2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe - $36,900
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It’s rather amazing that GM ponied up for all these unique body parts on a car they knew they were going to kill—it probably shouldn’t exist at all.

General Motors has this weird knack for killing their best vehicles right when they’ve been perfected. Remember those last Fieros with decent power, great suspensions, and handsome styling? The Impala SS, with its Corvette-based V8 and full-sized performance? Cadillac Allante, a 2-seater with aluminum bodywork and a 300-horspower 32-valve V8? Well, you can add the Pontiac Solstice GXP to that list, particularly the coupe, which is a car that probably shouldn’t even exist. The writing was already on the wall, so why did they build a wicked little targa-topped 2-seater with a boost-enhanced DOHC engine, capable suspension, massive brakes, and a driver-oriented cockpit. Only the Corvette is a better General Motors performance car.

Like its cousin the Corvette, this Solstice is a numbers car. It’s rare, with only 1152 Solstice coupes being built in that final year of production. Of those, only 330 came with a 5-speed manual transmission, and this particular Mysterious Black coupe is one of 102 pre-production models. So for you numbers junkies, this is pretty cool. Today it shows just over 22,000 miles and has been beautifully maintained all its life; used appropriately, of course, but never as a daily driver and certainly never in inclement weather. Code 41U Mysterious Black was the most popular color and it’s easy to understand why—this is one sinister sports car. It isn’t soft and friendly like the regular Solstice, not a light-duty version of a British sports car like the Miata, it’s got a bad attitude. The sloping fastback roof removes all the Solstice’s soft surfaces and gives it an edge, and with a lift-off targa top it’s not too far from a convertible anyway. There are a few minor signs of use but overall it shines up beautifully and finish quality on the Kappa cars was better than average for General Motors. It’s rather amazing that GM ponied up for all these unique body parts on a car they knew they were going to kill—it probably shouldn’t exist at all.

Black leather covers a pair of comfortable and supportive bucket seats and they obviously were aiming to make the GXP a serious driver’s car. The gauges are set into two deep chrome-rimmed pods in the silver-toned instrument panel, there’s a fat leather-wrapped wheel, and the 5-speed uses one of the most direct shifters you’ve ever experienced. The coupe doesn’t break any new ground in terms of comfort or space, although the storage bay under the rear hatch is a bit more accessible and useful than the convertible’s trunk. There’s almost zero wear on any of the seating surfaces, with only light stretching on the lower seat cushion. New sill plates were recently installed (the originals had a tendency to warp) and obviously everything works, including ice cold A/C and a killer Monsoon stereo system. The lift-off roof is easy to remove with three latches, but since it’s too large to store in the trunk, this car also includes a portable cloth top just in case. There are numerous handy storage nooks throughout, and it could be a lot of fun to take a road trip in this slick little coupe.

It was easy to dismiss the standard Solstice as just a cute little convertible, but the GXP is all business. The 2.0 liter DOHC turbocharged engine is a serious over-achiever making 260 horsepower and a rather surprising 260 pounds of torque. There’s almost zero turbo lag and that big wall of torque launches the lightweight GXP coupe like a slingshot. It has also proven itself to be durable and reliable and service is still easy at your local GM dealership. And, of course, if more power is what you crave, the aftermarket has popped up to support these cars in a big way. This one remains totally stock, right down to the air filter and exhaust system, and that means it’s easy to drive and bulletproof. Fuel injection means it fires up instantly, idles perfectly, and has great manners no matter what the circumstances. Treat it gently and it’ll even knock down nearly 30 MPG on the highway. Nice, right?

Underneath, it’s like a 3/4-scale Corvette, including an all-independent suspension with aluminum control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, and four giant disc brakes to haul it down time after time. Everything is enhanced with the GXP upgrades—bigger sway bars, firmer shocks and springs, a reduced ride height, and oversized brakes so it’s insanely competent under almost any circumstances. The exhaust note has just the right amount of aggression, but quiets down on the open road. Clutch action is light and the gears are well-chosen to keep the engine on boil between shifts—get it right and there’s an endless flow of torque that makes the GXP more than a match for a lot of other performance cars. It has obviously never seen winter weather and remains extremely clean throughout. Factory chrome alloys add a bit of flash to the otherwise monochromatic bodywork, and they carry 245/45/18 Goodyear radials.

Documentation on this particular GXP coupe is extensive. As a pre-production car, it includes a lot of GM internal paperwork showing production schedules, figures, and other internal GM data. It also comes with a full set of factory owner’s manuals, promotional literature, brochures, and other factory literature. This will be a very exciting find for future collectors. It also includes the aforementioned folding soft top and a fresh set of GXP floor mats that have never been used.

We’ve always liked the Solstice/Sky twins and the Solstice GXP coupe is perhaps the purest distillation of sports car GM has ever built, and that includes the Corvette. Light weight, great power, comfortable ergonomics, it gets everything right. It’s a great deal of fun to drive but remains a bit practical. And the cool thing is that it just shouldn’t exist—passionate GM engineers got it done in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s just cool. If it’s your kind of cool, give us a call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections on any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe
Price: $36,900
Stock Number: 117072
Mileage: 22,756
VIN: 1G2MG25X19Y106071
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.73
Wheelbase: 95 inches
Wheels: 18-inch polished aluminum wheels
Tires: 245/45/18 Goodyear radials
Exterior Color: Mysterious Black
Interior Color: Black leather
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