Team Hall & Nass Preview the 2010 Cadillac Lifestyle, Part 2 of 2

26 01 2010

Team Hall & Nass Preview the 2010 Cadillac Lifestyle, Part 2 of 2

Working Our Way to Checkpoint Two

When Charlie said he didn’t know where we were going, he wasn’t kidding! After a series of u-turns and wrong turns, it finally occurs to me that I have a nav system in the dash in front of me. DUH! However, before I can plug in the address of the next checkpoint, Donna from GM calls my cell and tells me I am less than a block away. Sure enough, when we pull around one of the many office buildings (all there seems to be in this part of Las Colinas), we discover both a row of Cadillacs sitting there and Donna standing there shaking her head at us. Oops!

After I quickly summarize that I got “punked” by Charlie, she just laughs and escorts us inside and up to the top of the office building for our next surprise. I don’t know what the scene was when everyone else pulled into Via Real at Checkpoint One, but this was impressive!

Breathtaking Views from the Top

The “super secret” and hard to find Checkpoint Two was none other than the exclusive and private La Cima Club. Perched on top of the Williams Square building in Irving, Texas (known as host to the “world’s largest equestrian sculpture” in front of the building), the unobstructed view in all directions is unparalleled by any other building in the area. On a clear day (which it certainly was on our visit), you can see all of the skyscrapers of Dallas (10 miles to the east) and of Fort Worth (30 miles to the west) and all points in between. But the ClubCorp-owned La Cima is not just known for its breathtaking views and private membership. It’s known for its exquisite fine dining. The fine folks at GM and Cadillac did not let this “typical” Cadillac owner’s experience evade us either.

As we dined on hand-prepared lobster rolls and sipped fine, non-alcoholic sparkling cider (after all, this is a driving event!), we were entertained by a presentation from both the general manager of the club and the head sous chef, who had returned to La Cima after years of working in other equally impressive establishments. It was quite the tasty snack!

As an added bonus, Nick (Charlie’s partner in crime and the other half of Burnout Radio) had joined us for the remainder of the evening, so I knew the next leg was likely going to contain even more fun-filled hijinx and laughs. Boy howdy! If I’d only known what was coming next!

Breathtaking Views from the Valet Stand

While I can (and do) appreciate fine dining and breathtaking views of Dallas, did I happen to mention what GM and Cadillac had lined up for we, the lucky few, to climb all over, experience and drive at this event? Here is the rundown: About a dozen second generation 2010 SRX Crossovers, an all-new 2010 CTS Sport Wagon, and the coup de gras – a silver 2010 CTS-V Sedan.

When first invited to this event, I had been told there “may” be a CTS-V on hand, but no guarantees. On the day of the event, I had reached out to Donna at GM and inquired about the CTS-V again. She had said “maybe so … but who knows?” I had jokingly tweeted her that if it was going to be there, I hoped they brought an extra set of Michelin Pilot Sports and brake pads because between myself and Burnout Radio they were likely going to need replacing after, and perhaps even during, the event. Her reply, “NOT if you’d like to be invited back!”

All joking aside, I really didn’t expect to get a chance to drive the CTS-V. As I was leaving Checkpoint One, I noticed a silver CTS-V sitting there, but it was awaiting one of the Cadillac reps to drive it to the next stop after we were all gone. So I figured it was there for us to see, but not necessarily to drive. I figured I’d do well to get my hands on the CTS Sport Wagon for the run from Checkpoint Two to Three. At least then I would have a chance to find out just how well the Wagon would get away from Charlie in the SRX.

However, as I looked out over the lineup of Caddys in the valet area of the Williams Square building, there sat the silver CTS-V, quietly off to the side. So while the rest of the crowd was getting intimate with a guided tour of the SRX’s many cool interior and exterior features, I eased across the lot and began taking photos of and admiring the CTS-V up close and personal.

Contemplating Grand Theft Auto

It wasn’t the first CTS-V I’d seen, nor was it the first one I could get inside of. It was, however, the first one I may actually have an outside shot at getting behind the wheel of unsupervised with an opportunity to see what it actually would do (albeit on traffic jam-filled roads for a very short duration of time). Nonetheless, it was just too close to not try to beg, borrow, or even to come up with a strategy to “steal” a few rare moments of driving time in it, if it came down to that.

