Cadillac Reveals a Limited CT5-V Blackwing Line for Collectors

2024 cadillac ct5v blackwing collector edition
Cadillac Has CT5-V Blackwings Made for CollectorsAndrew Wendler - Car and Driver
  • Cadillac gives us a peek behind the curtain of the GM Artisan Innovation Center where the 2024 CT5-V Blackwing 20th Anniversary Editions are hand assembled.

  • Each of the 21 examples are built by teams of six to eight craftspeople based on customer input, and a special edition costs $36,000 on top of the car's $94,890 base price.

  • Though all 21 CT5-V Blackwing 20th Anniversary models are spoken for, GM hopes to expand the low-volume program for future models.

2024 marks the 20th anniversary of Cadillac's V-series performance models. Never one to let an opportunity pass without a commemorative special edition, Cadillac is currently hard at work completing a run of 21 2024 CT5-V Blackwing 20th Anniversary Editions, one for each year of production of the V-series. (Production of V-models started in 2004, and it works out to 21 model years of production, trust us.) Though they share their core DNA with production CT5-V Blackwings, this elite group of 21 examples are hand-built to order and receive extensive massaging and finishing attention that may escape the mere production models.

20th anniversary ct5v
Fresh from the body shop, a Chartreuse Metallic CT5-V is headed for assembly.Cadillac - Car and Driver

Cadillac has long known the importance of the personalization game in high-dollar enthusiast cars, and the CT4- and CT5-V Blackwings have long offered a variety of pricey options. However, the special-edition V-series gambit kicked off in 2011 with the CTS-V Black Diamond Edition. Other notable favorites include the 2018 ATS-V and CTS-V Championship Editions and the 2023 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing 120th Anniversary Edition.


To get a sneak peek at just how meticulously each of these latest special editions are assembled by a dedicated crew, Cadillac let us behind the curtain to examine a few CT5-V Blackwing special editions still undergoing assembly and finishing work. We also got the chance to speak with the team that makes these dreams a reality and the people who interface with the demanding and highly focused clientele to make their dreams come true.

Blackwing Bona Fides

The journey begins by selecting regular production order code ZLT, which opens the door to a 2024 CT5-V Blackwing 20th Anniversary Edition with the standard Blackwing's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 good for 668 horsepower and 655 pound-feet of torque funneled through either a 10-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The CT5-V Blackwing's performance bona fides are well documented by C/D, and Cadillac tells us about 60 percent of buyers still choose the manual, a statistic that warms our hearts. But that's just the first chapter of this story, which, despite the low production number of just 21 examples, is long and involved.

Each Blackwing 20th Anniversary Edition is assembled by hand by a single team of six to eight people start to finish at the GM Artisan Innovation Center, formerly and occasionally still known as Global Pre-Production Operations in Warren, a suburb of Detroit. A lot of operations in addition to the Blackwing build still go on there, says plant director Karsten Garbe, including the assembly of concept and show cars.

2024 cadillac blackwing collector's series
Each fastener is hand-torqued to specification, then marked with a UV ink viewable only under black light to preserve the pristine presentation. Andrew Wendler

The process begins with bodies painted in basic black receiving critical inspections for any imperfections, then regapped and scuffed for final paint. Customers can choose from a palette of over 20 exclusive colors not available on mere production CT5-V models. Each model is hand painted, and even the engine bay is hand sanded and receives three coats of clearcoat. The engines arrive in a crate from GM's facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the team proceeds to meticulously assemble each vehicle by hand, the entire process requiring as much as 200 to 300 hours, according to Garsten, who added that he'd like to see this type of specialized and dedicated manufacturing expand should the business case warrant.

The concierge team stands ready to overnight paint samples and fabric swatches back and forth until the customer is entirely satisfied with the hue. The finished product includes the requisite "1 of 21" sill plate, a unique shifter emblem, a B-pillar plaque, and a serial number plate on the steering wheel. But the options for personalization from there are vast.

In addition to the 20 exterior colors, three interior color combos are on offer: brown and black Signet; red, gray, and black Skycool; and the black-and-red Adrenaline Red color scheme. There are also two exterior carbon-fiber packages, three wheel choices, and four caliper color choices.

A curious option would let you tie the cosmetics of your 2024 CT-V Blackwing special edition to a previous generation V-Series model from the 2005 through 2024 model years. Should your anniversary, or divorce, for that matter, represent a special time in your life in the year of 2018, the concierge team will help you outfit your new 2024 Blackwing with key elements from the 2018 CTS-V Championship Editions. The price for this service is a not insubstantial $7120.

Garbe also notes that every delivery is accompanied by a signed photo of all the team members who assembled the car, and it's not uncommon for a surprise special gift to be included as well.

a group of people standing next to a couple of cars in a garage
The team at the GM Artisan Innovation Center poses with two recently completed cars, Kimono Metallic on the left and Chartreuse Metallic with frosted matte finish on the right. Car and Driver

Entrance to the Blackwing Club 21

The most exclusive clubs have a byzantine vetting process, and that's also true of the method used to identify and select potential 2024 CT5-V Blackwing 20th Anniversary owners. According to Cadillac's Meagan Quinn, the process starts at the dealer level, as most dealers have a finger on the pulse of their local Cadillac performance enthusiast population and have a good working relationship with repeat customers. Cadillac says demand far outstrips supply for every generation of special edition and collector series models. "Although we can't entirely control our dealers," says Quinn, there are no unspoken qualifications or previous ownership requirements necessary to be considered. It also means the dealers are free to price as they see fit.

With the intention to discourage flippers, the process relies heavily on the dealership and its sales specialists to feel out the customer. These models do not carry any waiver forbidding the resale of a CT5-V Blackwing, although they have done so previously with other GM models including the Corvette and the Cadillac Escalade. "So far, the buyers have been so emotionally involved with the purchase that it hasn't been an issue," says Quinn.

Professional Shopper

Given the intensity and demanding nature of the process, Quinn refers to herself as a "shopping buddy" to many of the buyers, who come from predictably high positions in life. Specifically, they represent Cadillac’s youngest demographic at roughly 53 years of age, with a median income of $380,000 (many much higher), and generally with a collection of 10 to 20 cars already. Geographically, more buyers are based outside of the cold-climate region, perhaps partly due to the car's rear-wheel-drive format. Quinn says by the time an order is complete, "knows more about the customer than they do themselves."

The number 21 holds an interesting position in numerology and associated folklore; we'll spare you the groovy details here, but essentially these two digits embody independence, individuality, and new beginnings. While for Cadillac, the number 21 specifically refers to the number of years since the first V models appeared in the Cadillac canon, it dovetails nicely with its mythological meaning of "independence, individuality, and the pursuit of one's own path"—right in line with Cadillac's current branding message and the demographic it's pursuing.

We're just glad Cadillac still has the latitude to take on brand-building projects of passion, and customers have the interest and means to keep the program viable.

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