Junkyard Find: 2008 Pontiac Solstice

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Quick, what was the final new Pontiac model introduced before the marque’s demise in 2010? The G3, a Pontiac-badged Chevy Aveo (itself a rebadged Daewoo Kalos, which makes The Final Pontiac first cousin to the Ravon Nexia R3). We remember a Pontiac model from slightly earlier in the chaos of mid-to-late-2000s GM much better: the Solstice, a mean-looking sports car that showed great promise but went down with the Pontiac ship in 2010.

I saw my first discarded Solstice last year in Colorado Springs, and now I’ve found this much cleaner one in Denver.

For a brief time, it appeared that the Solstice would become something like the Plymouth Prowler or 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird, stubbornly worshiped by devoted, patriotic owners and changing hands at high prices, and that happened… for a while. Today, I’d say the Solstice (and its Saturn sibling, the Sky) is following the same path as the Chrysler Crossfire, with the initial passion of ownership wearing off and banged-up examples selling for G3 prices. When a car like that breaks something expensive, it ends up in the cold steel jaws of The Crusher, even as nice Solstices command decent money. You’ll see the same process at work with BMW Z3s and Audi TTs today, though at a slower pace.

The Solstice looked great, and even the naturally aspirated base model got decent power: 173 horsepower out of this 2.4-liter Ecotec (the turbocharged GXP had 260 horsepower, but I don’t expect to see any of those in U-Wrench yards for a few more years, if I ever do).

Solstice buyers could choose between a five-speed manual transmission (a member of the same Aisin family that went into lots of XJ Cherokees) and a five-speed automatic. The initial purchaser of this car opted for the commute-friendly automatic, for the same reason that plenty of Miata buyers get the slushbox: you can’t work a phone and drink a drive-thru coffee while operating a manual transmission in traffic.

GM might have sorted out the Solstice’s bugs, but the car died with Pontiac in 2010.

The good news in the Solstice saga is that you can get ugly ones for ’92 LeMans prices now, and then you can make cheap race cars out of them.

For links to thousands more of these Junkyard Finds, head to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
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