As if they could read my mind, another GM rep approached where I was standing and encouraged me to “come on over and hear all about the SRX” … but my mind was spinning on ways to get behind he wheel of the CTS-V.

After a few brief words with Charlie and Nick about how it would be nice to “snag” the CTS-V, I turned my attention to chatting up the Cadillac rep. As it turns out, Thomas D’Angelo, Cadillac’s new Regional Marketing Manager for the South Central Region, was a real joy to talk to. He had moved to Texas from Southern California and was settling into the market. We talked quite a bit about what Cadillac is doing to distinguish themselves as a brand, the exciting new lineup of cars, and all sorts of good things. Finally, I got around to asking him if there was any chance at getting some seat time in the CTS-V. He said it might be tough, but hopefully we’d get a chance at some point.

Committing Grand Theft Auto

No sooner than those words had been uttered, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Nick easing over to the CTS-V. At first he appeared to be admiring it, but then, suddenly, it happened. Nick slipped into the passenger seat of the CTS-V, their photographer Katie climbed into the back, and Charlie, suddenly standing next to the driver’s door, grinned at me, and then gave me the “come on” wave.

I quickly excused myself from the conversation and made a beeline across the parking lot. Charlie says, “Get in. QUICK!” Not being one to dally, I only paused long enough to ask, “You sure you don’t want to drive?” To which he responded, “We’ll switch out later, but I’m not going to pass up a Team Hall & Nass ride along. Now get in and let’s get out of here!” I didn’t hesitate to ask additional questions. It was go time.

A few brief moments later, with two video cameras rolling (mine filming from Nick’s lap up at me as I drove, Katie filming forward from the right rear), I pulled the CTS-V into gear and we slipped out of the parking lot and around the building. As I neared the exit onto the surface street, I made sure everyone had their seat belts securely fastened. I then tromped on the throttle and sideways we went out of the exit and through traffic in search of some open road.

CTS-V Sedan – The Caddy So Nice We Covered It Twice

There are not enough colorful words, phrases, etc. to describe what our brief time behind the wheel of the CTS-V was like. In fact, we used so many trying to that, after writing it all out, we decided it warranted its own separate blog entry. Yeah, we went on about it that much (and it was worth every letter). So be sure to check out our separate post titled “Team Hall & Nass Preview the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V” for our superfluous attempt at trying to describe what it’s like behind the wheel of this classy beast.

As an added bonus, when you read our separate blog entry all about our impression of the CTS-V from behind the wheel, you will receive instructions on where and how to view the complete Team Hall & Nass and Burnout Radio event, exactly as it happened, all on video. Believe me, you’re going to want to witness the mayhem. It’s quite the scene!

Is It Really Stealing If You Return It? – The Joy and the Guilt

As our all too brief drive of the CTS-V drew to a close, we turned into the entrance of the Four Seasons and pulled up to the front. Immediately, two things were very noticeable. One was the unmistakable smell of hot brakes and rubber emanating from the car. (Man, I’m sure glad Charlie was behind the wheel for the last leg!). The second, which was actually the first thing I noticed, was Donna from GM. She was standing there amongst others from GM with her arms folded. She didn’t look amused. In fact, she had what one could only describe as a classic “mom” look on her face. Ot oh. We were SO busted!

I figured I’d just throw myself at the mercy of the court, but before I could even get a word out, she began the conversation. It went something like this:

Donna (with stern face) – “Did you get my text?”
Me (with sheepish face) – “Um, sorry, no. We were a little busy …”
Donna – “You know, as soon as they realized the CTS-V was missing, I didn’t even have to look around for you guys. I knew where it (and you) went. There was no doubt!”
Me – “Well, we, um, kinda, sorta, um, yeah. Hey! It wasn’t all my idea!”
Donna – (still stern) “Yeah. Uh huh. Riight.”
Me (grinning) – “Well, we were here to ‘experience the Cadillac lifestyle’ and all. We just couldn’t resist! Plus, you know that we babied it. I mean, sure, we drove it, but, I swear, we behaved very well! Besides, we were in stuck in traffic most of the time. We didn’t even break XXX mph … ish (wink).”
Donna (shaking her head and perhaps suppressing a smile) – “I don’t want to know about that! I’m just glad you brought it back!”

