By on February 26, 2016

2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe

While I certainly love roadsters, there is something special about the coupes derived from those roadsters. The MGB GT was a stunning Pininfarina tiptop riff on the classic MGB Tourer, and the BMW M Coupe was a flared Z3 styled like a ‘roided Reebok Pump. Both of them were iconic in their own way.

Considering how few small convertibles are actually sold, it’s surprising that General Motors decided to enter the market a mere 15 years after the Miata, and ten after the BMW Z3.

Well, perhaps not that surprising, considering GM launched the Kappa platform on not one, but two dying brands.

Somehow, the Wilmington, Delaware plant churned out the Solstice and Saturn Sky twins for five years, including about 1,200 of these incredibly rare 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupes, even though they ended up losing nearly $10,000 per car sold toward the end in the bad-old days of Government Motors. It’s a shame, as these seem to be at least holding value, if not appreciating as a collector’s item.

I’d have loved to bring you the high-performance GXP model with its turbocharged, direct-injected LNF engine, but every one I could find for sale either was equipped with an automatic transmission or some truly tasteless modifications. This standard model, with 177 horsepower, is plenty quick for most drivers.

The coupe gives a bit of covered storage room — not as much as one might find in either the Miata nor the Power Wheels Jeep that share my garage — perhaps enough for a carry-on bag. The Skystice convertibles, on the other hand, can barely carry a sandwich with the top down, a baffling oversight from GM.

The styling of the coupes, however, forgives all. The big 18-inch wheels don’t look quite as clownish on the coupe when balanced with the low-slung roofline. The signature Pontiac grille, low and proud in honeycomb mesh, is flanked by combination turn signals and running lamps, which gives the tiny coupe a menacing mug.

$24,500 is a bunch of money for this car, even considering the nearly-untouched condition with 12,000 miles. But considering its low production numbers, and the always hot market for rare GM performance cars, this could be one of those cars to look back upon in about 10 years as “the one that got away.” I wish I had the cash to store one and appreciate later.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

101 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    On this one I think “$10k” before reading, but maybe that’s not considering the rarity enough.

    I like these, but not for anywhere near that money. And they looked the best in a dark metallic green – which may have been GXP only, not sure.

    Pity the Sky didn’t get this treatment, as it always looked better than the Solstice from day one.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I’d love an unmolested Sky Redline. But a G8 GXP is more likely!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        There are a couple of Redlines on ebay right now, but both are automatics. Were those even available with manual?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Dude look at the saddle bag things on the center console. Hilarious.

        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saturn-Sky-Red-Line-Convertible-2-Door-/222034226038

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          That looks like a pimp my ride interior gone wrong. Holy cow.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          The Solsky is purely for “I’m running around with either no cargo bigger than a backpack or no passenger” toy duty. I think the Sky Redline is beautiful, and the 2.0T/6MT/RWD/tiny vehicle combo is awesome, but as a car, its pretty much a failure.

          And honestly, I’d rather a restomodded Fiero over the Sky anyways, if were talking ridiculously poorly designed GM two seaters.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I submit for your consideration the Reatta. It’s cheaper and more practical than this, and also contains 3800 goodness. And it looks good!

            If I could find one somebody was dumping for a reasonable price, I’d have it. Likely it’d be labeled “Buick 2 dr” on Craigslist. LOL

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Reatta gets the Church’s endorsement.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I really like them in that dark purple color.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Reatta has one fatal flaw, wrong-wheel-drive.

            But John! Your Taurus is FWD!

            Easy, gov’na. Yes it is, but its a sedan, a mass-market family/commuter car. Doesnt much matter if it pushes or pulls itself along, its not a sporty two-seater. Honda is the only one who got the whole FWD two seater thing right. Ford/Mercury Capri (1990s)? Fail. Reatta? Sorry, nope. If I wanted something that looks and drives like a chopped-up LeSabre, well, Id have it with the Reatta. No sale.

            I see the Kappa as a weekend car. For when you want to leave the Tahoe or Sienna at home, grab your significant other and spend all day driving, just the two of you. You dont need cargo room to roam the countryside, grabbing a bite to eat and ending up watching a movie or something. Going to a wine tasting, art show, whatever. That’s how I picture using this car. It isnt pratical enough? Wrong mindset. Of course it isnt! Thats kinda the point.

