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The Pontiac Solstice siblings that might have been

We know the Pontiac Solstice as a short-lived, two-seat roadster—and also, briefly, a hardtop coupe—from the early 2000s. The roadster had a reskinned counterpart at Saturn, the Sky, and that variant was also sold in Europe as the Opel GT and in Korea as the Daewoo G2X. There was, however, supposed to be more to that story.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/the-pontiac-solstice-siblings-that-might-have-been/

Replies (14)

Replies (14)

Our Local Kappa Club was able to visit the GM Heritage Center last fall, they rolled out the original Solstice Concept car for our tour, and the Chevy Nomad was on Display. Its a shame they never made a serious attempt at building the Nomad, I think it would have sold better than the HHR, but the 2-door platform may have hurt it.

 

I own a Mallet V8 Conversion Solstice, it always surprises people.

New Driver

These are extremely fun cars to drive.  Simple, straightforward, and plenty of pep even in the non-turbo versions.  I have a 2006 Solstice in Mysterious (Black) with just 7200 original miles on it, plus it was 1 of the 1st 1000 produced (badge on the dash); in fact, it was the 192nd Solstice produced.  It's for sale if anyone is interested.  

kcturbodug at Yahoo dot com

Pit Crew

These remind me of the Corvair prototypes I saw at the Sebring race many years ago. There were some beauties that never made it thanks to Ralph Nader's unwarranted attacks. I'd love to see an article on those prototypes.

Passenger

Shh!!!,  Bought 2008 Saturn Sky Redline Turbo last year, what a sleeper!  Great performance upgrades at a reasonable price, GM was very conservative on their performance tuning!  Easy to work on and parts ae available and fairly reasonable.  I've had Corvette owners comment it looks like a "Baby Vette", until they get smoked by this little 4 cylinder.  So much fun to drive and 24 mpg if you keep your foot out of the go pedal.

Passenger

I have owned my Solstice for one year and it was literally a Miata killer. It gets so much attention when I am out and about and people literally think its a huge dollar car. It is so fun brings a smile to my face. 

New Driver

  I've owned a few of the muscle cars from the 60's and 70's, but from the time I saw the first Solstice concept, I saved my nickles and dimes and hoped to have enough to purchase one of the first 1,000 made and put on Donald Trump's "Apprentice".  The day came when ordering could be done.  Unfortunately for me, GM had not anticipated the popularity that the Solstice had generated and the order website crashed.  I still ended up with the first run of Solstice's made and still have and drive it.  Of all the cars I have owned, I love the Solstice best.  It handles like a go-kart and is a super fun car.

Pit Crew

I think General Motors, a saturated, overweight, slowmoving, elephant was bailed out because its Workers were and are Voters. The bail out had nothing to do with corporate strategy, something obviously lacking with the degeneration of both brands. But it was the potential Voters that counted, not the corporation. I believe at the time GM employed 250,000 workers at various plants around the US. That may not be the right number. 

Intermediate Driver

The Nomad was really cool, though the grille was a bit awkwardly incorporated; done a bit differently, like the Chrysler LH, would clean that up. So many GM concepts end up as a sad commentary on what might have been had the bean-counters not interfered. Too bad Mr. Lutz didn't have complete authority...

Intermediate Driver

Nomad concept looks like an early 90s Honda Civic hatch smoothed to look retro. Too smooth like the last Thunderbird to my tastes --but on a track that could have been good.

 

Cars on this platform were pricey... could have sold a ton of them making them cheap to buy and putting a Chevette badge on them. Just saying.

Detailer

I remember road testing the Solstice for a week when it first came out. And the following week driving the latest Honda S2000. What a contradiction! The Solstice body was pretty, but the low quality build was horrendous -- rattles, poor handling, no power, half-a-foot between gears at the shifter. Sitting side-by-side to a wellbuilt Honda exemplified its junk genetics.   

Passenger

Yet another failure of GM's inability to produce success.  I believe Bob Lutz was the last true "car guy" in management that GM employed; he envisioned cars that would stir the emotional connection between people and the cars they bought. 

Since the "bean counters" have taken over authority, we have seen car companies do little more than chase profit by copying each others' profit; the end result is most cars looking alike.  Next time you're the road, look at how many white and gray(silver) SUVs you see.  Trucks are now all slowly morphing into the same appearance.  Without external badging, most of us cannot tell the brands apart.

There was a wonderful time when automakers sought to distinguish themselves by their designs, not by their profit margins. My newest car is now 24 years old.  Bob, we miss you dearly.

New Driver

The Solstice/Sky should have been moved to the Chevy and Buick like in the way that the Pontiac G8 became the Chevy SS. That Nomad is gorgeous. They should have made the Corvette Nomad back in the 50’s as well. 

New Driver

Another management swing and big miss. I always felt that the Saturn/Solstice cars were like a Mr Potato head design with stick on front and rear end graphics, lacking some bones under the doughy skin, I really wanted to like them. Why is it that smaller, inexpensive sporty cars, have to limit adults 5'6" or less? As usual, the interiors were refreshing, modern, and clean looking, that didn't make it into production. I very well recall the Nomad concept being well received, but have no recollection on the Saturn Curve. At first glance at the lead photo here, I was very surprised by the toupee top design, not knowing the smooth envelope of the rest of the car. Never seen it in several Heritage Center tours.
I can't recall where the Lutz-Gale-Gastaing team were at the time of the Copperhead or Pronto projects, but they were intended as a producible vehicle. Supposedly there wasn't a business case, but I think there wasn't enough champion(s) for them. It certainly could have helped Plymouth and Dodge with an affordable halo vehicle far more interesting than a Miata. The open wheel Prowler and max Viper, were never intended as such. Another missed opportunity

Intermediate Driver

GM should have rebadged the Solstice and/or Sky for continuation. The Buick Cascada looks like a rebadged Chrysler Sebring. Not terrible but not distinctive either. 

Pit Crew