Since the turn of the century, automakers have all but completely nixed the manual option in full size trucks and SUVs. Gone are the days of accidentally grabbing your buddy’s leg as you go for fifth, riding 3 deep on the bench seat of a single cab pickup. Unless, you consider yourself capable, and have more than just a 10mm socket. Bewildering the target market of this luxury SUV, owner Trenton Royer swapped an Aisin AR-5 into a GMT900 Cadillac Escalade with sole purpose of throwing the ass of the land yacht through the curves. Why? Because that’s what he wanted.
Per The Drive, Royer dreamed of having a manual Cadillac Escalade, and since that was never an option, sometimes you gotta make your own options, and a donor transmission from an 2005 Colorado (with all the necessary adapting hardware). Plus a stage 3 cam from Texas Speed, a new valvetrain part and long tub headers leading into 3.5” pipes round out the build. Royer wanted to swap a T56 6 speed but said the price was too high.
Manual Swapped Cadillac Escalade Drift SUV
When someone thinks of a drift car, they think a core Japanese group of vehicles; the Nissan 350Z, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ, Toyota Supra to name a few. But when thinking about drift trucks, you’re still looking at smaller machines from the 80s and 90s. But this GMT900 Cadillac Escalade shows that even the biggest of boats can slide. In a video posted to Facebook, Royer whips the Escalade around a roundabout letting the engine sing a glorious eight-cylinder song.
So once you manual swap a Cadillac Escalade, what’s next? Royer says he’ll be doing front end work to allow for more steering angle as well as a blower from a Cadillac CTS-V, or or Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. He’s likely talking about the LSA V8 engine, just based on the family of V8 engines.
The Cadillac Escalade continues to be a favorite among enthusiasts, using it, or its likeness from everything to pickup truck builds, to armored vehicles. This trend is set to become more difficult, as General Motors turns the other way from the aftermarket, encrypting its ECUs on new products, and taking the future route of electrification over internal combustion engines.
There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that Cadillac would ever offer a manual transmission in its prized Escalade. So because of that, Royer’s build is a unique one indeed.