            Pontiac also sold a retractable hardtop G6, if you wanted more room and/or dont care which end of the car puts the power down. The fact that it looks like a badge-swapped Altima coupe with the top up is beside the point, lol!

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I’m with you on the Reatta. I see plenty of them on CL or Ebay reasonably priced. A 3800SC transplant would be a nice build.

            The convertible version had a fairly easy to operate top. Same can’t be said for the Cadillac Allante which was manual and could be quite difficult at times. The later models apparently had a improved mechanism.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hard to find a convertible Reatta for any reasonable price unfortunately, since they were pretty rare. I’d definitely aim for a post-CRT one as well. Though I think it’s a cool historical footnote, I wouldn’t want to deal with the potential breakage.

            I don’t think any of the Allantes are worth having, with all their various little issues, and owners who think they’ve got a Cadillac-shaped gold bar on their hands.

            I don’t care that the Reatta is FWD, to Mr. Taurus’ point above.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I know that about 18 months a go a super low miles manual Solstice Coupe GXP sold or $40,000.

      There was one locally, a white one, automatic, that I believe just went for $30,000.

      This is a fair price. Less than 1000 built today, GXP and manual even more rare. I could have bought one below sticker in 2009. Dealer I got my G8 from had five, including 2 GXP models with manual (and more automatic). They were ready to do a deal, I didn’t want a car payment.

      Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The interior on the Sky was noteably better than the Sol. Owning a 2007 Sky, made in early 2006, I picked in 2009, the Sol dash looks like something out of a Olds Aurora. The Sky’s exterior has a modern look that worked as an Opel GT elsewhere where the Sol has a more muscular silhouette.

      Mine has a Hahncraft turbo system on it’s 2.4 with 13 psi is close to 350 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. Of course it can see 40+ mpg at highway speeds with the top up.

      • 0 avatar
        epsilonkore

        Even with my hypermiler skills (which are considerable) I could NEVER get close to 40Mpg unless it was falling off a cliff. My 2.4 could never get that, and was one of the biggest disappointments of the car. High 20’s under regular driving conditions, that was the norm. The 2.0 Turbo could get into the mid 30’s in relaxed daily driving and low 40’s under hypermiling but driving a Sky Turbo to get 40Mpg is missing the point of the car.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Even since owning a BMW M roadster, I’ve always been in love with 2-seat convertibles.

    I always wanted to like this car, but in the end, all the conversations about a poor transmission changed my mind. That kind of money on a used Solstice is ridiculous. I still see a few around and they just haven’t aged well in my opinion. I was always far more interested in the BMW Z4 and the M. A quick look and I see a ’06 manual 3.0 Z4 with 25k miles selling for just under what this is.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I too fell in love with the look of this car (the coupe, I don’t care about the convertible), but it was a parts bin special with a terrible transmission, no storage and all the other standard GM silliness. Instead I got a 350Z coupe. But my true love is the M Coupe, aka the Clown Shoe. I’m a sucker for that shooting brake look. These Solstice Coupe are VERY rare and that alone makes them a conversation piece. But rare and collectible are two totally different things. I don’t think these will gain a following, basically they are nothing more then a curiosity, an odd ball, a quickly forgotten experiment.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        I forget about the coupes, mostly because you never see them.

        I do LOVE the M coupes also. Shopped for a Z4 variant a couple years ago. I know the Z3 version of the M coupe has become a collectors car. Certainly in BMW circles. I personally owned the M roadster (z3 version). It, more than any other car I have ever owned, has created the most nostalgia to me. Even being 6’3″, I fit perfectly in that car. It was the first true lightweight performance car I owned. So light and so fast, I felt I could do anything in that car.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          I’m too young/ahead of my time to ever have one, even though it’s been my favourite car since it was released. I was 12 or 13 at the time, and as a 22-23 year old remember seeing them for about 20k for a minty fresh one. Now that I’m a little older, I could probably swing one, but I really doubt my wife will want to subsist on macaroni and ramen for the next couple of years.. so it’ll be another 5, and by that time, prices will have gone even nuttier than the 30k they cost now.