As we walked inside to yet another exquisite treat for the palate, I quickly checked my phone. Sure enough, two missed calls and one text from none other than Donna. I took a breath and then opened the text. It read, “Hmmm hmmm. You hijacked the V. You know, they’re making me stand in the cold until you show up….”

I’ve known Donna for awhile on Twitter and have met her in person before, but I didn’t know her that well before this event. So I didn’t know for sure if we had really stepped in it, or not. I immediately found her inside of the event and apologized profusely. At that moment, I believe our friendship bonded. She couldn’t keep the stern face up any longer. She laughed and told me it was okay and that she was teasing.

Now, to this day, while I’m fairly certain that Donna was kidding me about the teasing, I secretly hope they didn’t really make her stand out in the cold and wait for those crazies she invited from the “online world” to their media event to return their $70k+ hot rod Cadillac. (Then again, she was standing out there and looked more than a bit relieved when we first pulled in …). Of course, we did return it, we drove it with reasonable care, and we praised it on Twitter live from the event. And now (finally) here on our blog and on YouTube, we are more than happy to do not only one, but two posts on the topic. The car(s), the event, and the fine folks at GM all deserve praise on all counts. There wasn’t a single thing they could have done better for us. It was more than we deserved, and we really, really appreciate it!

Checkpoint Three – The Four Seasons Las Colinas

Any feelings I had of guilt were quickly replaced with euphoria as I sampled some of the delectable treats the executive chef had prepared for us. However, the deserts were truly mind melting. Kind of like those Michelins out in the parking lot …! We were entertained by a description of the selections by the head sous chef, and given the run down of the resort and events it typically hosts by the general manager of the hotel. It was everything you expect from the Four Seasons. Good show!

Checkpoint Four – Via Real Restaurant

It was a short walk (yes, walk, not drive) outside the back of the Four Seasons over to Via Real. Back to where the evening began. Upon entry, we were treated to the option of driving any of the Cadillacs that had been brought over to the parking lot, or to begin consuming fine alcoholic beverages if we were finished experiencing the vehicles. Even though I thought about obtaining the CTS Sport Wagon for a nice drive, I also figured I’d let the tires cool off for a bit and instead enjoy the networking.

There was an interesting mix of traditional and non-traditional media present, but again, there were only a few of us in total. I met a gentleman who, upon sharing with him that we do a bit of rallying, told me how many Gumball 3000s he’d been on. I had to laugh. You just never know where fellow rally enthusiasts are going to show up.

We spent the rest of the evening chatting up the fine folks at GM, and of course, enjoying the appetizers, entrees and dessert selections Via Real had prepared for us. The dinner was amazing, the company was grand, and the event as a whole was first class all the way.

In Summary

It is my wish that no matter what your background or station in life, that at some point, if not everyday, each and every one of you reading this get to experience the “Cadillac lifestyle” as the General intended. Believe me, it is worth every penny!

Team Hall & Nass Cadillac Week Coverage

We hope y’all are enjoying our Team Hall & Nass Cadillac Week coverage. The carnage (we mean, coverage) continues tomorrow with our CTS-V ride and drive preview. Better get ready to strap yourself in and/or hold onto something tight for that one!

Due to new FTC guidelines, please note that GM didn’t pay us to write any of this, nor did they ask us to. (After reading some of this, they may even prefer that we hadn’t!). They simply provided dinner and access to their cars and, in turn, we had the “Cadillac” of experiences. We sincerely thank everyone at GM and Cadillac South Central Region marketing who made this possible, and all of you, our amazing fans. We couldn’t do this without you. We love you all!

This blog entry has been approved by Pirate Pig, official mascot of Team Hall & Nass. Pirate Pig offers hamthrax protection for all, and would like to remind you, “IF YOU’VE JUST BEEN PASSED, THEN YOU’RE NOT HALL & NASS!” :@)~



One response

26 01 2010

I can’t believe how Cadillacs have managed to remain the big name that they are even after all these years. Those 2010’s are looking great just like every other model that has come off the Cadillac line ever since they started. I can’t wait till I can buy my first one…

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