PH Service History: Caddy Shack

Don't you just love it when you find a bit of a unicorn for sale in the classifieds? I've managed it this morning. Only problem is, I still can't decide whether this is a unicorn I should really be getting excited about.

It's this Cadillac CTS-V. A 2016 car, it's done just 2500 miles, which makes it about as 'nearly new' as it gets. And crikey, it does look good, doesn't it? If ever there was a car for the person who wanted something a little different to the... ahem... 'usual' M5 / E63 / RS6 crowd, this has to be it. This CTS-V actually would have the legs on any of the above contemporaries in terms of outright power, and while it isn't the most focussed thing in the world to drive, it's still a right old hoot - as you'd expect from anything throwing 649hp at the back end.

All sounds good so far, doesn't it? There are, however, a couple of problems. Firstly, it's a left-hooker - as indeed were all of the handful of CTS-Vs that were sent over to the UK officially. And secondly, you'll have to go without a vital organ for a bit in order to be able to afford it. At a fiver shy of £60,000, it's fabulously expensive - especially when you bear in mind you can nobble a BMW M5 Competition Pack of similar age and mileage, from a main dealer, for a whopping £12,000 or so less.

You might try and justify the extra the Caddy demands though. It's a bona fide chunk of American muscle, one that manages to be a genuinely capable super-saloon in the modern era, without having to reference past glories. But try as I might, I can't quite make that justification stretch to twelve large. Better to stick with the Bimmer, then. Or choose something more sensibly priced from the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Handily, there's quite a surfeit of desirable US tin kicking around the classifieds. And because Ford very considerately started importing Mustangs officially a couple of years ago, if you want something that's already built to UK spec and ready to go, it's the obvious choice. Sure, it doesn't have the firepower of the CTS-V, but with its snorting engine and loose tail it has all the hallmarks of a traditional American muscle car - albeit one that comes with all the modern trimmings you could wish for.

Some of us were secretly hoping values would take a dive off a cliff so that we could afford one sooner, especially as it's such a niche car, but current owners will be pleased to note that it seems demand is holding up - and so, therefore, are prices. The cheapest current-gen V8 we've got listed at the moment, for example, is a slightly leggy First Edition car going for £32k; my money, however, would go on this 'standard' GT with more reasonable miles for similar cash.

While rummaging in the Mustang classifieds, I was a little surprised to note just how cheap a classic example can be had for these days. This utterly lovely '66 289 in rare Emberglo, complete with the Pony interior and power steering, is yours for £16k - great value, I reckon, given how pricey some other classics are, and especially if it's as original as it sounds. The paintwork isn't the greatest, but if the rest of the car is up together, it's worth spending money on a respray; you'll still end up with a cheap Mustang with fresh paint and a beautiful interior, which sounds like a good deal to me.

If that's still too rich for your blood, you'll be glad to know you can get into some genuinely desirable American tin for even less than £10,000. There's actually a surprising amount of eighties and nineties metal around at this price, but of course, much of it is toot. Some might argue that this Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is, too, but I'd disagree. For all their flabbiness, there's something ineffably cool about these third-gen Camaros (and their Firebird twins), and while 233hp is, frankly, laughable from a 5.0-litre V8, when European manufacturers were making 3.5-litre sixes kicking out 50hp more, it's still got enough shove to be entertaining. Lairy handling in the wet and a harsh ride are downsides, but when you're rolling up at high school in this baby, you just won't give a damn. Er, or something. This one ticks all the right boxes, and while the price is strong, the low mileage, immaculate condition and full history might justify it.

But I'll end with something completely different. After all, what round-up of American motors would be complete without some sort of pick-up? Now, I'm not really one for your common-or-garden F150 myself, but I can get behind this glorious 1960 Chevy El Camino. With those jet-age bulges and graphics running down the outsides of the bed, and the preposterous fins that arch across the tail like a pair of chromed wings, it's hilariously overblown for a utility vehicle, but for me that's just part of the appeal. With the 5.7-litre V8 fitted to this car, an El Camino of this generation was capable of cracking 60mph from a standstill in seven seconds - not half bad for a pickup dating from 1960. And the best part is this cracking old thing can be yours for around a third of the price of that CTS-V, leaving change to spare for a daily. I know which I'd rather have.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (24) Join the discussion on the forum

  • AndySheff 17 Dec 2017

    My new toy. Being UK registered at the mo.

  • wormus 17 Dec 2017

    Imagine meeting this at the traffic lights:

  • WhiteBaron 17 Dec 2017

    AndySheff said:

    My new toy. Being UK registered at the mo.
    Pistonheads needs a like button!

    Love these smile

  • unsprung 17 Dec 2017

    wormus said:
    Imagine meeting this at the traffic lights:
    "Won't be a minute, Love. Just popping down the high street for a few things." hehe

  • MuscleSaloon 17 Dec 2017

    CTS-V is epic. 640 hp. 11 second quarters. 200 mph. A Corvette Z06 with rear doors and seats for the kids !

    Not sure it is really so expensive at £60k when something like a new Golf R can head towards £40k with options, Mustang V8 the same sort of money while the '18 Stang heads towards £50k with options.

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