        • 0 avatar
          KevinC

          Former Z4M coupé owner here. At 6’1″, I fit perfectly. I sat in the Solstice when it was making the rounds on the car show circuit. I wanted to like it, but what a turn-off. I would have needed to be about 4 inches shorter to fit at all. The interior trim was of horrendous period-correct GM “quality”. Just sitting in it (or attempting to) was enough of a bummer to completely lose interest on the spot. A shame, would have been nice to see a successful GM 2-seater.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I test drove one of these in convertible form back around 2010… it was a very handsome green color, quite striking in its appearance. But immediately two things stood out: A total lack of any usable storage space, and an odd “BOOM” that came from the rear end whenever I pushed in the clutch. Oh, and the HVAC controls exactly resembled the ones on the Impala I had rented from National a few weeks earlier. Wasn’t this car a “parts bin special” to the extreme?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If I recall, the platform was unique but a lot of other parts, including the engine, were from the general company bin.

      Anyone know for sure?

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Yes, this car was a “parts bin special” to the extreme.

        Those combination running lights/turn signals that Chris mentioned? Straight from the Pontaic Grand Prix. The reverse lights are from the GMC Envoy. The gauges were from the Cobalt, AC vents from Fiat(back when GM had a stake in them) as were the side view mirrors I believe. Seats were from an Opel.

        This is in addition to the typical corporate switchgear.

        • 0 avatar
          IAhawkeye

          The General knew no shame back then.

          Probably like 5 years ago, my friends dad bought one of these lightly used and was showing it off to me since he knew I liked cars. Even with my limited car knowledge at the time, all I could think about was how cheap it seemed..especially the interior bits. Especially the gauges and steering wheel shared with the Cobalt,and the ugly hard plastic.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Geez FreedMike you need to be more specific.

        *the platform was unique but a lot of other parts, including the engine, were from the general company bin.**

        doesn’t this statement define GM?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      That’s pretty much how these cars got justified. They were cheap to throw together and if they were kept around for a while longer would have been a nice show piece in Buick dealerships and certainly an excuse to walk into Cadillac dealerships when they had some crazy turbo thrown on to push them into stupid high turbo-lag suffering territory.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The slight clunk sound is internally inside the differential. Same diff that is used in the CTS and STS. Mine is stock with Royal Purple and only clunks when I mis-match a shift and is putting out almost 400 lb-ft of torque.

  • avatar
    ajla

    That roof design needs to be offered on the Camaro badly.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      But the roof is also the car’s achilles heel… It’s so funny and terrible that I feel bad even typing it:

      The removable targa roof is glorious, and light enough for one person to remove. HOWEVER – when the roof panel is removed, it does not fit in the rear storage compartment – it’s just a few inches too big. So there is nowhere to put it. You can’t even stick it in the shotgun seat – it doesn’t fit. So… either you leave it at home and have no weather protection/security – which is worse than the convertible – or you leave it on and have a rattly closed coupe – also worse than the convertible.

      Classic GM. Apparently the “engineers” (and I use that term lightly) failed to notice that targa cars need to be designed to carry their own top. This is absolutely essential. Even their own Corvette has had this basic provision for decades, but they plumb forgot with the Solstice, and missed by three inches.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        I was just going to post that. A huge oversight that really diminishes the usability of the car. I’d get the cheaper, more useable convertible all day, who cares if there’s no trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Wow. Never knew this.

        I hate to pour more 89-Octane mid-grade on this flaming oversight, but my 1979 Fiat X1/9 did this great (the top fit under the front bonnet, still allowing for luggage underneath it). So when it broke down, you could at least remain out of the rain while you waited for someone to notice you were missing and come drag you home.

        That’s right, Fiat, (FIAT!), solved this packaging issue and still got a spare in there, too. In the seventies.

        But I also agree it was handsome. Can you imagine how great it would have been to have Miata competitors other than the MR2? (Meaning reliable roadsters you could actually drive every day?)

        Also, it would be bad-ass on the Camaro. T-Tops to ELEVEN!

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Wow. I can’t believe they didn’t design the top to fit inside. That’s spectacular failure in design even be GM stand

  • avatar
    redliner

    I test drove a Solctice Redline when they first came out. I loved the styling, but I was unimpressed otherwise. The funniest part of the test drive was when the pleasant but over enthusiastic salesman proclaimed how easy it was to operate the convertible top. I kid you not, it took him 5 minutes of fumbling to get the top back up. I don’t think he had ever done it before.

