The Pontiac Solstice

An introduction to the origins of the Pontiac Solstice, and its future.

For the 2008 season, Gardella debuted a Pontiac Solstice GXP. Joining the Gardella Racing family was Ryan Tuerck. Competing in all Formula DRIFT events across the country, the team with Tuerck leading the drive finished on the podium in Atlanta and sixth overall in the point standings. Tuerck was also able to take home the title of “Driver of the Year!”

The Pontiac Solstice is the latest craze coming out of Detroit. However, it has been hard to find one on the streets as all of the 2006 production is already sold out. I have started to see a few on the roads in recent weeks, but they are still a scarce find. The Solstice is entering into a market that has been dominated by foreign makes for the past 15+ years: the rear wheel drive, two-seater, lightweight convertible. This niche market has been dominated by the Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000 and since the early 1990’s, the Mazda Miata.

According to reviews, the 2008 Pontiac Solstice is, generally speaking, a great ride. This is taking into account the vehicle’s sleek construction, good fuel economy and touch-foot acceleration. The only real concern was the lack of space for large passengers, driver arm movement to some respects, and grocery/luggage packing. Still, this sports car convertible wasn’t intended for heavy carrying (‘heavy’ in terms of both weight and quantity) and, like most convertibles, is designed with two doors and a two-passenger capacity so that intimacy can be engaged and maintained. In other words, this is not a family vehicle. For its intended purpose, though, the Pontiac Solstice performs splendidly.

Added bonuses to the 2008 Pontiac Solstice include elaborate and versatile entertainment center. A CD player, MP3 player and XM(B) satellite radio are among the integrated electronic capabilities the Solstice features.  There is a flyswatter windscreen available, as well as aftermarket alternatives.

The Saturn Sky was the only roadster from the Saturn marque of American automaker General Motors, and was initially released in the first quarter of 2006 as a 2007 model. It uses the Kappa automobile platform shared with the Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT. The Sky concept was shown at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, with the production version following at the 2006 show. It was built at GM’s Wilmington, Delaware plant, alongside the Solstice and the Opel GT. The Sky features 18-inch (457 mm) wheels and a 2.4 L Ecotec LE5 straight-4 engine that produces 177 hp (132 kW), a new straight-4 2.0 L turbocharged direct injected engine that makes 260 hp (194 kW) as well as a dealer-installed turbo upgrade kit that makes 290 hp (216 kW). Both five-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available.

As the above statement reads the plant closed in July 2009 so there was no 2010 production. The only 8 built for 2010 are Pontiac Solstice COUPE Models which were most likely GXP (turbo) versions. These will no doubt be the most coveted collector pieces of the Kappa Production run, but the entire Kappa line could become highly collectable due to the type of car and small number produced.

General Motors launched a set of sexy roadsters a few years back under the Saturn and Pontiac banners. The Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice along with the Opel GT and Daewoo G2X were developed to bring excitement to each brand, two-seat rear wheel drive sports models with a flair for styling.

Later, GM announced that they will close the Boxwood plant by August. This was of little surprise because the company had already mentioned that they would cut Pontiac from the lineup of brands and sell Saturn to Penske Automotive Group by the end of 200The Boxwood plant was responsible for production of Kappa-platform roadsters, the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, only. The platform, and the plant as well, could be used to produce some additional models, e.g. a two-door Chevy Nomad wagon that was unveiled back in 2013. General Motors though decided to close it as a part of restructuring process.

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