Auction Pick of the Week: 2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP SCCA T2 Championship Edition


Don Knowles, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, could have had a career as a professional race car driver had he not spent 30 years working for the federal government. He had multiple wins in the Sports Car Club of America Runoffs—the annual event where all the SCCA members from around the country converge on one track and race against each other—but only one win, in 2007, was commemorated with a special edition of the Pontiac that Knowles raced: The 2008 Solstice GXP SCCA T2 Champion Edition.

One of those rare Solstices is our Sale of the Week. (It’s worth noting, too, that besides Knowles’ win in the T2 Class, Kenneth Flory also won his SSB class in a Solstice in 2007.)

2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP SCCA T2 Champion Edition rear three quarter

There have been multiple “answers” to the Miata since it was introduced in 1990, and the Solstice was one of the more successful ones. At the behest of GM executive Bob Lutz, the designers and engineers of General Motors came up with the rear-wheel-drive sports car and its near-twin, the Saturn Sky, in record time and still delivered a solid little car. I recall driving one home on the Florida Turnpike in an absolute deluge and thinking I’d rather be in the Pontiac than in a Miata. It was tractable, absolutely waterproof, and handled the rain with aplomb.

On the track, the Solstice held its own against cars including the Miata, the Lotus Elise, and the BMW Z4. It had few flaws, aside from the fact that its trunk could only hold a few soft bags of groceries—a roll-on suitcase was out of the question. Otherwise, there was little not to like about the Solstice, which Pontiac offered with a manual or an automatic transmission.

This week’s SOTW is a very pretty Mean Yellow Solstice with silver stripes on the hood and rear deck, plus a black top. With only 3300 miles, it’s barely broken in. The engine is a gutsy 2.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged four-cylinder, mated to a five-speed manual transmission, that pumped out 57 percent more power than the non-turbo 2.4. It has a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, a tight 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, a limited-slip rear, and a top (with a glass rear window) that is easy, but not quite as easy as a Miata’s, to put up and down.

According to the CARFAX Report for the car, the original dealer retained the Solstice GXP SCCA T2 Champion Edition until it was first sold in January 2010. The car remained with its original owner until the selling dealer acquired it in March of this year. There were reportedly just 88 of the cars made.

Production of the Solstice ended in 2010, when the Pontiac brand was killed. But this Solstice GXP SCCA T2 Championship Edition remains as one of the best examples of Pontiac’s remarkable performance history.

Bidding ends next Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET.




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    The SCCA T2 Championship Edition variant was, as I understand, purely show and no go. It was “loaded” with all the comfort and convenience options you could check off on the build sheet; and it had special exterior paint and seat trims. However, the performance upgrades in the Club Sport option package–larger front and rear sway bars, revalved shocks, higher rate springs, and a lowered stance (.25 in)–could not be ordered on the SCCA edition! GM was weird.

    Weird indeed. When I first read about the SCCA variant I truly believed that it was going to host a true performance package with a few weight-reducing tricks. I was quite let down to learn that it’s actually nothing more than a sticker package.

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