    I didn’t buy it. When I drove it, I felt like a machine operator atemting to make several unrelated parts work together towards a common goal. In the S2000, I felt like a dance partner.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Many Kappa owners added their own springs, so when you hit the remote release the rear deck rose. Pulled up the top into place, reach in for the single latch, and walk around and secure both butresses.

      When I go into work I undo the interior single latch so when I’m walking out and pop the rear deck, open the driver’s door and fold the top in and close the lid and you’re off!

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The Solstice/Sky twins were, in my opinion, stunning cars. Alas they were also inferior in pretty much every way to the Miata, making them a poor choice to actually buy.

    I suppose the stunning style and low numbers gives them a decent shot as “collector” cars, but they aren’t one I’d want to drive very much.

    • 0 avatar
      Driver8

      Yeah, this. Nobody has been able to out-Miata the Miata yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Completely agree. They maintained the concept-car aesthetic and really look compelling parked on the street. But that’s about it. The interior is abysmal, both in quality and ergonomics, and the drive — while fine — simply doesn’t compare to any of the competition even from a decade prior.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I you do research on the years the Solstice was in production, the Solstice/SKY did out Miata the Miata, breaking their stranglehold in SCCA, Solo I and Solo II at nationals.

      They were great cars. It is my understanding the transmission came from Saab.

      The meme that these were heavy, handled poorly, and slow simply aren’t true – and the racing data backs it up.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Cheap parts sources for the Kappa make it quite a deal. My Sky runs with the Miata at the local autocross with no problems. With race seats, Braile battery, and extra turbo boost I was FTD in SSM2 class.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Yes tis sad that these had so little storage space that they made a Miata look like a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Sorry, but no thanks. I’ve already owned the roadster version, and if there’s one classic reason why GM fell into bankruptcy this is it.

    After my wife’s death, I took a long look around and figured that life may not be quite a long as I was counting on. And one my big unfulfilled promises to myself is the ownership of a real sports car: small, two seats and a convertible top. So I (stupidly, as it turned out) took my very well liked 924S, and started shopping for either a Miata, S2000 or Solstice.

    I test drove a 2006 Miata and Solstice back to back the same day, and to my surprise I found I liked the Solstice better. Deal done, Porsche left at the dealership, I ride off into the sunset with my new sports car. And a year and a half later, I’d sold it.

    The Solstice may have been a better driver car in my eyes, but on a month by month basis it was quite unsatisfying and completely inferior to a 20+ year old Porsche. As well as being as impractical as the Porsche was practical. And the final kicker was the realization that, no matter how enjoyable top-down motoring may be, it’s still completely inferior to a mediocre (much less excellent) motorcycle.

    So, the Solstice is gone, a Honda 996 Super Hawk is its replacement, and I’m still looking for another nice 924/944/968 Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I’ve had my 2007 Sky, purchased use in 2009, was a daily driver of 118 miles. I have only put a new license sticker every other year since. I guess it is getting a new car.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Not sure of the specs on this particular specimen, but from a collectability stand point these units take top prize. Next to the G8 this is the last Pontiac ‘performance’ car.

    A former Pontiac, Buick, GMC dealer buddy of mine ( now a B/GMC dealer ) put one in storage, as did a handful of other dealers around the country. I guess they still have memories of the GNX….

    No self respecting Pontic Museum or collector will NOT have one of these. Add in the obligatory knuckleheads who will bastardize the one they own and you have a recipe for a car that will be worth moderate to serious dough in the years to come. One guy’ opinion on oddball cars.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    KBB values a 2009 Solstice Coupe with 12k at $12,200 in VGC, $13,100 in “Excellent.” Of course, the market dictates what it dictates when rarity is involve. I added air condition (I completely forgot is was OPTIONAL) and leather, but nothing else.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The straight up coupe is apparently rare and one went for stupid money in December, however…

      12/21/15 HOUSTON Regular $19,225 29,075 Avg Silver 4CY A No

      …the more common convertible is predictably lower.

