If you’ve seen “Disco Dean” Karns on Discovery Channel’s hit show “Street Outlaws No Prep Kings” (NPK), or on the $10K Drag Shootout, you know he’s far from subtle. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that when Dean decided to bring out a new NPK car it would be two things: pink in color, and totally over the top.
Dean’s new CTS-V is an eye-catching ride that’s going to be a player in the no-prep world.
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 street car.
“Lindsey had been looking at the two-door CTS coupes for a long time. The car just wasn’t practical for the family at the time since it really couldn’t haul anything. I started looking for one and saw that the smaller V-6 engines weren’t that good, but she decided that she wanted a CTS-V, and I wasn’t sure if she was ready for something like that. We put it on the back-burner, and she actually 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 song, it just started to make sense, so we built one,” Dean says.
Dean didn’t have the budget to build a totally new chassis, but he did have the funds to purchase a wrecked chassis that needed some TLC. A Jerry Haas car that had been involved in a small scuffle with the retaining wall was purchased to serve as the skeleton for the CTS-V. Dean went to a local junkyard and purchased a totaled CTS-V. The wrecked body, along with the chassis was brought to Larry Houck at Houck Fab. Houck started the surgery by gutting the CTS-V and grafting its 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 that.
“I drag raced when I was a kid, but I did the low rider thing for a while, too. I’ve always been a fan of the low rider-style paint schemes, since 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 at Boitnott’s Customs laid down the Miami Night Life pink on the car and did all the airbrush work. He’s a guy that can really bring a vision to life in such an amazing way. All I did was give him the colors I wanted to use, the theme of a low rider, and you can see how awesome the final product is,” Dean states.
The NPK series is brutally competitive and you have to be on top of your game at all times if you want to keep up. Dean and his team put a lot of effort into the CTS-V to get it ready, and he feels the car is going to really be a runner after they get it dialed in.
“We brought the car out with zero testing on the chassis with our proven engine combination. When you build a new car there’s going to be gremlins, and you don’t want to get them wet because they multiply. There’s always going to be a learning curve and there’s stuff we had to learn with the chassis. The level of success we had with the car has us excited, it’s really showing some promise,” Dean explains.
One of the best parts of no-prep racing is the characters that you’ll find racing at events all over the country. Dean is a fan-favorite thanks to his charm and his big personality. A pink Cadillac isn’t something you see at the track very often, so it fits Dean’s brand, but he’s still trying to figure out a name for his new ride.
“We haven’t decided on a name yet, I like to be creative and we’re talking with the producers about a few we’ve come up with. I know some people think that Stinky Pinky is offensive, and plenty of people do 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 because we’re waiting to see if Discovery will allow it. If not, it will be Stinky Pinky 4 I guess,” Dean says.
Disco Dean’s new Cadillac is certainly one of the most vibrant looking cars you’ll see at an NPK event (or anywhere, for that matter). And there’s a good chance you’ll see Dean and his CTS-V hanging out in the winner’s circle very soon on Discovery Channel.