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The Escalade-V Cadillac never built

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Big 3 Performance Cadillac Escalade

Milwaukee tuner builds the truck Detroit wouldn’t

By ROGER HART

Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek

AutoWeek | Published 08/09/06, 10:04 am et

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Jason Fowler has owned a variety of muscle cars and sports cars over the years, but as his family grew and his fishing interests increased he started looking for an SUV that could also tow a boat. There are several performance-oriented SUVs on the market—BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, not to mention luxury trucks from Range Rover and Mercedes—but none of these fit what Fowler was looking for. He’s a self-admitted Detroit-iron kinda guy.

What Fowler really wanted was the rumored Cadillac Escalade V, powered by a 500-plus-hp V12. Unfortunately, a rumor is all it was. GM decided the market for such a beast was too limited, and spent the money elsewhere. Fowler got a base 2005 Escalade.

While that Escalade packs a 6.0-liter, 345-hp V8 (for 2007 GM gave it a new 6.2-liter V8 rated at 403 hp and 417 lb-ft), Fowler wanted still more. Enter Big 3 Performance. The small Waukesha, Wisconsin, shop has tuned a variety of Detroit iron through the years, and when Fowler dropped off his Cadillac the craftsmen went to work, making their own version of the Escalade V.

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The list of upgrades to the ’Sclade is long: Eaton Magnacharger supercharger with intercooler, 6.6-liter stroker kit with forged pistons, Stage 2 heads that are ported and polished, Crane valvetrain, stainless-steel headers, high-flow catalysts, cat-back exhaust, double-roller timing chain and a high-flow oil pump. The upgraded fuel system has a bigger fuel pump, new injectors and a larger mass air sensor. According to Big 3’s Anthony Stevenson, “This engine now makes a conservative 725 hp and more than 800 lb-ft of torque.”

All that power is routed through the stock 4wd system, but a larger torque converter allows for a higher stall speed. The result: 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Not bad considering the vehicle weighs 5700 pounds. The last stock Escalade we tested in 1999 needed nearly 10 seconds to get to 60 mph.

Other modifications include shorter and stiffer springs to lower the truck one inch, plus heavy-duty shocks and larger antiroll bars. And that scoop on the fiberglass hood, yeah, it’s a functional ram-air unit.

Rounding out the trim package are custom embroidered headrests and floormats with the V emblem, V badges, a mesh grille and ghost flames, and 20-inch Vogue wheels.

We drove Fowler’s Escalade V in the Kettle Moraine area around Kohler, Wisconsin. No question, the thing is a beast when you dip hard into the throttle, and you feel the left front rise up noticeably in a full-throttle launch from a standing start. Once at speed, the Escalade quiets down and resorts back to a more docile manner. The ride is firmer than the last stock Escalade we drove but it corners much better than the stock truck.

All the performance comes at a hefty price: $45,000 on top of the $56,905 base price of the Escalade. But Fowler is more than satisfied with the results.

“I wanted a performance truck that could tow a boat and be my daily driver,” he said, the Escalade’s dual roles evidenced by a child safety seat in the back and a generous helping of fishing gear onboard. “I’ve got 14,000 miles on it and I couldn’t be happier,” he reports.

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Wow, that's pretty impressive. I'd like to see a video of it doing the 0-60 run. It'd be cool if he modified the interior... would have liked to have seen more photos.

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Cool, fast & big. I just want a gently used EXT. :spin:

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