wasn’t entirely comfortable purchasing a car sight unseen, I may have had to do that given the circumstances if I wanted a car outside a reasonable distance.

The funny thing in all this was outside of the research I had done about the car, I failed to see there was a list of build #s by year, color and options. When I innocently posted up on a Facebook group that I was looking for the perfect car (Opulent Blue), I was heckled and informed that under 75 of those were built between 2012-2014. Well damn….. I had initial high hopes that I could find “The One” but I’m too impatient to wait that long. I found a clean 2013 Black Diamond V at a Massachusetts dealer and even got as far as agreeing on a price. Unfortunately (maybe) the deal couldn’t get done due to weird Mass laws and the NJ DMV being closed. The deal would need to be done in cash and that is not something I was willing to do given money is very cheap to borrow now. Also, Mass does not issue temp tags so even if I did the cash deal, I would have to wait until DMV opened in NJ to get anything done which would have been a risky proposition even when that happens. Understandably, the dealer didn’t want to hold the car with a deposit pending the reopening of NJ so we parted ways.

I was close to pulling the trigger on a Carvana black diamond sedan but was leery of it being a super low mile car (under 5k) and noticing it was Hennessey modified. In doing some further research, I don’t think Carvana really knew what they had because there was no mention of Hennessey in the posting but the car clearly was a package car. Badging was minimal to tell what package it had but after further sleuthing, it was a 700HPE car which includes heads/cam, full exhaust, intake, badges and embroidered headrest. A day later there was a pending purchase on the car. I don’t feel like I missed out there as the guy was a known crook from years past and there is not much value in the mods although it was “neat”. They also only trap in the low 120s which is soft for the rated power.

A few nights later before going to bed, I thought to myself that even if I find this unicorn V2, I’ll likely need to make concessions on options and in the end, I’ll likely pay a premium for a paint color. It just didn’t seem to make sense so I got the idea of considering a V3. I haven’t been watching the prices to be honest but after taking a look and running some numbers…..yes yes, that will work. Literally the following day, I started searching and stumbled on my ideal car within this hemisphere haha.

This was a 2018 Crystal White V3 with just over 10k miles, clean history, one prior owner, the right set of options and a price that made sense. They offered two blues over the years which look nice but honestly the white/black just fits this car better IMO. Would I have turned down the same car in blue, no, but I don’t feel like I made a concession.

I waited for the dealer to open and made the call. Later that day, they had a deposit while we worked out the rest. I got the usual “We got a lot of hits on this car” from the salesperson to which I stated, well I’m likely the only one seriously considering purchase. The salesperson took walkaround videos and additional images so I could see the condition of the vehicle. There were a few nicks on the rear bumper and the front wheels had the slightest bit of rash on the very edge. Pricing was negotiated which included refinishing of the front wheels. I got word the wheels were done and financing was all approved so it was time to saddle up and head to Lancaster, PA to pick up the car. Not wanting to do the ride solo, Adam and his pup Bear tagged along for the adventure.

Unfortunately, the day of pick-up was off and on rain so not the ideal conditions to look over a car and confirm its’ all there. We arrive and due to Covid, the whole process is just plain awkward. You do not enter the building and the salesman comes out in a mask to talk with you. You take the car for a test drive and if all good, they send you the docs electronically for signature. The test drive went flawlessly, and I was really impressed with the car overall. No rattles, squeaks or bad noises which would be expected on a just over 10k mile car. When we returned, Adam and I noticed the front carbon splitter didn’t fit tight to the bumper. It essentially needed to go deeper towards the front bumper. They mentioned it was replaced but to oblige my concern, took it to their shop to see if this could be refit better prior to signing papers. The salesman came back rather quickly with the car and said this is the best it will fit and can’t do any better. It was clear no one wanted to be bothered with spending any real time on it but since the answer was not acceptable money needed to come off which it did so this could be addressed later. While I know some may say “I would have walked away or demanded XYZ”, it wasn’t a deal killer and can be resolved without much hassle. The rest of the car is where it needs to be so that’s what mattered.

I would later find out who owned the car which corroborated some of my assumptions. Former owner was a 66 year old ear, nose and throat doc from VA. He liked to listen to smooth jazz and opera per his satellite presets. The few small marks on the rear bumper were likely from lifting a suitcase out of the trunk and the front splitter required replacement before sale as he likely nabbed a curb while parking as it does sit rather low.

In any event, documents were electronically signed along with a few paper ones in the building. Adam and I took as many complimentary face masks as possible before loading up the car on the trailer.





We stopped at a very tasty BBQ place before making the longer ride home. It was very very tasty.

So here is a rundown of the car along with proper pics.

2018 CTS-V – 10,018 miles when purchased
LT4 Supercharged Engine 640hp/630tq, 8 speed auto
Crystal White Tricoat, Black interior

Options:
- “After Midnight” wheels
- Luxury pkg – tri-zone climate, rear heated seats, rear sunshade, 110v power outlet, rear camera mirror, manual rear window shades
- Carbon fiber pkg – front splitter, hood insert, rear trunk wing, bumper diffuser
- Red calipers
- Ultraview Roof
- Black chrome grill
- Microsueded steering wheel and shifter

I was not wanting a suede/alcantara wheel as they seem to get gross easily but after some time with it (post decontamination), I do like it quite a bit. The only options the car doesn’t have are the carbon fiber engine cover, Recaro seats (not desired – heated only, not cooled) and PDR.

As for initial driving impressions, I’m quite smitten with the whole thing. The car drives smaller than it looks, turn in is incredibly sharp and the ride is taunt but never uncomfortable. The magnetic shocks really are doing some magic beyond what I experienced in the Z06. Power is good as you would expect and the trans tuning is better than it was in my Z. I recognize they are two different cars but with both in Tour mode, the V is just plain smoother. Being nitpicky, there isn’t enough exhaust noise even in track mode however there is more blower whine than in the Z06. Brakes are firm and grab progressively. The interior is a nice place to be and I love the all digital dash. The Cue system took about 10 mins for me to figure out so I don’t share in the concerns from others. This system got an update for 2018 so perhaps the prior version was not so good.

Thinking retrospectively, this is a literal blend of my E55 and Z06.















Took a ride this past weekend to my favorite restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach to grab some take-out from Shore Points BBQ.



This past Wednesday, I took the car to Tropic Tint to get the windows tinted. Looks much better!



I picked up a set of Carbotech 1521 brake pads to kill the dust as best possible. I delayed doing this on my Z06 and wish I did it sooner as it really cuts down on the need to wash the car because the wheels are filthy.

Next week, the front splitter and rear bumper will get addressed and then 30 days later, I will get the whole front end (bumper, splitter, fenders, hood, mirrors, headlights, etc) protected with paint protection film. The entire car will then get ceramic coated.

After that…..I’m sure there will be something.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:28 PM   #2
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Can you make the pictures bigger? Can't see much.

Also, what BBQ place in PA?
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:57 PM   #3
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Can you make the pictures bigger? Can't see much.

Also, what BBQ place in PA?
They looked fine when posted but in coming back to the thread, yea some were way out of whack. I resized the massive ones so let me know if any better.

Believe it was Divine Swine in Manheim.
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:09 PM   #4
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v3 is my dream car. as soon as I saw the benz was gone I knew it was V time lol
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:48 PM   #5
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thats awesome. wow, what a story and timeline. good stuff man.

that car looks amazing and I am sure it drives amazing too. lucky guy!
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:28 AM   #6
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Nice story. I like them. Wish they came in stick. When my chevy ss got totaled my wife wanted me to lease a ram. So 3 yrs I can get something else. Lookn at those. Apprently ct5 will have Lt4 and stick.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #7
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v3 is my dream car. as soon as I saw the benz was gone I knew it was V time lol
I likely should have skipped the Benz and went right to a V2 but with the Vette also gone, I'm happier I ended up getting into the V3.

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thats awesome. wow, what a story and timeline. good stuff man.

that car looks amazing and I am sure it drives amazing too. lucky guy!
Thanks man! It's only money....

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Nice story. I like them. Wish they came in stick. When my chevy ss got totaled my wife wanted me to lease a ram. So 3 yrs I can get something else. Lookn at those. Apprently ct5 will have Lt4 and stick.
Thanks! Used SS's are def holding their value, especially the ones with the mag shocks (15+?). I was looking at them quite a bit as they have some fun colors and I like the drivetrain. The CT5 should get the manual and while I think its very cool, it's something I would admire but not really be looking to own unless it was going to be my sole vehicle.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:35 PM   #8
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Beautiful car.

Also, I hate you young single guys with no kids.
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I can appreciate a dream but this person needed some real friends.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:45 PM   #9
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Beautiful car.

