In Defense Of: The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
If you are unfamiliar with the type of car pictured above, then may I congratulate you on finally getting a WiFi connection all the way up there in your cave on the moon. Yes indeedy, this is the much-publicized Cadillac CTS-V wagon.
No, on the other hand, it is not a press car. Let me explain.
Along with TTAC and a few other outlets, I am privileged to write weekly for a small community newspaper of quite good quality. I mean, apart from the bits that I contribute, obviously.
There it was that I rifled off one of my usual grammatically suspect musings, declaring the CTS-V wagon as rare as seeing Elvis riding a unicorn, and indicating that it was a car only a lunatic would ever really buy. A day later, I received this picture:
Then followed a brief correspondence in which the invitation was given to come take the car for a drive any time I wanted. I leapt at the exceedingly rare opportunity: not to drive a CTS-V wagon, but also to meet the sort of person who would actually buy one of these things.
Opinion on the CTS-V wagon is far from rosy around the TTAC offices. Derek Kreindler very publicly doesn’t like it. Jack Baruth likes the V-wagon enough to have bought one, but only if GM weren’t giving them away for free. Also, only if they’d paint the damn thing green.
As for myself, I think the CTS-V wagon is completely ridiculous and I unapologetically, unabashedly love it, love it, love it. If you’re a wagon guy – and I am – it’s the 5-door apex predator, to my mind even more so than the V2-with-a-backpack AMG Hammer-wagon or the unobtanium RS6 Avant.
Yes, building it is most assuredly a shrewd PR move for GM. There are lost tribes living in the Amazon who could quote you 0-60 times and Darth Vader references thanks to the sustained media blitz we’ve had about this thing.
Can the CTS-V also be seen as a bribe to quirky auto-journos to generate favorable press for the General? As much as TTAC loves to lampoon the journosaur as a lazy leech – Vampire the Buffet-Slayer – it’s a compelling argument: after all, as Murilee has pointed out, for most of us it’s all about the cars. To paraphrase Homer J Simpson, you’d step over your own mother just to get something interesting.
So it’s important to shed a little light on these ethical considerations, and to wonder aloud about the importance of repeatedly road-testing a car produced in approximately the same quantities as a special-run Zonda. On the other hand, 556hp station wagon!
What’s it like to drive? Hard to say, from just a spin around the block. I’d need, oh, let’s say 11 or 12 months to really get to the bottom of things…
But I can tell you this, as you extend your right foot deep into the power reserves and the supercharged V8 starts whining and bellowing like a tyrannosaur caught in a bandsaw, try keeping the grin off your face. What’s more, especially in black, it has that GNX-style menace goin’ on. Traffic parts like Chuck Heston was reprising his Moses role whilst brandishing an Armalite.
The CTS-V wagon is indefensible in many ways. It’s not a sleeper: Q-ships don’t have yellow brake calipers. It’s not that practical: sure it’ll haul more than the sedan but with rear-drive only, you’d be better off with something like an X5M. Also, it drinks fuel like an oil-well fire and goes through rear tires like Keiichi Tsuchiya.
What it is though, is special, and unique, and above-all, interesting. I was at Barrett-Jackson this year, and the thought occurs to me that, two or three years down the road, even a beat-to-hell presser wouldn’t look out of place crossing the block amongst the gleaming street-rods and restorations.
Oh, and what of the owner? A dapper, cheerful, well-dressed man in his middle-60s; successful in business and in life, with grandkids and a fleet of Mercs. Then I did a little more digging and found a ’73 big-block ‘Vette, owned since new, a history of wrenching on a Mk6 Formula Ford in the 60’s and (strange parallels, Baruth) a modest collection of hand-made electric guitars.
As Derek points out, you’re not defined by your car. Perhaps, though, who you are has something to do with what you drive. In this case, I felt privileged to have met both the man and his machine.
And that’s eight-hundred words about the CTS-V wagon without mentioning Jonny Lieberman once. Arrgh! Tripped at the finish line.
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