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Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
7/4/16 9:29 a.m.

I knew they had a Sky, saw it once under a cover out in the garage during a quick visit. I know next to nothing about Saturn's in general, didn't think anything of it. I did hear they took it to the Dragon once at least, years ago. (They're both in less-than-great health at the moment.)

Flash forward to this past weekend. Our local SCCA region is providing free coffee for Dayton's Cars and Coffee, bit of promotion and all, seems to be worth it. I help run the booth when not sidetracked with events. SWMBO was going to a painting thing with her daughter, after I text that we just ran out of coffee she says "Oh I was going to stop by, got mom's Sky". Cool, ok, it'll be awhile & I can hang out, come on by.

Turns out it's a Red Line edition, and more than a few friends were looking it over. I had a chance to sit in it, and start it. Looks like it would be fun! If I remember, it's an '08 and has just under 9K miles. Yeah, remember that health I mentioned?

Tell me about these things, I keep joking with her we have a Novice class for autocross, even started a Ladies class...

Dumb me forgot to get a photo, but it's just like this. Black, silver stripe, same wheels.

kanaric
kanaric Dork
7/4/16 10:11 a.m.

The only desirable saturn and a very good looking car imo.

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
7/4/16 10:23 a.m.

I haven't looked them up, I keep forgetting about them as a NC Miata contender. One old guy in my autocross region races one, but he's about average speed wise. I like the styling of them better than the Solstice.

Edit: a quick check on wikipedia shows that they were only produced for 4 years, at least the regular Sky/Solstice, so they could become a collector car in 10 or so years, since the oldest one was built 10 years ago. It's also a Front-mid engine layout, so that's cool, even though many people seem to not care about that.

kanaric
kanaric Dork
7/4/16 10:26 a.m.
Mr_Clutch42 wrote: I haven't looked them up, I keep forgetting about them as a NC Miata contender. One old guy in my autocross region races one, but he's about average speed wise. I like the styling of them better than the Solstice.

The problem with these when they were new is that you had the S2000 as an option during the entire production run. For the non-turbo you had the Miata.

IDK ho well these sold but both of those are basically top tier competition and well established names at that point.

ssswitch
ssswitch HalfDork
7/4/16 10:27 a.m.

When they were new I remember that the Solstice GXP had a few GMPP flashes that would crank up the boost.

Really screw up your classing but it'd be worth it to smoke the tires through several gears.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
7/4/16 10:30 a.m.

This and the Pontiac Solstice twin were two casualties that got dropped when GM faced bankruptcy and deleted the Saturn and Pontiac brands.

Often referred to as "one where GM was getting it right" only to be dropped.

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
7/4/16 10:49 a.m.

In reply to kanaric: That's true, and I also seem to remember that there wasn't a huge buzz of excitement, maybe partially since it was GM that produced these small sports cars. I do remember looking at sales numbers of them a few years ago, and they didn't sell well.

In reply to JohnRW1621: When GM declared bankruptcy, the platform had to be terminated. If it didn't, GM could have just sold it as a Chevy or a Cadillac sports car with a different body.

WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
7/4/16 1:49 p.m.
Mr_Clutch42 wrote: In reply to kanaric: That's true, and I also seem to remember that there wasn't a huge buzz of excitement, maybe partially since it was GM that produced these small sports cars. I do remember looking at sales numbers of them a few years ago, and they didn't sell well. In reply to JohnRW1621: When GM declared bankruptcy, the platform had to be terminated. If it didn't, GM could have just sold it as a Chevy or a Cadillac sports car with a different body.

GM never really marketed the Saturn line(or really allowed Saturn to market them).

This is why the far more useful Ion Redline only had 6000 units made over 4 model years. The Sky Redline however is an exceptionally rare breed with very low production numbers. There's some 1 of 1 cars out there.

patgizz
patgizz UltimaDork
7/4/16 10:33 p.m.

MIL has a redline in the dark metallic green. Nice little car but top up it's cramped for me. If you power brake it(auto, sadface) to build boost it goes very well and accelerates like an angry little train because of the turbo

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
7/5/16 7:11 a.m.

I'm wondering if they would let her bring it to an autocross now...

nderwater
nderwater PowerDork
7/5/16 7:35 a.m.

I like the Sky and Solstice, particularly in Red Line and GXP trims. They're little gems from that very brief period where Pontiac and Saturn were finally starting to do some interesting things, like the GTO and G8 GXP.

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing HalfDork
7/5/16 7:40 a.m.

Oddly enough, Tulsa seems to have an unsually high number of excellent condition Sky/Solstice running around on the streets. I see one at least once a week. I never did figure out if the Sky was a re-badged Pontiac, or the Solstice was a re-badged Saturn, or if they were planned as production twins from day one...

Cooper_Tired
Cooper_Tired HalfDork
7/5/16 10:51 a.m.

Last trip I took to the drag strip, there was a pair of them running 13.0-12.8

CLH
CLH Reader
7/5/16 11:31 a.m.

[Thoughts from a Solstice GXP owner]

There are a few things to watch out for, nothing really disastrous. They tend to eat water pumps quickly. Hub carrier bolts can work loose if they've been perturbed in any way. Intake piping has a fragile connector on top that can be broken easily. Some people have trouble with their pax-side airbag sensor. And of course the whole ignition cylinder problem (dealership will fix this for free).

They have their quirks too. Top is annoying to put up/down. The unusual wheel PCD combined with high stock offset make for very limited wheel choices. The use of parts-bin bits makes the car look a bit of a hodge-podge in some respects. You have to remove the pax-side fender to replace the battery.

