They say good things come to those who wait, and while that may or may not be true depending on the situation, waiting — generally speaking– builds character. Let’s take a project car, for example — there’s something to be said for assembling the car or truck of your dreams with your own two hands. Sure, you could run out and purchase one if you’re lucky enough and have the cash, or you could start small and work your way up to the car of your dreams. While the second option takes time, planning, and patience, in our experience, it’s well worth the journey as friends are made and stories unfold.
Photos by: Brian Wagner
Like most of us, Sean Sherrill, was bitten by the car bug at an early age. He said, “Up until I was five or six, I was at the dragstrip or Hickory Motor Speedway every weekend when I lived in North Carolina. This is where I think the gearhead in me was born and I never could shake it.” In fact, Sherrill loved cars so much that he went to school in Lima, Ohio, at The University of Northwestern Ohio for automotive and obtained a high-performance automotive associates’ degree. “I used to work for car dealers, but I switched my career path 11 years ago to start working for Marathon Petroleum and shifted to performing car repair and performance upgrades on the side,” Sherrill explained. “No reason to let the tools and knowledge sit in the corner and collect dust.”
Over the years, Sherrill has owned a few high-performance cars, including a third-gen 1986 Camaro IROC-Z, a 1991 Camaro Z28, and a 2001 Pontiac Firebird WS6. However, after possessing all of these F-bodies, Sherrill decided he wanted a vehicle that was a little more luxurious but still maintained some grit.
“I wanted a car that could handle the corners and had room to grow in horsepower, and the CTS-V was the perfect candidate.” Sherrill continued, “Not many see this car for what it is. They can make a ton of power, and you can still have all of the comfort and dependability for daily driving.”
After Sherrill had decided on purchasing a second-gen Cadillac CTS-V, the hunt was on for the perfect candidate. He searched the internet high and low in the winter of 2017 before he found a 2013 CTS-V Coupe painted in Phantom Gray Metallic from a private party in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Sherrill said, “When I went to look at the Cadillac, it was a very overcast day. When you pair that with the excitement I had of realizing this car could be in my driveway soon, I overlooked a few minor things like the paint. But, overall, the car was in great shape. It was 100-percent stock with a manual transmission and black wheels. Plus, it only had 29,000 miles on the clock.”
After Sherrill got the CTS-V back to Ohio, he began working on the car. The first step was to fix the paint, which the previous owner had somewhat neglected. Shawm Wuertz of Precision Dent Repair on the east side of Columbus handled the paint correction, which required him to wet-sand and buff the entire car. Next, Sherrill decided to ditch the factory black wheels; a set of Ferrada 20×9-inch wheels wrapped with 255/35ZR20 Falken tires on the front and 20×10.5-inch wheels with massive 295/30ZR20 Falkens on the back were used to give the Caddy some serious attitude. The factory exhaust was also scrapped in favor of American Racing Headers, X-pipe, and 3-inch exhaust with Corsa mufflers. The new modifications curbed Sherrill’s need for speed for about a year, but more mods followed.
“I drove it like this for the first year that I owned it while I collected the rest of the parts that are on it now for a winter build,” Sherrill said.
As winter rolled in, he decided it was time to take all of the parts he had stockpiled and get the CTS-V up to par. His friend, Ryan Waller, was called on for help with the new modifications, and in return, Sherrill would help him out with a Whipple installation on his 2008 Trailblazer SS. Although Sherrill said, “I think Ryan might have got the better end of the deal.”
The stock 6.2-liter LS engine in the CTS-V would not go untouched. Sherrill contacted Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) and ordered a Stage 3 camshaft to allow the supercharged mill to breathe a little easier. Sherrill also added a few other bolt-ons to free up even more power. A Nick Williams 102mm throttle body was installed, as was a Weapon X Superflow 5-inch cold air intake. Other modifications included ARP head studs, Alky Control methanol injection, Injector Dynamics 1050x injectors, and a set of Magnecor plug wires.
While the factory LSA supercharger makes good power, it can certainly be modified for much more significant gains. So, Sherrill shipped the unit off to Kong Performance to have it ported. He also upgraded to an Innovators West balancer with a Metco 8.6-inch lower pulley and a 2.55-inch upper MKII Griptech pulley. Sherrill also decided to upgrade the heat exchanger with a Weapon X Track Attack 3-inch core. This modification will help keep the air temperatures at bay when the LSA hits 14-pounds of boost.
I never had this nice of a car, so this build was a way of treating myself for all of my hard work. I still have plenty of upgrades that I want to do in the future. – Sherrill
With the engine buttoned up, it was time for Sherrill and Waller to turn their attention to the suspension and drivetrain. First, the factory clutch was upgraded with a McLeod RTX disc and a steel flywheel. The stock TR-6060 shifter was also removed in favor of a Core short-throw shifter, allowing quick gear changes and effortless shifts. Finally, Eibach Pro-Kit lowering springs were added to the front and rear of the V to give it a proper stance.
If you’re going to build a car over the winter, you might as well make some body modifications while you’re at it. Sherrill decided to stay low-key with the mods but opted for a Weapon X hood, Balto Performance chin spoiler, and rear deck spoiler. The final result of the changes is classy, which aligns with the CTS-V, with a touch of aggression, letting everyone know that this car means business.
With all of the mods buttoned up, it was time to take the Cadillac to the dyno and have it tuned. Sherrill called Brian Turner at Dyno Tune Motorsports in Galloway, Ohio, to take care of the job. At Sherrill’s request, Turner kept the tune conservative; however, the new mods netted 673 horsepower and 622 lb-ft of torque at the CTSV’s wheels.
And while Sherrill doesn’t currently race the car, he will someday. “I want to go to the track in the future when it’s not used as a daily driver,” Sherrill explained. “She’s a heavy one but does well in the corners, which is probably my favorite, and she comes out of the corner on a mission. This car is just a blast to drive.”
While Sherrill’s CTS-V is the perfect build for most enthusiasts, he’s still looking for a little more from the car. And who could blame him? It would be hard to leave the Cadillac alone with so much aftermarket support, even if you have to wait a little longer.