Of all the kids in the GM family, Pontiac suffered the most from this sports car favoritism, despite being the General’s “performance division.” Pontiac’s Banshee concept got quashed in the ’60s. Its Fiero was compromised and underfunded in the ’80s. But, in 2006, Pontiac finally got another go in the two-seater game in the form of a Miata-fighting four-cylinder drop-top called the Solstice.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/2006-10-pontiac-solstice-affordable-alternative-japanese-roa...
These are great looking fun cars with one fatal flaw: They are just too small. I'm 6'0", 180lbs. and do not fit into these cars. I rented one years ago and I could barely drive it. I also have problems fitting into a Miata. Just too small for me.
In 2013, at age 63 and having just buried my wife, I got a case of the "you're not getting any younger, maybe you better finally deliver on some of those promises you've been putting off for decades" jitters. High on that list was a 40+ year promise to someday own a two seat roadster. So, I traded in my beloved '86 Porsche 924S (wonderful car, but it wasn't a roadster!). Test drove a Solstice and a same year Miata back to back on the same back road (scaring the hell out of two car salesmen in the process), and to my surprise liked the Solstice better. Deal done, say goodbye to the best car I've ever owned, with hopes for the future.
Fourteen months later, the Solstice was gone. What was a wonderful car on a specific day, playing on a specific road or track turned out to be a pain in the ass to live with in terms of actually using it for transportation. Plus, it never came out on the road in the rain (normal sports car), and if it was a gorgeous day I'd hit the other garage for one of my motorcycles. Turns out I used the Porsche more often because it was more comfortable and practical (I could actually use it for grocery shopping).
And, in the long run, there was nothing particularly likable about the Solstice once you got past it's handing. The interior was cheap, tight, and barely comfortable. Why they claimed it had a trunk (even by sports car standards) is beyond me. That top was a major pain in the ass to deal with unless I had the girlfriend with me.
Nope, that car explained to me very well why GM went bankrupt. Love to borrow one for a day in the twisties, but to live with it? No thanks.
And the part that really hurt? Along with the Solstice and Miata, I also test drove a Porsche 968 Cabriolet. Unfortunately, it was Triptronic.
Just bought a low-miles '07 GXP convertible with darn near every available option, in mid-life-crisis red. It's just about everything my last toy (a high-miles, uncomfortable, rattly '96 Corvette LT4 coupe that ultimately spun a bearing) wasn't.
For a Sunday drive with the wife in the twists, who cares about the cumbersome top or lack of storage; it's 100% roadster that's attractive, well-mannered, fun and inexpensive. And at 6' 2" and 180, I still fit very comfortably, unlike the much-more-expensive MX-5 and S2000. Maybe I should have driven a Boxster or Z4 before committing to this car, but I'll happily live with that unknown....at least for now.
The Solstice and Sky have big British Leyland energy. By this, I mean that they were cleverly engineered to pass through a sclerotic bureaucracy. Yet ultimately that clever engineering couldn't overcome the parts bin they had to work with, and the bureaucracy they had to fight to survive. For example, see Bozi's article here about how GM was too cheap to remove the shipping spacers on the performance package for these cars.
I'd go C5 Corvette or S197 Mustang for an American convertible at this price point. There is a very healthy aftermarket for those two cars. For the Solstice and Sky, you will have to have Bozi on speed dial for any mods, or even repairs.
Well, they're not as small as a Honda del Sol or MGB Midget. Even at my medium build 5'8", 165lb it was all I could do to get in my customer's del Sol. And I had to laugh at my wife looking at a customer's Midget and trying to grasp it's size compared to the MGB we owned 15yr prior.
My daughter owned a Sky for a few years and loved it but sold it because she never had time to drive it. As a busy realtor, the Sky was totally impractical for her. I considered buying it but I never have time to drive my Corvette and didn't need another car to take up space. The only problems she had were the VVT solenoids, inexpensive fix, and I had to replace the water pump. You must have a tool for that and keep the timing chain tight or else you will be pulling the front cover and resetting the ratcheting chain adjuster.
There is nothing like being told to buy a car there are no parts for. I know. I bought a 6.0 2006 Chevy SSR. Shortly after I purchased it GM announced it was discontinued. I had visions of the June 1966 announcement by Studebaker it was out of the car business. I have somewhat of a chance because the first time I put my SSR up on the lift much to my surprise its a glorified 2 wheel drive Trailblazer. There are no body parts for the car. When the vehicle was 2 years old the top stopped working. The car was still under warranty. Not only the dealer I bought it from but no dealer could fix it. Fortunately, I'm a mechanic for 30 years. It took weeks to get a top electrical diagram. It had a shorted wire in the trunk light. Without this signal the top won't operate. Pontiac Solace. Good luck.
Someday you will again take a look at the Chrysler Crossfire, especially the 2005 SRT6 version, for an affordable 2 seater sports car that has a very large worldwide following, better access to parts, and performance is so much better. Based on the early 2000 Mercedes SLK, these cars are fun to drive, and very dependable in most cases. Not unusual to find these cars still running with 150-200,000 miles on them. The Mercedes 3.2 V6 is still considered one of their best engine.