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2009 Cadillac CTS-V - The Raven

Manny Espino’s 9-second LSA-powered CTS-V turns up the heat in Miami

Justin Cesler Dec 14, 2011
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There's no easy way to say this...I hate Manny Espino. It's not anything against him personally, I am sure he is a great guy. And, it's not because he has done anything to offend me or some terrible act against society. Nope, I hate Manny for one, all-black, four-door supercharged reason. Manny not only drives one of my all-time dream cars but it runs 9.85, makes 865 rwhp, and he only bought it because he "was in need of a four-door car" to haul his wife and two kids around. I mean, "if you're going to have a four-door, it might as well be fast," right? Yeah, we all agree Manny, but did you have to go out and become the first 9-second LSA-powered CTS-V in the country to boot? Heck, the guy already owns an '86 Buick T-Type that runs 8.10 at 172, does he just sit around and build cars I've lusted after for years and then smash records with them? What a jerk!

Of course, I am just jealous, but can you blame me? Look at this thing, dripping in perfect Cadillac Black Raven paint perfectly hung over a set of 20-inch three-piece Strasse Forged wheels wrapped in Nitto Invo tires. Being a new CTS-V, that's all Manny had to do to the exterior to make it amazing, since Cadillac takes care of the killer styling at the factory. The interior is just as it came from Detroit since, you know, he's got to carry the kids around in it. "I bought the car used and it already had heads/cam. I took it to the track the way I bought it and it ran 11.0's." For this author, that would have been the beginning and end of an excellent dream. For Manny "that wasn't going to cut it," so he made a couple of pulley changes and employed Jeremy Formato to give the computer a full work over to optimize the tune. "That got me into the 10's." Of course it did...what happens next is even better.

"I noticed nobody had gotten a [new] CTS-V in the 9's and that's when I started to think it would be nice to be the first to do it?" That question mark isn't a misprint, that's really what Manny wrote, as if to ensure that I spent the rest of my day crying under my desk, contemplating giving up cars all together and moving to Tibet. Unfortunately, Manny had a slight miscalculation on his way into the 9's, pursuing a ZR1 supercharger system that didn't work out as planned. "The only bolt-on option at the time was the ZR1 blower option. It was a ZR1 blower modified to fit the CTS-V snout onto the ZR1 blower using the CTS-V lid and intercooler. That turned out to be a big waste of time and money."

Unsatisfied but not deterred, Manny pushed on with his vision and spent some time at the drawing board figuring things out. After some deliberation, Manny chose to build a stout bottom end for his V and make power using the stock blower instead of the ZR1 piece. "Since I was going to be driving the car a lot," with the luckiest kids in the world riding shotgun, "I decided to stick with the stock cubes and stroke." This is when Manny teamed up with Total Engine Concepts (TEC) in Riviera Beach, Florida, who tore down the stock unit and stuffed it with a set of forged JE pistons and Callies I-beam rods, keeping the stock crankshaft in place to keep everything spinning. Paired with a set of ported LSA cylinder heads and a healthy camshaft, TEC built Manny a reliable and strong motor, which he just had to drop in the V to make some noise, but that would just be too easy.


Manny had one more trick up his sleeve to make sure the car ran the number, this one little box from a crazy man in Waco, Texas. "The only other option to get me into the 9's would be nitrous. That is when I purchased a single nozzle kit from Nitrous Outlet good for 250 horsepower." Yes, a blown and sprayed CTS-V street car. "After I got the motor back from TEC, I had Nelson Performance in Miami install the engine and nitrous kit to get ready for the 9-second pass." I am a ball of jealous rage at this point, but I am going to keep telling Manny's story out of respect for his accomplishments and the hope that he someday gives me a ride in the Cadillac (hint, hint).

"The car on the blower alone made 670-rwhp and 600 lb-ft of torque. We started with a 100-shot for the first pull and that netted us around 750-rwhp, but it was pig rich." Manny wasn't sure 750 was enough for him, so he had Jeremy up the jets and make some tuning changes, the final result of which was 865-rwhp and 848 lb-ft of torque. That's a ton of nitrous on top of almost 15 pounds of boost and Manny "thought it would be enough for the 9's" and it turns out he was right. "The first pass was a 10.23 with the progressive controller settings we had. We then decided to ramp it in a little quicker and that netted us a 9.95 at 138 mph." With history behind them, Manny turned it up again, backing his first 9-second pass up with a 9.85 at 139 mph. "So then I got greedy and tried to ramp it in even quicker." And that's when the stock transmission said enough was enough and flared badly on the 4-5 shift, resulting in an aborted run and a 10.0-second pass. Never a pessimist, Manny left the track with a sense of accomplishment, the first LSA-powered CTS-V 9-second pass and happy that he drove to the track and drove home with a new best. We're happy for him too, even though we're a little (make that a lot) jealous of his sick CTS-V. But hey, at least it gives us something to dream about and maybe, just maybe, Manny will let us get a ride in it after all...

2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Owner: Manny Espino
Block: LSA, 376 cid
Compression ratio: 9.0:1
Heads: LSA (ported), 2.16 intake, 1.59 exhaust valves
Cam: Custom hydraulic roller, 237/248 duration at .050, .586/.586-inch lift, 113-LSA
Rocker arms: Stock, 1.7 ratio
Pistons: JE, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Stock, forged steel
Rods: Callies, forged
Throttle body: Stock GM, 90mm
Fuel injectors: 100 lb/hr
Fuel pump: Stock GM, in-tank
Ignition: Stock coil-near-plug, NGK TR6 plugs
Engine management: Stock, tuned by Jeremy Formato of Fasterproms
Power Adder: Stock GM, 1900 TVS
Boost: 14.8 psi
Intercooler: D3 Super Intercooler, air-to-water
Exhaust system: Kooks 1 7/8-inch long-tube headers, Magnaflow 2.5-inch exhaust
Transmission: 6L90E
Converter: Stock GM
Driveshaft: PST 3.5-inch, carbon fiber
Front suspension: Eibach springs, Magnetic Ride Control shocks, stock front sway bar
Rear suspension: Eibach springs, Magnetic Ride Control shocks, stock sway bar, lower control arms, trailing arms and toe rods
Rear end: Stock GM IRS, 3.73 gear, posi
Brakes: Brembo 15-inch, 6-piston front; 14.7-inch, 4-piston rear
Wheels: Strasse Forged 20x9 front, 20x10 rear
Front tires: Nitto Invo 255/35/20
Rear tires: Nitto Invo 285/30/20
Fuel octane: 93
HP/TQ: 865/848
ET/MPH: 9.85/139
60-foot: 1.49
Mileage: 23,000



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