This Forgotten Turbo Manual Convertible Sports Car Is an American-Made Bargain
Who doesn’t love a turbo convertible sports car? Sure, there’s an argument to be made about naturally aspirated engines being ideal power delivery. You can’t argue with the fun noises a turbo car makes. Typically, though, convertible sports cars cost quite a bit. Adding a turbocharger and a manual transmission makes a tough niche to fit in with a tight budget. There is one often-overlooked option, though!
The Pontiac Solstice GXP is woefully underappreciated
Automotive journalism icon Doug DeMuro once described the Pontiac Solstice as a “better Miata.” That’s a bold statement, but it’s woefully appropriate, then, that I stumbled on this 2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP on DeMuro’s auction website, Cars and Bids.
You’re likely familiar with the Pontiac Solstice and its Saturn counterpart, the Sky. However, many folks are unaware of the performance variants. The GXP and Redline, respectively. Both take the awesome Roadster platform and add a little boost. From the factory, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder put out 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Combine that power with a manual transmission and a well-balanced rear-wheel drive chassis, and it’s hard to imagine something more fun for the money!
This particular Solstice GXP has a bit more power than that, though. It has a custom tune, short-throw shifter, and additional chassis bracing to give it a little power boost and a substantial corner improvement. There’s no stated power output, but you can guarantee it’s a good time!
How much does one of these killer convertible sports car models cost?
This particular example sold for only $13,300 with only 31,400 miles on the odometer. For that price point, finding another manual convertible sports car with a turbocharged engine and this level of performance is a super tough task. With a zero to 60 MPH sprint in 5.5 seconds and a myriad of aftermarket parts to boot, it’s a phenomenally fun platform.
A quick search throughout the history of Cars and Bids sales shows both the Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line consistently sell for around $15,000 or less. Interestingly, many of them seem to have well below 100,000 miles. In fact, a healthy dose of them has less than 50,000 miles on the odometer.
Overall, the Pontiac Solstice GXP and its accompanying Saturn Sky Red Line is a woefully slept-on convertible sports car with a turbo engine and over 100 more horsepower than a Miata of the equivalent year. It even makes more power than an S2000 for far less money. If you’re looking for a fun weekend roadster with plenty of power, don’t sleep on these cars!