      MY09 Pontiac Solstice CONV I4

      01/21/16 TX HOBBY Regular $10,000 46,783 Above ORAN 4G A Yes
      02/24/16 DALLAS Regular $8,900 53,474 Avg RED 5GT A Yes
      01/12/16 ORLANDO Regular $8,000 53,538 Avg RED 4G A Yes
      01/29/16 SAN ANTO Regular $7,100 59,520 Below SILVER 4G A Yes
      02/03/16 NEW MEX Regular $7,500 64,765 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
      12/09/15 CALIFORN Regular $8,700 64,772 Avg SILVER 4G A Yes

      Oh and a near new GXP did 19 so somebody still wants these extra clean…

      CONV GXP

      03/18/15 OHIO Regular $19,000 1,184 Above RED 4GT 5 Yes
      03/12/15 TX HOBBY Lease $7,500 78,200 Avg BLACK 4GT A Yes
      04/09/15 TX HOBBY Regular $8,500 78,270 Avg BLACK 4GT A Yes
      02/18/16 DFW Regular $4,500 100,126 Avg GRAY 4GT A Yes
      02/24/16 NEW MEX Regular $5,000 100,810 Avg GRAY 4GT A Yes
      11/24/15 DENVER Lease $9,100 104,285 Avg RED 4GT A No

      But a coupe GXP was slightly more in reality.

      COUPE GXP

      09/03/14 NASHVILL Lease $13,300 53,278 Avg BLACK 4GT A No

      The crystal ball is in the shop but I really can’t see someone realistically down the line saying:

      “You got a Solstice?”
      “Yeah! Paid 20K”
      “But I paid 9 for mine…”
      “Yeah but this is the COUPE”
      “No way! T-tops are so hot right now.”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I hope Bob Lutz has one stashed away somewhere, this was one of his babies after all.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          All of the hallmarks of a lutz car are here: looks better than it actually is and missed the mark on a few things very important to the target audience (500lbs more than a Miata, garbage roof operation/storage).

          To me, this one falls under the “being rare doesn’t make it valuable”. If it were a rare variation of a beloved car, I could see it legitimately being worth something, but they were giving these cars away at the end. I’d wager that a clean turbo version will hold its value way better than this coupe.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Bob Lutz literally does have one sitting in his personal garage. Watched a YouTube video of him showing his personal collection around his house. I think it was an interview with the autoline guy and the autoextreamist dude.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/edmonton/priced-to-sell-immaculate-saturn-sky-redline-convertible/1058430455?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

        Here is a Saturn Sky Redline, 5spd manual and under 500mi for $25k Cdn or $17,500US

        Pretty much a new car

  • avatar
    itsgotahemi

    So with check and title of old car in hand I went to buy a 2005 solstice for my wife to replace her 2004 cobra mustang. Drove into Pontiac dealer and I think they had 5 or 6 on the lot. Ask salesman for a price and the red and I think blue ones. He said he needed my drivers license, needed to run credit check, etc. I showed him check (actually was a USAA site draft) and title, he said it would take 2 or 3 days to get a car ready to deliver. I drove 2 mile down road and saw a burnt orange 2005 miata mazdaspeed. Never drove it, just bought it.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    All I can say is that if the Solstice drives in real life anything like it does in iRacing, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. For a while I harbored a suspicion that its inclusion as the “You must learn to drive this first” car in iRacing was the final nail in Pontiac’s coffin.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I have never seen a coupe version of this car…didn’t even know it existed until I saw this post.

    I like the fluid lines of the Pontiac more than the angular lines on the Saturn, but little dinky cars aren’t my thing. I think of little coupes and convertibles as interesting toys, but poor daily drivers…give me a comfy midsize sedan as a DD.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There’s a dark green GXP version running around. Saw it up on Kemper near Target.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why would you need it to be a daily driver? You are allowed to have more than one car. I find four to be the magic number currently. One car can’t do it all, and I am not big on compromise.

      If your circumstances only allow for one car, well, kind of sucks to be you.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “If your circumstances only allow for one car, well, kind of sucks to be you.”

        Yes, that’s the worst circumstance in life – only ONE personal automobile. Quite out of touch here.

  • avatar

    Perfect donor car for a ’71-’73 Vega.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    As a Miata guy, I liked the way the Kappa cars looked but I couldn’t have lived with one. I’ve carried decent amounts of groceries, luggage, and other junk in the Miata’s trunk. It can fit autocross helmets. (My friend’s MR-S can’t, so his wife has to share the passenger seat with them). Nor can I imagine owning a convertible with such a convoluted top-up and -down process. In the Miata, if it’s raining but I can maintain highway speeds, I can keep the top down. If I exit and come to a stop (and start getting wet), no problem raising the top in a few seconds.

