That does sound like a plugged Cat. If the pipes are glowing that bright, I'd be worried about spontaneous combustion in the surrounding areas, to include combustibles in the passenger compartment.
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72
'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis
2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI...at least its a diesel
Non illegitemae carborundum.