If you’ve seen “Disco Dean” Karns on Discovery Channel’s hit show “Street Outlaws No Prep Kings” (NPK), or in the $10K Drag Shootout, you know he’s far from subtle. So it should come as no surprise that when Dean decided to release a new NPK car it would be two things: pink in color and all over the top.
Dean’s new CTS-V is an eye-catching ride that’s going to be a player in the world without preparation.
The CTS-V wasn’t on Dean’s radar at all when he was thinking about building a new car. Inspiration for the Caddy came from research he had done for his girlfriend Lindsey’s new road car.
“Lindsey had been eyeing the two-door CTS coupes for a long time. The car just wasn’t practical for the family at the time, because it really couldn’t carry anything. I started looking for one and saw that the smaller V-6s weren’t that good, but she decided she wanted a CTS-V, and I wasn’t sure she was ready. We put it on the back burner and she ended up getting a Camaro. I noticed how aerodynamic the CTS-V was, that it had a good wheelbase and it grew on me as a race car. Between that, and we joked about having a pink Cadillac like the number, it just started to make sense, so we built one,” Dean says.
Dean didn’t have the budget to build a whole new chassis, but he did have the money to buy a broken chassis that needed some attention. A Jerry Haas car that had been involved in a minor scuffle with the retaining wall was purchased to serve as a skeleton for the CTS-V. Dean went to a local junkyard and bought a total CTS-V. The destroyed bodywork was taken along with the chassis to Larry Houck in Houck Fab. Houck began the operation by stripping the CTS-V and grafting the shell onto the repaired chassis.
The 521 cubic inch BAE HEMI and Rossler TH400 transmission were transplanted into the chassis to give the CTS-V a heartbeat. Now that the Cadillac was running, it was time to make it look good, and Dean had a plan for it.
“I drag raced when I was a kid, but I also did the low-rider thing for a while. I’ve always been a fan of the low rider style paint schemes because they look so cool. When I went to the drag races as a kid, everything was painted, nothing was wrapped. So I wanted to bring that style back. Jim Boitnott of Boitnott’s Customs put the Miami Night Life pink on the car and did all the airbrushing. He is a man who can bring a vision to life in such an amazing way. All I did was give it the colors I wanted to use, the low rider theme, and you can see how great the finished product is,” says Dean.
The NPK series is brutally competitive and you need to be up to date at all times if you want to keep up. Dean and his team have put a lot of effort into getting the CTS-V ready, and he feels the car will really turn into a runner after they key it in.
“We brought the car out without testing on the chassis with our proven engine combination. When you build a new car there will be gremlins, and you don’t want to get them wet because they multiply. There will always be a learning curve and there are things we had to learn with the chassis. The success we had with the car makes us enthusiastic, it really promises something’, explains Dean.
One of the best aspects of unprepared racing is the characters you’ll see racing at events across the country. Dean is a fan favorite thanks to his charm and big personality. A pink Cadillac isn’t often seen on the track, so it fits Dean’s brand, but he’s still trying to come up with a name for his new ride.
“We haven’t decided on a name yet, I like to be creative and we’re talking to the producers about a few we’ve come up with. I know some people think Stinky Pinky is offensive, and a lot of people like it, but the brand has a lot of juice behind it. The name I came up with was the “Pink Penetrator” because I want to penetrate the winner’s circle. We haven’t settled on that name yet as we’re waiting to see if Discovery will allow it. If not, I think it’ll be Stinky Pinky 4,” says Dean.
Disco Dean’s new Cadillac is certainly one of the most vibrant-looking cars you’ll see at an NPK event (or anywhere). And chances are you’ll be seeing Dean and his CTS-V hanging out in the winners circle on the Discovery Channel soon.