Empty Wednesday

I don’t really have anything about which to write today. So, why am I? Compulsion…I want the blog to reach a certain “milestone” for views for the year before the end of April. If I post every day, or almost every day, until the end of the month, then that “milestone” will probably be reached. If I skip two or three days, then it won’t.

I suspect many readers are already tired of my writing about the possibility of my buying a Saturn Sky Red Line. By the way, while the turbo version of the Pontiac Solstice (the GXP) was not available until its second model year of production, the Red Line was available from the beginning for the Sky. However, the Solstice was released one model year before the Sky.

About 30 percent of Skys were in Red Line spec for its first year, 2007, but from then through the end of production, more than 60 percent of Skys were Red Line models. Only about 44 percent of Solstices were GXPs during the same period. I found that factoid (OK, you can call it minutia) to be surprising. I doubt most “car people” would think more Saturn buyers would opt for a performance upgrade than Pontiac buyers. From Fortune, a picture of both cars:


Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky 2005-2009


This photo was shown as part of a piece called, “10 Tarnished Halo Cars.” Three of the other cars were also among my favorites: the Studebaker Avanti, Cadillac Allante and Buick Reatta. More trivia/minutia: almost exactly 100,000 Solstices/Skys were produced, 99,954, to be exact. If one counts the Opel GT and Daewoo G2X, both of which were just re-badged Sky Red Lines, then total production of Kappa platform convertibles was 107,658. From the Fortune article, which was published in 2012:


“These two roadsters were supposed to inject some much-needed Viagra into the flagging Pontiac and Saturn brands, and GM launched them with all the thunder that a failing automaker could muster. Yet even the imprimatur of design guru Bob Lutz couldn’t fend off harsh comments from car reviewers who found them dynamically inferior to the long-established Mazda Miata and incapable carrying any baggage than could fit in a number 10 envelope. Touted as instant classics, they are now little more than curiosities — poor relatives to the 60-year-old-and-still-going-strong Chevy Corvette.”


It’s hard to remember now that when the Solstice was first introduced, it was hugely popular. Pontiac received 7,000 orders, its planned first-year production, in just the first 10 days of availability. Dealers often sold the car for more than MSRP. More than 21,000 Solstices were actually produced for model year 2006.

Despite the introduction of the Sky for the 2007 model year, Solstice sales actually increased to about 24,000. I think the cars were a victim of the Financial Crisis and then, of course, rumors of the demise of Pontiac and Saturn became louder and those makes were, sadly, both discontinued. 30 Kappa platform cars (20 Solstices, 8 Skys and 2 Opel GTs) were built with 2010 VINs in late April/early May of 2009.

The Sky Red Line could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.2 seconds (with an automatic transmission, the manual was slower), pull nearly .9g on a skidpad and brake from 60 MPH to a stop in just 124 feet. (Do you sense that I am trying to talk myself into buying one sooner rather than later?) The “car reviewers” mentioned in the Fortune piece as being critical of the car somehow never mentioned those facts. Of course, those weren’t the performance specs of the base car, either.

OCD is no fun…







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11 thoughts on “Empty Wednesday

  1. My daughter’s husband, was one of those 21,000 Solstice buyers in 2006. He still owns the car 16 years later. As I have mentioned before, he is currently modifying it and installing an LS-3 Chevy V8. He is progressing nicely and awaiting the return of the ECU and wiring harness from the modifier. It is more than just a drive train modification but includes the installation of Wilwood disks and calipers for better braking. When he is finished you will need to come down for a ride. He and his Solstice club buddies have run them at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, AZ. Jon included me in one of the track days and it was a wonderful experience.


    1. Thanks, Philip. Your son-in-law’s Solstice sounds like a beast. I wonder what Bob Lutz would think. He was adamant that the car only be powered by a 4-cylinder engine.


      1. If you go back to 1964-65, Zora was against the option of a big block in the Corvette. He felt it would ruin the balance of the car. Sadly for him, he wasn’t high enough up the food chain to prevent it. Bob Lutz was to keep the Solstice/Sky only with a 4 banger.

        After 1965 for the Corvette high performance minded, a big block was the option as 65 was the last year for the original fuelie. Carbs only after that until 1982, I think, with the Cross Fire (AKA Cease Fire) system.


      2. Thanks, DDM. As a big believer in “balance” as a life axiom, I would have concurred with Zora–if I had, somehow, been old enough and been in a position to do so. Personally, I would much prefer to own a C2 Corvette with a small block.


      3. Bob Lutz is a wimp, which is why the Solstice/Sky never had a V-6 let alone a V-8. Wimps should never be in charge of the design of performance cars and all cars should be performance cars.

        A beast of a car was the Jay Leno Toronado converted to rear wheel drive that had an 1100 hp twin-turbo big block that he drove around the old GM Mesa Proving Grounds oval track at well over 150+ mph.


  2. Any rear wheel drive car and/or truck should generally be limited to around 450 hp as they are too light in the rear end to keep the tire spin to a minimum. Carroll Shelby is supposed to have said: There is never too much horsepower, just not enough traction.


    1. Thanks, Philip. With traction control on, it is virtually impossible to spin the rear wheels in my Z06, even with 700+ HP. I suspect with traction control off, the car would end up sideways in a tree in any attempt at very hard acceleration.


  3. I started reading your posts for the week yesterday, and got interrupted. I am finally trying to catch up after my move, but we still aren’t quite settled back into our Fargo home.
    Anyway, to comment on Phillip M’s note, I can’t imagine this little car with a V-8. It will be a screamer.


  4. There is a light blue Saturn Sky that I occasionally see in my East Tucson area. I’d follow it home to talk cars with the driver, but the lady driver might think I was stalking her.


    1. Thanks for sharing, Philip, both about the LS7 Solstice and the Sky in your area. Sadly, you are right about her thinking you are stalking her. That’s the world today.


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