Before we get into the details of MSD Ignition's in-house "Bimmer Slayer," credit is due to the Cadillac CTS-V concept itself. The car was born out of Detroit's never-ending quest to show that brutish American power will overcome left-brained, engine-is-art European machinery. The first incarnation of the CTS-V, introduced in 2004 and based on GM's Sigma II platform, featured the then-current Corvette Z06 powerplant, the LS6-a signal to European manufacturers that the General was not playing around. Nrburgring Nordschliefe runs were quickly in order, with none other than GM's shoe-in-residence John Heinricy piloting the V around the Green Hell in Germany. The lap times were impressive, to say the least, and further proved that the car was not your grandfather's "get-me-to-the-Country-Club-and-back" Caddy.
Enter MSD Ignition's Todd Ryden. A veteran of his own '55 Pro Street Chevy project, Ryden was the perfect selection to carry out MSD's wishes of a late-model, LS-equipped project car. The addition of four doors and a six-speed pointed him in the direction of a CTS-V, and from that point onward, everything fell into place perfectly. "We had a meeting with some representatives from Scoggin-Dickey," Ryden says, "and they happened to have a CTS-V just come in on trade. MSD almost instantly made a deal to get the car, and the project was born." And how can you not call it the MSD-V? The CTS-V starts with three letters; MSD starts with three letters. It's like some sort of divine intervention occurred, allowing the two acronyms to come together in harmony.
An LS2 was significantly worked over by Nickens Brothers Racing Engines in Conroe, Texas, a stalwart in the industry for powerful Chevy machinery. The bottom end, prepped and built by shop owner David Nickens, features a Lunati stroker kit (crankshaft and connecting rods) upping the displacement to 406 ci from the LS2's stock 364 ci. The stock LS6 heads now flow at 310 cfm on the intake side, thanks to Nickens' flawless port and polish job. Ryden and MSD had a tough decision to make when choosing the appropriate power adder to the LS2 powerplant. The GM mill makes great power from the factory, but something extra was needed for the jaunts around MSD's headquarters in Texas. It turned out to be another simple choice for the MSD crew. A ProCharger D-1SC now resides towards the front of the CTS-V's engine bay, putting out 6 psi of boost. The dressings of the engine are equally exquisite, as everything visible under the hood looks like pieces of a puzzle were laid out on a table, then systematically added to create the CTS-V's top end. MSD went with a FAST intake manifold, mated to the stock 78mm throttle body.
If you've made it this far through the little words set in ink, then you've got a reward coming. The MSD-V makes 540 hp on 6 psi of boost from the ProCharger, and in absolute four-door, leather-trimmed, sleeper-sedan style.
The logical choice for most, if not all of the ignition components was MSD, including the ignition box, coil and wires. On the exhaust side of things, headers are of the Kooks variety, and they match up perfectly to a Corsa exhaust system. The suspension also has some small improvements, including a small set of parts from BMR and Hotchkis-everything up front is stock, save the Hotchkis sway bar, and out back BMR upper and lower control arms complement another Hotchkis bar.
In terms of exterior aesthetics, MSD literally had no choice but to give the Caddy a red/black paint combination. Okay, maybe they actually had a choice, but anyone who's ever played with any MSD product knows that red/black color scheme all too well. In its present guise, the CTS-V resembles an MSD 6AL box high on crack-cocaine, flying down the dusty Texas highways and byways, leaving trails of BMWs and Mercs in its wake. Under that magnificent paintjob is a Specter Werks lightweight hood and spoiler, giving the CTS-V an even more aggressive full-frontal look. The car rolls on Goodyear F1 rubber, undoubtedly (of which) there's plenty stuck to the streets surrounding the MSD compound, and gets whoa'd down using the stock four-piston stoppers. The wheels are also stock, but have been blacked-out to keep the darkness down low, contrasting well with the redtop roofline. The interior is largely OEM-the only modification is the accompaniment of red leather accents in the seating area.
The resulting vehicle is completely optimized for the combination of stock and aftermarket goodies, something that is rarely found in modified LS-powered cars. The MSD-V's mill seems to balance the thin line between "overkill" and "just right," especially considering the company modified a car that's already a proven powerhouse in the realm of sleeper sedans. In short, MSD didn't try to reinvent the wheel with this project, they just made it roll a little faster. "It's so fun to go pick people up at the airport in it, throw their luggage in the trunk, and still impress them. [The MSD-V] is just an absolute pleasure to drive."
We're anxiously awaiting our invitation to the Lone Star state.
The red/black color combination...
The red/black color combination was the logical choice for the MSD-V. Other exterior appointments include the SpecterWerks louvered hood and front spoiler.
The interior also remains...
The interior also remains largely stock-the only addition, parallel to the exterior color scheme, is seats emblazoned with the "MSD-V" logo.
The heart of the MSD-V. Everything...
The heart of the MSD-V. Everything under the hood touts the Texas company's name, from the "MSD-V" master cylinder cover to the 6LS box that fires the engine.
Stock, "blacked-out" wheels,...
Stock, "blacked-out" wheels, wrapped in super-sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber keep the MSD-V latched to the road, in all types of road conditions. The stock Brembo four-piston brakes are also more than up to the task of getting the car slowed down from a hard launch.
Who else to turn to for a...
Who else to turn to for a power adder than ProCharger and the awesome D-1SC supercharger-a perfect fit for the MSD-V's mill. With 6-lbs of boost, the V puts out 540 rwhp-quite a step up from an ordinary CTS-V.