That said, power is solid and the overbuilt nature of the car means it's pretty reliable. There are several sources for ECU tunes, from mild to wild, and even the most basic canned tune will net you 270hp/300tq at the wheels with all else stock. If you open up the exhaust and put in a HF cat, with a decent tune you coax nearly 300hp/340tq out of the motor without even touching the intake side. My GXP put down 273hp/311tq with a budget tune on an otherwise stock configuration. Don't bother with the GMPP tune; it was great for maintaining warranty, but there are better value tunes now that all of these beasts are out of warranty.

There are three somewhat active boards for the Kappa twins: solsticeforum.com, skyroadster.com, and kappaperformance.com. Members on those boards tend toward appearance and convenience mods, but there are some useful power and handling posts if you dig a bit.

Check DDMWorks and Performance Autowerks for aftermarket stuff.

Enjoy!

drdisque
drdisque HalfDork
7/5/16 12:20 p.m.

Also, if you do get into serious autocrossing, the SCCA totally boned them on the Street classing because of the ZOK option on the Solstice which was uber-rare but also uber-helpful. The Redline is in AS (with C6es and C5 Z06's) and the non-redline is in BS (with S2000's, STIs, Non-Z06 C5's). Also keep in mind that the Kappa's were quite a bit heavier than an NC or an S2000.

Dave
Dave Reader
7/5/16 12:32 p.m.

Neat cars for sure. I really like the Solstice GXP in particular.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/buyers-guide-other-roadster/

These two look tasty to me but both seem to be being sold for bottom level dealers (I might be wrong but first impressions)

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/calgary/2008-pontiac-solstice-gxp-roadster-260hp-turbo/1166950756 http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/calgary/2007-pontiac-solstice-gxp-custom-exhaust-5-speed/1161135317?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

A N/A is about $4k cheaper but the LSD and turbo might just be worth the extra.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
7/5/16 12:36 p.m.
drdisque wrote: Also, if you do get into serious autocrossing, the SCCA totally boned them on the Street classing because of the ZOK option on the Solstice which was uber-rare but also uber-helpful. The Redline is in AS (with C6es and C5 Z06's) and the non-redline is in BS (with S2000's, STIs, Non-Z06 C5's). Also keep in mind that the Kappa's were quite a bit heavier than an NC or an S2000.

Ha ha ha, wow, that is a total boning. The regular one will be crushed by a C5 Vette on any open course and forget the Redline being competitive against a C6 Z06.

IIRC the Solstice could dial in some serious camber from the factory and there were definitely some nice options for suspension.

WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
7/5/16 12:49 p.m.

In reply to WildScotsRacing:

They were planned as production twins from day 1, and they shared only the windshield surround exterior sheet metal wise....

MacDubois
MacDubois New Reader
7/5/16 2:41 p.m.
drdisque wrote: Also, if you do get into serious autocrossing, the SCCA totally boned them on the Street classing because of the ZOK option on the Solstice which was uber-rare but also uber-helpful. The Redline is in AS (with C6es and C5 Z06's) and the non-redline is in BS (with S2000's, STIs, Non-Z06 C5's). Also keep in mind that the Kappa's were quite a bit heavier than an NC or an S2000.

My wife almost got a Z0K new, but the dealer we worked at would've needed to trade for it and the dealer it was at had it's assets frozen due to the shady dealings of the owner. Got a Focus instead... practicality sucks.

I only drove the Solstices, not the Skys, but my impressions were that they didn't feel as fast as they are. And they felt bigger to drive than they are. And the trunks are inconveniently laid out (although we did fit a lot guy in one). The base car seemed like it would be an excellent car to autocross though.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
7/5/16 3:37 p.m.
CLH wrote: [Thoughts from a Solstice GXP owner] ... You have to remove the pax-side fender to replace the battery..

We were talking this morning, and she told me they had replaced the battery once. (At the event we were looking at the battery placement.) Yup, step 1 - remove large portion of body.

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
7/5/16 4:47 p.m.

In reply to Harvey: If more people autocrossed them, they might be able to get the SCCA to bump them down to CS with the regular one and BS for the Redline/GXP, but they still might not be fast enough.

EDT
EDT New Reader
7/5/16 5:50 p.m.
Mr_Clutch42 wrote: In reply to Harvey: If more people autocrossed them, they might be able to get the SCCA to bump them down to CS with the regular one and BS for the Redline/GXP, but they still might not be fast enough.

They were originally classed in CS and BS, but after dominating for the first year or two they were moved up.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
7/5/16 11:30 p.m.

One just went on sale at the used car lot that connects to my parking lot at work. Tempted to walk over and test drive that sucker.

CLH
CLH Reader
7/6/16 10:38 a.m.
Jerry wrote:
CLH wrote: [Thoughts from a Solstice GXP owner] ... You have to remove the pax-side fender to replace the battery..

We were talking this morning, and she told me they had replaced the battery once. (At the event we were looking at the battery placement.) Yup, step 1 - remove large portion of body.

If you put a tiny little lightweight battery in when you replace the original, you can get it in/out without removing the fender :)

CLH
CLH Reader
7/6/16 10:42 a.m.
Mr_Clutch42 wrote: In reply to Harvey: If more people autocrossed them, they might be able to get the SCCA to bump them down to CS with the regular one and BS for the Redline/GXP, but they still might not be fast enough.

The street prepared classing has them buried too. They're both in ASP. I guess it's a matter of not making a car with limited numbers too competitive. It's kind of a tweener car...probably too fast for BSP, but not fast enough for ASP.

I've been considering moving to CAM-S.

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