This 626,968-Mile Cadillac ATS-V Deserved Better
Salvage dealer Copart sold a 2017 Cadillac ATS-V last week with a staggering 626,968 miles on the odometer. The car actually looked pretty good, aside from vandal damage.
The Cadillac ATS-V is easily one of the best American cars from the last decade; they look cool and are an absolute riot to drive. So this 2017 ATS-V sedan, which was showing 626,968 miles on its odometer as it sat in a Copart salvage lot this summer, is giving me some mixed feelings. Amazingly, it looks like it wasn't even killed by a crash or major mechanical failure. But its life must have been an interesting one.
My colleague Kevin Williams was intrigued by the car's preposterously high odometer reading and splurged on a real VIN check. That told us the car was titled as a commercial vehicle in New Jersey in 2017 from new, then had no records at all until 2019 when it popped up registered in North Carolina with the odometer spun all the way to 626,905. From there, it only managed to pick up about 60 miles over the following three-odd years. That's a bizarre car history to be sure.
Williams and I think the car must have been purchased as some kind of test mule (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar Land Rover all have big New Jersey offices. Plus, Cadillac itself was headquartered in New York when this car was new). That seems to be the only realistic way this car could have racked up such incredible mileage in such a short period of time while keeping a clean appearance—we're guessing the car essentially lived its life on a treadmill. After that, it probably sat languishing where it was noticed by some jerks who stole the wheels off it and smashed it up, ultimately forcing it to be shipped off to Copart.
There's no practical way to confirm any of that, and I'll be interested to read other theories in the comment section once this post has been up for a bit. But it wouldn't make any sense to fake such a wacky odometer reading, and I'm not sure how else a car could cover that kind of distance in so short a time.
Copart is basically an international chain of junkyards that auctions cashed-out cars to ambitious restorers, parts-seekers, and repair shops. This 2017 Cadillac ATS-V was reported sold on August 29, 2022 out of the company's China Grove, North Carolina facility. Beyond that, all we can surmise from the listing is that the car started and idled when it got to the yard, and ended up there as a result of vandalism. The wheels are missing, some glass is smashed, there's a squiggle of spray paint down the side, and some odd denting in the body.
The rest of Copart's published assessment starts and ends with: "Primary Damage: VANDALISM, Secondary Damage: MECHANICAL," the latter of which could mean almost anything. But based on the engine bay picture, and the fact that the car apparently started and idled, I have a feeling this machine was well looked after before somebody decided to attack it. You don't get any car north of 600,000 miles by neglecting it, after all.
The LF4 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 in these cars claimed 464 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque, which was supposed to be good for a 0-60 mph time of around four seconds (and quickest with the eight-speed automatic option). You can still find a comprehensive spec rundown of the car on Cadillac's site if you're interested. I was lucky enough to have a six-speed manual loaner for a week when these came out, and I had some great memorable driving experiences on twisty mountain roads in the thing. When they're in good condition, ATS-Vs handle beautifully and really feel better sawing through corners than they do just wasting rubber straight-ahead off a stop light.
These cars listed from $60,000 to $70,000 and change when they were new, and it looks like a nice low-mileage model will fetch in the $40,000 neighborhood today. Copart estimated the retail value of its 600,000-mile specimen at $28,000 but I think it'd be pretty much impossible to get anybody to buy a car with that many miles for any price. I mean, somebody did buy this one as the lot is marked sold, though I reckon they're either going to dismantle it for parts or turn it into some kind of track-thrasher for themselves.
Regardless, it seems like a shame that such a hard-working car should meet its demise unceremoniously like this. Rest in peace, 626,968-mile ATS-V. You are awaited in Valhalla.