Keeping American Car Spirit Alive in Europe with a 2016 Cadillac ATS-V

A Father and son memories create a dedicated U.S. car enthusiast overseas.

It’s been quite a while since Cadillac called it quits and left Europe after facing an uphill battle against the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Audi – a trio that dominates the European landscape. With the promise to return but only to offer EV options, those who got their hands on something special, like this 2016 ATS-V, are holding onto a rarity and that’s something guys like Pieter Pelgrims are well aware of. 


As a kid, Pieter can recall the countless times he was strapped to the back of his dad’s Harley Davidson and just how much fun he had on their adventures together.

“He was often away from home working, but on the weekends, he took me everywhere on that bike,” he says. “I was too young to hold on, so my mom used a belt to attach me to him so I wouldn’t fall off. I loved cruising around, hanging with him and the other bikers, drawing their bikes, and just listening to their stories and jokes.”


His father wasn’t just into Harleys, he also had a craving for American cars and trucks and after finding a Chevy S10 Extreme to buy, he taught Pieter how to drive with it. The passion for cars from the U.S. rubbed off and when it came time to buy his first car at just 17, Pieter found a Pontiac Fiero GT V6, which is extremely rare in Belgium, Europe in general, and something he still owns today.

“It was a cool experience driving that car and brought a lot of great memories,” he adds. “From there I only bought American cars: Ford Cougar, Chrysler Sebring convertible, Dodge Ram Rumblebee, C10 ’69 step side, Mustang S550, and this ATS-V finally – they’re all special to me.”


His car fix doesn’t come cheap, with everything purchased from the U.S. getting taxed on both value and shipping, American metal isn’t too common in Pieter’s region and that fact, along with the custom additions to his ATS-V, earn him quite a bit of attention.

Originally purchased from Germany and imported to Belgium, Pieter found this car online last year and having just finished his Mustang S550 project, he quickly became its second owner. “I didn’t know anything about the car – it’s so rare over here that most people don’t even know what it is.”

he says. “Here in Europe, media and government are trying to push everyone to go hybrid or electric cars, and I wanted to enjoy at least one more big engine American performance car before they take them away from us.”

Plans to leave the car stock lasted almost two hours, then Pieter came to his senses and picked up a set of Vogtland coils. “They had a sale on their website and, to me, that was a sign to go ahead and order, haha!” With the lowered stance, the factory wheels weren’t cutting it, so he had a custom set of forged 1-piece wheels created in 19x9.5 front and 11 rear.

Having come up with the custom livery, Pieter’s wrapped some of the parts himself and installed all the exterior upgrades that include front and side splitters and Dynamic U.S.-spec black raven mirrors.

The front and rear ends were treated to additional carbon fiber with front canards Maverick Man’s and a Spoiler with Wickerbill

that sits under an APR GT250 carbon fiber wing that gets installed for track days.

Pulling some additional power from the factory twin turbo set up, Pieter added ZZP charge pipes and dual cold-air intake to feed a Gigs ported throttle body.

Tapout cat-less downpipes send gases through a ZZP exhaust system fitted with the OEM bimodal controlled valves to keep the noise down under partial throttle and the bolt-on changes equate to 525whp.


There’s plenty more power in store with an assortment of fuel upgrades already on order and set to be installed during the winter.

Pieter’s affinity for American cars is stronger than ever and he’s not shy about putting the car to work and sharing it with other enthusiasts. “To me it’s a little mission to keep this forgotten, iconic brand well known over here,” he says. “We track the car, drag race it, entered international car shows, and do Cars and Coffee events.

This car is like my escape room and so much more. I hope to give my daughter some nice memories of me that I have of my dad. I love to share my passion with her, and she loves speed and enjoys our road trips together.

I also love to show my car to the young car spotters and next generation of car people. With the car scene’s future uncertain, I feel it’s my mission to show the car and not keep it to myself. Kids asking their parents to take pictures next to the car makes me feel good. Their smile makes my day.”

Pieter AL Pelgrims’ 2016 Cadillac ATS-V


Engine Gigs Ported throttle body; ZZP Charge pipes, cold air-intake, valved cat-back exhaust, Mighty Mouse Oil catch can; Tapout cat-less downpipes


Suspension Vogtland drop springs; OEM magnetic ride control suspension


Brakes PowerStop track day pads; drilled/slotted rotors


Wheels/Tires custom forged 1-piece 19x9.5 +24 front, 19x11 +43 rear; Continental Tire Sport Contact 7 275/30 front, Toyo R888R 305/30 rear


Exterior Obsession Red paint; custom livery; Front and side splitters; Dynamic US Spec coupe black raven mirrors; Maverick Man carbon fiber wickerbill spoiler, front canards, carbon pack; APR GT250 carbon fiber track wing


Interior Carbon fiber and Alcantara steering wheel; Banks iDash 1.8 super OBDII gauge

Thanks Shout out to Maverick Man for the opportunity and to @Atsv.jt for ordering my cf spoiler and shipping it out to me in Europe


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