Pontiac Solstice Roadster

To ensure an affordable, world-class driving experience, Solstice was created with a clever blend of all-new technology and proven GM components.
Solstice’s power is created by a new 2.4-liter variable-valve version of the Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine, producing about 170 horsepower. Its twin-cam, multi-valve design provides stirring, high-revving performance, while the engine’s lightweight, all-aluminum construction helps optimize the vehicle’s front-to-rear balance. At the start of production, Solstice will be offered with a close-ratio Aisin five-speed manual transmission.

“With the concept vehicle, people immediately felt the emotional appeal of Solstice’s design and back-to-basics philosophy - it’s about performance, but in a fun, agile, affordable roadster,” said Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC general manager. “All the stops were pulled out to make sure the production model delivers an exhilarating driving experience to capitalize on the ‘promise’ of the Solstice’s design.”

Faithfulness to the concept can be seen in Solstice’s proportions, which are comparable in terms of overhangs, wheelbase and track width. Independent front and rear suspensions that feature independent SLA designs with forged aluminum upper and lower control arms contribute to responsive handling. Monotube shock absorbers and coil springs contribute to uncompromised handling response and sporty driving characteristics while the wheels-at-the-corners wide stance enhances handling. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are standard, as are four-wheel disc brakes. 

Designers worked carefully to transfer the clean lines and taut proportions of the concept vehicle to the production model. 

“Put them side by side and it’s very difficult to tell the production model from the concept,” said Franz Von Holzhausen, design manager. “The front and rear fascias are slightly longer on the production model, but overall the car remains faithful to the concept - it’s a minimalist approach that emphasizes proportion.”

The Solstice’s proportions are accented with five-spoke wheels and a low, wide stance. A dual-port grille and expressive lighting at all corners instantly identifies the car as a Pontiac. Unexpected details include a body-color extension into the passenger compartment that gives the Solstice an integrated appearance when the top is down. In fact, the top folds flat into the rear clamshell opening, providing a smooth seamless appearance. 

“There is no visible stack from the folded top to disturb the shape,” said Von Holzhausen. “In fact, there are no extraneous lines whatsoever; it has a tight, purposeful look, as if it were shrink-wrapped around the driver.”

“We insisted on a lower ride height to ensure the car’s sporty appearance,” said Von Holzhausen. “That makes it the lowest, most ground-hugging car at GM. We were adamant that the Solstice look absolutely right from all angles.”

Creative leveraging of GM resources, as well as clever solutions to other needs, helped complete the Solstice’s design efficiently and economically. For example, the rear corner lamps are from the GMC Envoy, while door handles, fog lamps, seats, engine and transmission are shared with other GM vehicles.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

Sources: Pontiac press; RM Auctions

Gallery: Pontiac Solstice Roadster