    In other words, the Miata can be more than just a toy. Barely, I admit. It’s loud and rough. Edmunds.com said the Solstice and Sky would be better for 80% of drivers (vs. the then-new 2006 Miata) because they were less hardcore. But surely practicality and ergonomics are even more important.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I looked at the solstice and sky when I was looking at sports cars. There was not one up side I could come up with for the GM twins. They were even coming up for more money than equivalent Miatas. Finding out that the roof is so convoluted on these issues even more of a turn off for me. The top on my Miata is a 2 second affair in either direction.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    My mom’s convertible had less miles (9k) and she sold it for 18k in 2015. Gun metal grey, manual, perfect condition. Never ran through a car wash, sat inside all winder long, it was perfect.

    I f*cking cried when she told me she sold it. I had helped her pick it out on a whim when she saw an ad in Parade about it (Sunday paper).

    It even had pre-production fascia fit issues (bumper pulled away from the quarter panels 1/4″). All my GM apologist friends all tried to tell me she certainly had hit something. LOL, they don’t know my mom. She could out drive their know-it-all asses and babies her rides. Now a sh1tty Lexus gets her outrageously intricate care. Kids fly the coup so her love and affection is now showered on undeserving metal.

    I need to fly home sometime soon. Thanks for posting this.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Sounds like a good Lexus for me to purchase when she’s finished with it.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        She went from a Pontiac Gran Prix Diesel, to a GMC Safari, to various GM dustbuster Minivans, to a Montana (she kept her Doraville Assy plant going, we even lived 20 miles from it at one time), then onto a 2001 Cav Z24 (that I inherited when I totaled my first new car purchase) to a sh1tty 2004 Olds Alero (only car she didn’t like, bought it as I needed a car urgently), to a Colorado (that she only put 12k on and kept it for a winter ‘beater’ while she had the Solstice). The Colorado, even after 5 or 6 Midwestern winters was cherry. Not an ounce of rust. She barely drives in the winter and when it would venture in the snow, there was about 3′ of snow between whatever salt there was and that vehicle.

        The ’13 ES 350 will be in show room condition, even if she parts with it a decade from now. Her father was a GMAC branch manager and she had an army of sons to detail all her cars. We were so well trained, her GM dealer hired us all and we detailed cars through out high school.

        I still see that GMC Safari rolling the streets of my hometown. That van was built well. Coach conversion and all.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Haha, how many childrens did she have?

          My grandparents used to have a Safari, a sturdy truck indeed. Not very comfortable, and it was loud, but the only issues where whenever my grandma locked the keys inside it. Ahh that cold day at Service Merchandise.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            3. too many for a sedan, made for a spacious mini van. Those little flip up / fold down crap Transport seats were good for a kid that weighed less than 80 lbs. Probably hell on earth for an adult.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            There were three in my family as well. We just then fought over who got to sit in the middle seat, one kid always banished to the back. The side by the door was most desirable, until the dual door van came around. Then the middle seats were equal, and the rear seat looked even worse.

            Tears were shed.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I guess I have to disagree, I hated the coupe version. I couldn’t stand it when the released it as the back window looks like a toilet lid. Also, some owners acted like they had this awesome asset. I don’t think these will appreciate as much as people think. E36 M3s will be worth more than these things in 15 years. Just because the car is rare doesn’t make it desirable.

    To explain a little bias: I owned a GXP 5-speed and still to this day have a Sky Red Line 5-speed.

    People kind of forget too that this was GM’s first foray into direct injection with the 2.0 turbo, also these cars came with Bilstein (!!) coilovers stock. Power was underrated as dynos showed 220ish WHP / 250WTQ. The motor has real potential as even GM went on to release their own tune with full warranty support to bump the power and torque some more.

    This is really one of those cars I think would have been spectacular given a chance for a second generation. However, that’ll never happen.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Or the GM Stage l worth 290 horsepower and Corvette-like 340 lb-ft of torque were crazy numbers for 2.0T with DI. GM did DI right a half decade before others figured out carbon build up.

