While we applaud even the slightest chance that the G8 will survive as a Chevy, there is one other car at Pontiac that when gone, simply is not represented domestically by any other car maker: the Solstice/Sky. There are rumors that perhaps the Solstice and Sky may live on with private ownership since the factory in Delaware where they are produced could be sold as a package to some Steve Saleen/Jack Roush-type. But that probably won’t happen. Instead, we are left with only one year to enjoy the Pontiac Solstice coupe.
Given that the coupe will have such a short life-span, it could become something of a collector’s item. According to a Pontiac Spokesman, the expectation is that only around 1,100 units will ever be produced when the Wilmington Delaware plant shuts down production at the end of this month. All Solstice coupes will have sequential ID numbers, so owners will know exactly which car of the 1,100 they have. But the reasons to buy one are not as an investment, but because it is a damn fine sports car. While the four year roadster was fully capable of eliciting the kind of excitement Pontiac failed to deliver on for several years, for our tastes, the coupe comes off as more Lotus than Miata from an aesthetic standpoint.
At the top end is the GXP version, which comes with a 260-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. That may not sound like much, but this is a tiny car. As such, the turbocharged Ecotec 2-liter 4-cylinder is capable of pushing this 3,018-pound package from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. While there are many, ok MOST, aspects of the Solstice that are an excercise in impracticality, the EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg on the highway alleviate at least a little of the guilt.
However, have no illusions. The list of complaints, some admittedly petty, is fairly long. To take it on the track for really spirited driving, you will have to invest in some suspension upgrades and perhaps some better tires to compensate for its oversteer. Inside, the interior is pretty workmanlike and although constructed well, the accommodations are cramped to say the least. Removing the targa roof takes two, weighs 31 lbs and is leaves you with the issue of where to put the thing as the car itself is not built to take it along. The token shelf under the hatchback rear window is really only large enough for maybe a duffel bag or two. Normal luggage is definitely out of the question.
With a base price $30,375 for the GXP coupe, the Solstice makes for a pretty expensive errand runner. And yet the Solstice gets looks everywhere it goes and despite its shortcomings, inevitably people STILL say they like it. Some cars are just built for fun. And the Solstice was one of them.