$86,500 Solstice GXP: Folly or forerunner?

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP front three-quarter

We’ve long argued that the Pontiac Solstice and its sister model, the Saturn Sky, are great cars for the money. They bring to the table a similar platter of performance as compared to their Japanese counterparts—the Mazda Miata and Honda S2000—but at a more attainable cost. Of course, when a Solstice GXP Coupe sells for a $86,500 on eBay, we sit completely upright.

What made this particular car a prize worthy of such lofty bids? Well, the GXP was a lot more than the garden-variety Solstice. It may have a small 2.0-liter engine, but the inclusion of a turbocharger means that at 260 hp it has a 20-horse jump over the mighty S2000. Power is only a portion of the picture, though. In coupe form these cars handle notably better than the roadster version, and they’re rare to boot. Between 2009 and when Pontiac folded in the early part of the 2010 model year, only 1266 coupes are reported to have been produced. These cars command a decent premium—close to double that of a convertible.

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP badge

Still, all this does not account for this specific car’s impressive result. A closer look reveals a few clues as to the nature of its secret sauce. For one, the car is as close to a new-in-wrapper as we’ve seen in a long time, with only 192 miles on the odometer. The striking shade of blue, named “Fresh”, is unique to the Solstice as well, gracing just 32 cars for the 2009, the only model year it was offered. This GXP also received a tune at the dealer when new, reportedly increasing output by 30-40 hp.

The natural response after a big sale like these is to wonder whether it’s an aberrant outlier or a genuine harbinger of future value. Digging into other examples on the market, we’re most likely looking at the former.

Sub 1000-mile cars can be found in the mid-$40,000 range, albeit with more pedestrian color choices. A glance at the bid history for this car also indicates that a single bidder ran the price up to $68,000, then punched the Buy it Now button for good measure, bringing the price up to the eye watering $86,500. Translation: Somebody wanted this car come hell or high water.

This is precisely the kind of sale that we examine and hesitate to predict will meaningfully alter the market. The fact remains that Solstices in similar shape, with still very low miles, can be had for substantially less. What we can say for sure is that there are always willing buyers for the right car. This is to take nothing away from the Pontiac Solstice, which remains a uniquely American expression of the ’90s and 2000s affordable sports car boom. If nothing else, our takeaway is that desirable vehicles like the GXP Coupe won’t be bargains forever..

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