The Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky: Underrated American Sports Cars

saturn sky

How Much Was the Saturn Sky When It Was New?

Coming along a year after the Pontiac Solstice debuted, the Saturn Sky also came with a slightly higher base price of $24,725 in 2007. The lesser-produced Saturn was also not privy to the myriad of trims the Solstice offered. Instead, Saturn simply offered the Base or the more powerful Red Line.

Pontiac Solstice Saturn Sky

How Fast Was the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky?

Having taken the silver medal in our Cheap, Fast Cars feature not long ago, the GM roadster twins, especially in turbo trim, were fast enough to make us smile. While we never got the chance to truly wring out a Saturn Sky with testing equipment in tow, we had (and enjoyed) plenty of opportunities to test the Pontiac Solstice in its different trims over the years. Pitting it against a plethora of competitors like the Nissan 350Z Roadster and BMW Z4, we were able to get the most out of the playful Pontiac. The GXP Coupe ended up being the quickest of them all, posting a best 0–60-mph time of 5.4 seconds and a quarter-mile trap of 14.0 seconds at 98.7 mph, beating out its drop-top twin by just a tenth of a second in both tests.

saturn sky coupe

Is There a Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky Coupe?

Although the Saturn Sky was only ever produced as a convertible, in 2009, Pontiac decided to add a BMW Z4–esqe Coupe variant to the Solstice lineup. In keeping with the likes of the Pontiac Firebird, the Coupe allowed for both hardtop and open-air driving. Unlike the troublesome T-tops of yesteryear however, the Solstice used a removable roof panel that weighed just 31 pounds thanks to its magnesium composition. Though only 1,266 Coupes were made in total (102 preproduction 2009 models, 1,152 regular production 2009 models, and 12 preproduction 2010 models), just 781 of those were the higher-performance GXP models, making it the rarest configuration and trim of all.

saturn sky soltice

What Is the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky Mallett V-8?

As Carroll Shelby taught us decades ago with the legendary Shelby Cobra, it can be loads of fun when you stuff a big honkin’ V-8 into a small, competent chassis, and then name it after yourself. Half a century later, Chuck Mallett would be happy to take a relatively mild-mannered Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky and turn them into fire-breathing monsters. For a starting price of $19,995 (plus the cost of the car) Mallett advertises a Standard V-8 package, which includes the following:

  • 400-hp V-8 LS2 engine – Rated at 400 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 400 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
  • 360-hp rear wheel
  • LUK Pro Gold clutch assembly
  • Mallett custom modified lowered shocks
  • Performance springs
  • Polyurethane rear control arm (A-arm) bushings
  • Polyurethane differential mount bushing
  • Corsa stainless mufflers
  • Custom two-core aluminum radiator
  • Carbon-fiber coil covers
  • Mallett body graphics
  • Mallett graphics embroidered on seat headrests
  • Show car detailing
  • Mallett serial number plaque and badging
  • 2-year/24,000-mile warranty

Beyond that power is another available level of insanity. The 427 LS7 package ratcheted things up about 505 notches with the following items:

  • Everything in the Standard package
  • 505HP LS7 engine
  • Dry-sump oil system
  • Six-speed Tremec transmission
  • 3.73 differential
  • Custom-built driveshaft
  • Custom-built halfshafts
  • 464-hp rear wheel
  • Mallett/Penske non-adjustable shocks
  • Big brake upgrade
  • Mallett one-piece forged five-spoke wheels, powdercoated (specify color)
  • Michelin PS II tires P265/35/ZR19
Pontiac solstice Saturn Sky

Why Did They Stop Making the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky?

Although both the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky were welcomed by the automotive enthusiast public with open arms and heavy feet, they were just a little too late for the party. The brief resurgence of the domestic sports car was cut short by a mortgage-meltdown-induced collapse of the national economy. GM filed for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009, after having lost nearly $31 billion (or $53.32 per share at the time) in 2008.

Consequently, as part of its agreement with the government, GM was forced to restructure and later shuttered many of its subsidiary brands. Two of those casualties were Pontiac and Saturn, taking with them their respective Kappa-platformed sports cars.

Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky Today

How Much Is a Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky Today?

According to Classic.com the average resale value for a Pontiac Solstice is $17,424 with the lowest and highest sales of production models being $3,500 and $57,000 respectively. The least valuable models tend to be earlier base trim cars with higher mileage, while the most valuable are unequivocally the 2009 Coupes, of which only 1,266 were produced, and of those, just 781 were the high-po GXP variety.

The Saturn Sky has a similar resale value, with an average of $17,071, with a low sale of $6,500 and a high sale of $33,000 for production models. Once again, the cheaper cars tend to be high-mileage base trim units, while the top production model sale (as of this writing) was a 2009 Sky Redline Ruby Red Special Editon.

It should be noted that both average resale values are somewhat inflated by the sales of Mallett V-8 conversions, which have sold for considerably more than any of the production models on the market.

Pontiac Solstice Saturn Sky a Muscle Car

Is the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky a Muscle Car?

We did question what exactly a muscle car is a few years back and concluded that:

The standard definition used to be that a muscle car was a midsize production car (including the smaller “pony cars” like Mustangs and Camaros) with a plus-sized engine, built during the ten years between 1964 and 1973. Like a lot of standard definitions, that one is full of holes.

We couldn’t agree more. So, if the real question is, “Is the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky a modern muscle car?” then the answer becomes a little trickier. When it comes to muscle of any kind, there’s a clear difference between being lean and being completely yoked up. So, at first blush, the answer is no. In their base trims, certainly not. But even in their higher-performance GXP/Redline variants, the Solstice and Sky are unquestionably capable sports cars, but not truly muscle cars. Debatably, the turbo cars might have a chance at being “muscle roadsters,” if there were such a term, but even then, they would be on the cusp.

However, the monster-motor Mallett versions would absolutely qualify as modern muscle cars by anyone’s definition. Ridiculously powered V-8 engines in a small, capable chassis, capable of laying down patches of rubber thirty feet long and chirping their tires in third gear? Yes, that sounds a lot like a muscle car to us.