Let’s hear it for excess

Date:25 September 2012 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:, , , , , ,

Personally, I’m not wild about today’s Cadillacs. I’ve always loved the shape and just about everything else about the carrier-sized Caddies of the 1940s and 1950s, and even a couple from the extravagant Sixties – but have to say that I lost interest when the cars became ordinary. It’s as if their creators were consumed with guilt over the excesses of yesteryear and decided to tone it down.

Well, there’s nothing ordinary about the version turned out by Hennessey, the legendary American tuning outfit. Their road-ripping Cadillac CTS-VR1200 Twin Turbo Coupe is powered by a 7-litre V8 churning out a remarkable 1 226 horsepower (or 914 kW in metric parlance) at 6 400 r/min. That’s enough to take it from standstill to 100 km/h in a shade over 2,9 seconds and top out at 389 km/h.

To put this into perspective, the more famous Bugatti Veyron  supercar – in recently announced Grand Sport Vitesse guise, featuring a 7-litre quad-turbo W16 engine – goes from 0-100 km/h in just under 2,6 seconds and has a reputed top speed of 410 km/h. This monster’s engine output has been measured at around 895 kW. Yes, that’s slightly less than the number achieved by the vulgar American.

Which would I choose? The Bugatti, obviously – but only if I was rolling in the green stuff. In the real world, where R20 million price tags are slightly daunting, I’d shun both and opt for a 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe (also known as a Sedanette), resplendent in  conservative but utterly beautiful black. To see what I mean, check out this gallery of the car in blue livery: www.motortrend.com/features/consumer/1001_1949_cadillac_series_62_classic/photos/#10

So you’d prefer the mod-cons and muscle of a new Caddy? Then whet your appetite with this YouTube video of a Cadillac CTS-VR1200 “sport wagon” (!) challenging a Porsche 997 Turbo on the dragstrip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPz9SgoqxCA&feature=player_embedded