Cars Destined To Become Collectibles: Pontiac's Baby Corvette Coupe


Low production numbers and a role in "Transformers" make this American coupe a future collectible.

Like the BMW Z4 M coupe that we covered earlier in this series, the Pontiac Solstice Coupe was a bit of an oddball. It is one of the final cars to be produced by Pontiac and even benefited from a faster GXP version. The Solstice Coupe appeared in the first "Transformers" movie in 2007 despite only being available as a convertible. The targa coupe version of the Solstice was unveiled at the 2008 New York Auto Show as a 2009 model. The hardtop can be removed, and a optional cloth roof could be stored in the trunk.

Only 1,266 Coupes were built before the production line in Wilmington, Delaware. was closed. This makes the coupe far rarer than the over 64,000 convertibles that were produced. Both versions of the Solstice were available with two engine options. The base model came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 177 hp. The GXP version came with a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder making 260 horsepower. Both engines could be paired with a five-speed automatic or five-speed manual. The GXP could reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 14.2 seconds at 98 mph. Not bad for what was basically a baby Corvette. Because it was turbocharged, the GXP could easily be tuned to make more power.

The Solstice was never received quite as well as rivals such as the Miata or the S2000. Pontiac's death in 2010 spelled the end for the Solstice and its corporate twin, the Saturn Sky. While convertibles are far from rare, the extremely short life of the Coupe model makes it somewhat of a unicorn. Just 781 GXP coupes were built, so if you manage to find one with a manual, you'd better buy it! Although the non-GXP version of the coupe is actually rarer, the GXP is still the one you should look for. The base 2.4-liter engine didn't inspire quite as much driving pleasure as the turbocharged version. Pontiac even offered a GM Performance power upgrade that included an ECU flash and a new manifold air-pressure sensor for only $650 plus installation.

The performance upgrade boosted power to 290 horses and 340 lb-ft of torque, up 30 hp and 80 lb-ft over stock. While installing the upgrade after purchase voided the warranty but that's kind of a moot point now. This upgrade transforms the Solstice from a car that's kind of quick to one that will scare 911s and Corvettes. If you want something that is incredibly unique, built in America, and reasonably affordable, you should look for a Solstice. Coupe models can now be found for as little as $25,000 (ish) for a normal model with an automatic. Some manual GXP models can sell for as much as $50,000, but search hard enough and you can probably find one for around $35,000. Not bad for something that was a Transformer before it was a real car.


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