Pro Touring is an awesome way to build a car, as we all know. When you take a highly desirable muscle car and update it with all the “go fast,” high tech parts, these cars go from lousy handling to high G-Machines. With the advent of the LS engine and all the new suspension technology, Pro Touring cars are mixing it up with the best in world. Thinking along this line, I had to ask myself if this would work on a 1983 Caddy. Can you take all these parts and stick them on a pimp car and get some results?
Wait….what? A 1983 Cadillac Coupe Deville? Why? I wanted to do something different, but not too far out. This era of Cadillac is not the most popular or best equipped, and is known as the “Malaise Era.” The Big 3 were facing tighter emissions rules, so they choked down all their big cars with smaller V8s and poorly designed emissions equipment of the day. Not only that, but styling and quality suffered during this downturn in the automotive era. There was still some good GM architecture here and that is why we picked up this $1200 full size GM car to explore the possibilities. We turned to the current technology from the aftermarket to transform an ’83 Caddy into a “CTS-V” type creation.
Our Cadillac is based on a C-body platform. If you want to get really technical, it’s a B-body which is stretched about 11” or so to be a C-body. You might recognize some of the types of cars that use the B/C/D platform: Caprice Classic, Impala SS, Delta Eighty-Eight, Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Safari, Fleetwood, Olds Ninety-Eight and some others. The platform went from 1977-96 pretty much unchanged. It featured body-on-perimeter frame, triangulated four-link rear suspension and independent front suspension. The beauty in all this is the endless interchangeability with other GM platforms.
Let’s start with the foundation, an LS engine. Not just any LS engine, but a World Products 427 Warhawk crate engine with around 600 hp all NA on pump gas. Managing that engine will be a Holley Terminator X with a 1000 cfm throttle body on top of their race intake manifold. That should get this big boat moving. Backing up this engine will be a Tremec Magnum 6-speed from American Powertrain, going through a DYAD dual clutch from Centerforce. Hold on…a manual in a big Cadillac? That’s right. These cars never came with manual. We made it all work with install parts from American Powertrain.
Next up, we address handling. As we mentioned before, the B/C body platform shares some design elements with other chassis. The front suspension can be swapped from a G-body and 2nd Gen F-body, as well. We looked around the internet and discovered that QA1 actually makes a full blown suspension upgrade for full size B-body cars! We gave QA1 a call, and after looking over the options, we decided to go with their Level 2 suspension system. This is a full blown conversion. Up front will be new front control arms, sway bars, coil overs and shocks. Borgeson quick ratio steering box and billet shaft takes command of it. Out back will be all tubular control arms, sway bars and coil over conversion for the rear. It’s all bolt-in easy! At the end of the car, you will find a custom built Currie 9”. We shipped off our puny 10-bolt to Currie and they whipped us up a custom 9” with 31 spline axles, 3.73 gears and a limited slip differential that is plenty strong for the power and weight of the car.
Last, but not least are brakes. This car weighs somewhere around 4100 lbs. It’s big, heavy and needs big brakes. The term “big ass brakes” only invokes one company for us: Baer Brakes. We called up Rick Elm at Baer to pick his brain and he suggested their 14” rotors with 6 piston calipers all around with an integrated parking brake. Once again, the GM DNA allows us to use some 2nd Gen Camaro spindles on our QA1 control arms. This allowed Baer to build the brakes to the new spindles for us. They shipped us the full kit with the brakes already assembled on the spindles with the calipers mounted as well. All we have to do is simply bolt them to the control arms and hook up the brake lines! We let them know we had a Currie 9” set up at the rear. They sent us the mounting plates spec’d out for the Currie, which are also a snap to install.
Our goals for this car are to make it fast, make it handle, make it fun and make it comfortable. It’s still a Cadillac after all. We want all the creature comforts of a Cadillac to work: power windows, power seats and A/C. We even ordered up a Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum A/C system. So, is this Pro-Touring? Not really. It’s something new and we call it.…Pro-Luxury.
Big thanks to the following people. Without you..This car would not have happened. Jeff Lee, Marcus Heurich, Jon Clark, Jefferson Bryant, Robert Hall, Tim King, Andrew Erichsen, Scott Hicks, Mike Copeland, Keith Jesse, Wayne Henry and my wife....
- Brakes: Baer Brakes - Baer 14" brake kit front and rear
- Coilovers: QA1 - QA1
- Control Arms: QA1
- Master Cylinder: Baer Brakes
- Rod Ends: QA1
- Shocks: QA1
- Springs: QA1
- Suspension: QA1
- Sway Bars: QA1
- Axle Housing: Currie Enterprises
- Center Section: Currie Enterprises
- Clutch Assembly: Centerforce Clutches
- Flywheel: Centerforce Clutches
- Hubs: Baer Brakes
- Shifter: American Powertrain
- Transmission: American Powertrain - Modified Tremec Magnum by American Powertrai n
- Camshaft: Comp Cams
- Connecting Rods: Eagle Specialty Products
- Crankshaft: Eagle Specialty Products
- ECU: Holley Performance Products - Terminator X
- Exhaust Components: Hooker Blackheart
- Exhaust Headers: Hooker Blackheart
- Exhaust Mufflers: Borla Performance
- Exhaust system: Hooker Blackheart
- Fasteners: Earl’s Performance Plumbing
- Filters: K&N Engineering, Inc.
- Fuel Injection: Holley Performance Products
- Fuel Lines: Earl’s Performance Plumbing
- Fuel Management: Holley Performance Products
- Fuel Pump: Holley Performance Products
- Fuel Rails: Holley Performance Products
- Ignition: Holley Performance Products
- Injectors: Holley Performance Products
- Intake Manifold: Holley Performance Products
- Lifters: Comp Cams
- Motor Mounts: Holley Performance Products - G-body LS swap mounts
- Oil Cooler: Earl’s Performance Plumbing
- Oil Pan: Moroso Performance Products
- Plumbing/Fittings: Earl’s Performance Plumbing
- Radiator: Frostbite Performance Cooling
- Rocker Arms: Brian Tooley Racing