Cadillac’s aren’t normally known for their performance prowess. For decades, they’ve been regarded as the car for pimps and retirees; being chosen for their large size, plush upholstery, and cloud-like ride. While their long-term fans were happy about their place in the world, the guys in charge of Cadillac felt differently, and decided to give the brand a facelift from their normal routine of fluffy DeVilles for the 21st century.
So when it was time to replace the Opel-based Catera, the Caddy boys planned in advance to create a European-style sports sedan to take on the fellas from Germany, and the 2003 CTS was just the ticket –all it needed was an engine. When it was released in 2004, the 400hp LS6 was the ‘plant that answered the call for the performance variant CTS dubbed The V-Series. As the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and it wasn’t long before the enthusiast community embraced the performance-induced Caddy like it was just another Camaro.
Originally purchased as a quick, LS2-powered daily driver to replace his aging 3-Series Bimmer, it didn’t take Brian long to find his way into the road-racing scene.
Enter Brian Ruckdeschel, and his purpose-built 2007 CTS-V he calls the TFG-V. You may be wondering – what on earth is a “TFG-V?” It’s not politically correct, we’ll warn you. But it’s “THE FAT GIRL” and it’s what Brian and his friends call the CTS-V. Obvious an ‘ode’ to the V’s weight, it’s a nickname we may not love but we’ll admit it’s novel.
Originally purchased as a quick, LS2-powered daily driver to replace his aging 3-Series Bimmer, it didn’t take Brian long to find his way into the road-racing scene. Being one of those guys who’s never satisfied, Ruckdeschel decided his ‘Lac could benefit from a simple head and cam package, after relying solely on a few bolt-on’s in the beginning.
The swap worked temporarily, keeping Brian’s V more than just competitive with Vipers, Porsches, and even the frequent Lotus, while also making the occasional jaunt down the 1320. But the car’s stock bottom-end LS2 wasn’t having any of it, and after a few racing seasons, the #7 piston let go at the close of 2010. After Brian thought long and hard about the route he wanted to take with his Cadillac, he decided on going big with a 418 ci LS3-based stroker.
Starting with a bare GMPP LS3, Brain picked out a set of Wiseco flat-top pistons, and a pair of PRC CNC-ported LS3 heads to give him the 11.0:1 pump-friendly compression ratio he was looking for. A Callies Compstar 4.00”-stroke crankshaft spins eight H-beam connecting rods from the same company move around inside of the cast-aluminum block.
The exhaust is quieted by a flip of a switch, which makes Johnny Law happy – something he had to do during our photo shoot.
Oxygen is inhaled through a homemade cold-air intake system that feeds through a factory mass-airflow sensor into a 90mm ported LS2 throttle body and a ported LS3 intake, while the 418 drinks high-octane through eight Bosch 52lb.-hr. injectors and an otherwise stock fuel system. The spent gases are exhaled via a complete Billy Boat (B&B) exhaust; 1 ¾ -inch long-tube headers feed through an X-pipe and cat-back system. Twin DMH low-profile electric cutouts are also in place and activated with a flip of a switch on Brian’s driver-side seat panel, in the event that he needs to quiet his car up for Johnny Law – which he had to do during our photo shoot.
Airbrushed by a local custom Harley painter, the valve covers are shod with skulls and fire, pretty much giving an otherwise subtle-looking sedan a dose of evil attitude.
Call in the Reinforcements
But the mods didn’t stop there. Reinforcing all that power to the stock T-56 is a RPS twin-disc, carbon/organic clutch that’s up to the task of Brian’s road racing antics. The 6-speed is shifted via a homemade short-throw shifter that’s based from a factory piece and comes complete with UUC bushings. It works amazingly well, as your author has the same unit in his own CTS-V.
While it’s common practice for most owners of F-bodies and GTO’s to have several chassis and suspension mods, The Fat Girl relies only on a set of G-Force 1320 rear axles, QA1 shocks, Hotchkis anti-sway bars, and Ground Control coilovers, which gives TFG a lowered, one-inch stance. Toyo Proxes T1R’s spec’d-out in the factory size (245/45/18) wrap the original V’s 18×8” wheels that are still in place, albeit, covered in a glossy powder-coated black finish, while tinted windows are the only other subtle, outside cosmetic modification that tell everyone that this isn’t your average Cadillac.
The subtleties continue inside the cockpit as well, with the only noticeable change being a fire extinguisher affixed to the front passenger floorboard area. Under-hood however, where one would expect to see yet another aluminum-blocked LS motor with the infamous black composite intake, is the standard-issue CTS-V engine cover -but with a twist. TFG’s 418 hides underneath one of the most badass-looking beauty shields you’ll probably ever see on any car, anywhere!
Airbrushed by a local custom Harley painter, the valve covers are shod with skulls and fire, pretty much giving an otherwise subtle-looking sedan a dose of evil attitude, and further complementing the aggression that lies within the transplanted, stroked LS3 heart. The factory-installed Brembo brakes are still doing an excellent job bringing this beast to a complete stop without any issues.
What started in the beginning as a fun daily driver innocently enough, turned a mild-mannered engineer into a possesed out-for-blood road racer. If you’re ever on a road course or driving through Northeast Ohio, keep your eyes peeled for Brian and his Fat Girl, as they never take prisoners or play fairly. What looks like another first-generation CTS-V with black wheels is in reality an axe-wielding maniac that will easily eat your Viper for lunch. You can check out all of the videos of Brian’s V on his YouTube channel here. Let this be a warning.