  • avatar

    Didn’t these cars do real well in SCCA races or something?

    Sexy cars, though…
    Tetris-champ storage in trunk
    Passenger Cupholders that are ALWAYS broken
    Rear compartment knob that snaps off
    Convertible top sails that seperate all the time
    Plus the OWCS seat pad that’s ~$450 dealer cost to fix in EVERY. SINGLE. KAPPA. ROADSTER.
    …but sexy nonetheless.

    I always jump for decent-mileage ones. In the right colors with two-tone leather? All the money, baby! And easy-sellers, too.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    The fit and finish of the Kappa cars was grotesque, even for GM. The unresolved ergonomic and usability quirks gave them a ChryCo-esque, “half-baked” feel.

    Drove next to a convertible Solstice the other day when it was raining; there was a huge gap in the back where the top wouldn’t close all the way. Wondered if the driver was thinking he should’ve bought a Miata.

  • avatar
    Prado

    what a coincidence. I saw a Solstice Coupe show up on CL and thought it would make a great ‘digestible collectable”. It is a pristine GXP manual, tastefully upgraded, with the proceeds going to charity. Phoenix CL . Asking 35k!

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Mallett was stuffing LS2 motors in these which would do much to mask the cars shortcomings.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Actually turbo-4 technology and outputs have surpassed the small block, push-rod. Beat it weight savings too.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        I own a twin turbocharged V6 and love it. I had a Mazdaspeed Miata with the Turbo as well as a supercharged first gen Miata. I am a turbo fan. But the kappas I drove all felt larger than they were and honestly I don’t typically go for these sorts of swaps but the LS would fit this car I think. It just never felt as light and tossable as either of the Miatas no matter what the numbers say.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        No, no it hasn’t. Remember, you can *stll* add F/I to a V8. Amazing how many people forget that simple fact.

        And, let’s see the dyno of your 400 wheel ft/lbs…..Hahn’s website posts the following:

        “Hahn Racecraft Stage 3 – 354 HP (at crank) – 301 HP (at rear wheels) with 13 lbs.boost”

        Their dyno plot shows 350 wheel ft-lbs *not bad mind you for a 2.4*. You never quote crank numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Adding twins or a SC plus intercooler is a 150 lbs weight penalty up front and it is usually well above the center of gravity.

          I have the AEM TruBoost controller set for 13 psi with 15 psi overboost cutoff all decatted. With 350 wtrq add 15% for drive train and the result is 400 lb-ft.

          This 400 lb-ft exceeds the 5.7l of that era. It was not until a decade later did the LT1 see variable valve timing and direct injection of the Ecotec.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Heh, I thought for sure the climbing value of Skys and Solstices would make them unreasonable purchases rather quickly. Their relatively low cost of entry, common gear, and fun to drive factor makes me rethink my choices. >.>

    Heh, a quick search puts a SCCA Class B racer at only $13,322 just in the suburbs from where I’m at. That’s pretty cheap to get into a car that’s competition ready. You’re another grand in suit and helmet away from having a car that’s ready to compete.

    These prices are still going to go down for a while I suspect, not much further, maybe hit sub-9K for a time but then they’re going to slowly climb as they hit the 15/20 year mark and become desirable simply for being competitive and different small roadsters.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Wow….

    From my perspective a lightly used Solstice is still a bad idea. There is a nice selection of low miler chick cars available. My experience was with higher mileage used cars that had been rode hard and put up wet. They were junk.

    They really are junk. Maybe a used Miata or Honda two seater would be better. At least they are good quality vehicles that might actually last a while.

  • avatar
    sbindley

    They are far from perfect, but the GXP coupes are terrific little cars for the money. We buy them, fix them up and donate them to charity. The current coupe for sale now is a super fast, fun and well equipped sports car. BTW, the shifting is amazing with the short throw setup we added and the interior is much improved with the added leather and carbon fiber look accents. Check out some of the cars we have done at

    http://Www.facebook.com/wheelsforwheels

  • avatar
    Pecci

    If I’m not mistaken the ‘Targa’ tops, when removed would not even fit in the trunk. They either had to be worn, take up the passenger seat, or left behind. How’s that for GMs forward thinking? … Idiots!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Alex L. Dykes, United States
  • Kamil Kaluski, United States
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States

Get No-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Automotive News in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked