Joshua Rodriguez’s ferocious 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Story | Phillip Pratt
Photos | Gerry Burke & Phillip Pratt
The name Cadillac denotes visions of old-school American luxury. It’s the car that an entire generation of working-class Americans strove to afford. The prize that’s bought at the end of a long career, or after a big raise. It’s the trophy that’s loving parked in a garage and washed every weekend, whether it’s dirty or not, outside of a two-story house surrounded by a white picket fence. I’m envisioning a shady street or a cul-de-sac of some sort (stay with me). The last thing anyone expects to hear when a Cadi is fired up is a ruckus so violent, and sonically disruptive it drowns out just about anything and anyone within a 100-feet. While Joshua Rodriguez, the owner of a 09’ CTS-V admits that he originally bought his Cadi as a fun daily, if you’ve been around his car while it’s running, it’s no secret that he’s gone far beyond that intent.
It’s easy to forget that Cadillac, an automobile-line for the middle and upper class, is made by GM. The same company that produces Chevrolet, and in turn, one of the fastest production cars in America, the Corvette. I bring this up because the CTS-V shares something in common with it. The engine. Inside the bay of this luxury sports sedan lies the 6.2L, 556 HP, heart of an American supercar. The supercharged LSA V8 (a detuned version of the Corvette’s LS9) inside of Joshua’s CTS-V is similar to the one that powered the C6 ZR1, but with a few parts implemented to tame the beast; such as hypereutectic pistons versus the forged pieces found in the LS9. While the CTS-V is about 849lbs heavier than its Chevy cousin, coming in at around 4222lbs from the factory, the power provided by the LSA is more than enough to keep it faster than most other factory-tuned vehicles… but friends, Josh’s Cady ain’t stock.
The initial intention for Josh’s CTS-V was to keep it in its original state. I mean, who wouldn’t be happy with a 500+ HP car to drive back and forth to work? Josh… that’s who. “I was looking for a nice, powerful, daily driver…” Josh explained. “I had an Injen air-intake on the car within a week of bringing it home.” From the aforementioned noise, his LSA makes, Josh obviously didn’t stop there. Over the span of 3-years Josh dove headfirst into making his Cadi a firebreather. Not satisfied with engine’s stock levels of boost, he upgraded his factory supplied 1.9L blower to a ported Joker Performance Stage 5 unit. Allowing the greater volume of air to enter is a TPIS 102mm throttle body mated to a 5-inch charge pipe.
Holding the lion’s share of work on the powerplant are the ported cylinder heads, with all it’s valvetrain pieces sourced from Brian Tooley Racing, along with a Stage 3 PDS Camshaft (the culprit responsible for its rowdy idle). A 2.38 upper pulley and a 9.1 lower pulley on an ATI Super Damper help complete the set-up while Injector Dynamics 850cc fuel injectors and a JMS pump booster ensure the LS is supplied with ample amounts of E85. At the time of the writing this piece, Josh hasn’t made too many passes with this set-up, but prior to upgrading the supercharger and related pieces, the CTS-V did a 10.24-second pass at 135 MPH on around 715 WHP. On the current set-up, we’d assume the car is quite faster and will probably break 9-seconds on the next trip to the track.
With the firepower available to him Josh was able to rise to as high #4 on the SRMS Top 10 List, which is no simple task with the amounts of fast cars that come out for the monthly event. However, the success didn’t come without its pitfalls. At an event, last fall, Josh’s tranny broke “I only had a few weeks to source a built transmission and carbon driveshaft…” Josh recalls. “I also had to get the car to Fastproms in Tampa to have it tuned. Finished 2-days before the event!” Luckily, most of the work on the Cadi is done in-house by himself and his crew known as “Theory Garage”. So, some labor and time are saved there. The Pitbull-like stance of the Cadillac is aggressively complimented by a staggered set of Weld RT-S wheels wrapped in luscious Mickey Thompson Street Radials.
It’s amazing what we gearheads do when a project falls into our laps. Within 3-years of owning it, Josh’s Cadi went from daily driver to being amongst the fastest street cars in South Florida. The itch for velocity coupled with the satisfaction of building a machine up with your own hands can be all-consuming. Might even classify it as an obsession. Even with the neck pains, raw knuckles, and dirty, broken, fingernails that come from wrenching on cars; I don’t think there are many other things that Josh would rather spend his nights doing.