Also, I hate you young single guys with no kids.
Thanks and don't tell my wife I'm single!
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:38 PM   #10
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Thanks and don't tell my wife I'm single!

hahah!!!!
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:51 AM   #11
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Hahaha, had no idea you were married. Still, congrats on the car... It's beautiful.
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:05 AM   #12
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Hell yeah man! That's the exact color combo I'd go with. I love my Camaro, I really do but I've been itching for something nicer like a V3 or a 14-16 E63.
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Old 06-25-2020, 08:48 AM   #13
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Hell yeah man! That's the exact color combo I'd go with. I love my Camaro, I really do but I've been itching for something nicer like a V3 or a 14-16 E63.
Thanks! I like the Mercs but I'd need to own it during the warranty period. With the V3, I feel like if bad things happen there are enough shared parts between GM cars to get her back on the road without too much trouble.

Here is a quick update on the car since the last time I posted.

Quick/easy mods:

Rotofab intake - Picked it up mostly for a bit more blower noise but supposedly its good for another 20-30whp with no tune. The install was as simple as you can imagine.




Cosmetic:

- Entire front clip is protected with Suntek Ultra PPF (bumper, hood, front fenders, headlights, mirrors, splitter, etc.

- Side markers painted body color (factory amber looked terrible and aftermarket options just looked cheap or would stand out more)

- LED bulbs for the reverse lights and license plate lights. You'd think with the rest of the car being LED/HID, they would have just done this but I digress. The license plate lights took all of 3 mins to install however the reverse lights were overly annoying. Access is surprisingly terrible but after some struggle and cutup forearms, we have better lighting.

- Lastly the entire car was cut, polished and coated in IGL Kenzo ceramic coating. I enjoyed ceramic coating on my C7 as it made it easier to wash and it never needed any waxing to maintain the look. Tech has come a long way in 3+ years and this time I wanted to step it up to a professional coating. The only wrinkle is that I needed to work with an approved installer as these companies would not accept my "cherry certification" and resume as good enough to buy their product direct. The coating is said to be harder than the other professional products and carries a 4 year lifetime with no maintenance "toppers" needed. Most ceramic coatings will require you to use a "topper" which is essentially meant to be a sacrificial layer of product to avoid the ceramic being worn down/compromised.

Enter Mike from Show Shine Detailing out of Point Pleasant who happens to be a fellow racer, fbody owner and doing good work with respect to his detailing business. After explaining to him my conundrum of me being capable of detailing but lacking the ability to use this specific product, we worked out a good deal where I did a good amount of work on my end which will expedite his process and reduce my cost.

All paint was coated with the Kenzo product while the glass, wheels, calipers, interior (leather, microsuede, carpets, mats, trunk, etc.) received specific coating products from IGL for those surfaces. I was told to expect a good amount of gloss after all was said and done but holy hell was I surprised with the results.






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97 T/A Ram Air Convt
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18 CTS-V
17 Sierra 2500HD Dmax
81 Turbo TA
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:46 PM   #14
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:26 PM   #15
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too many pixels, didnt read
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repo bigals turd gen and part it out to a loving home
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:37 PM   #16
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man, that car is killer looking. slick!
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Old 06-25-2020, 08:21 PM   #17
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too many pixels, didnt read
I'll deliver pamphlet to you.

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man, that car is killer looking. slick!
Thanks! Hope to get her on a track at some point this year.
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97 T/A Ram Air Convt
Forever dyno queen / 777rwhp 662 rwtq @ 17lbs / 10.2 @ 140

18 CTS-V
17 Sierra 2500HD Dmax
81 Turbo TA

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Old 06-26-2020, 06:53 AM   #18
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I'll deliver pamphlet to you.
Will it also be available on audio book?
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and once i get PHB, what do i ajust it too?
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Seven.
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Old 06-26-2020, 08:27 AM   #19
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thatís awesome...always loved the ctís vís the new ones look so sharp.
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Old 06-26-2020, 03:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by wretched73 View Post
Will it also be available on audio book?
Check me out on Audible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madness410 View Post
thatís awesome...always loved the ctís vís the new ones look so sharp.
Thanks!
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81 Turbo TA
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  NJFBOA - Home of New Jersey's Camaros and Firebirds > Camaros, Firebirds and the People that own them > Member's Rides > The Later Years 93-present

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