Keep it simple, pure, and beautiful and it will be easy to love". These were the basic inspirations set down by Bob Lutz, GM's chairman of North American Operations, in creating a 'sketch-off' for the first concept vehicle commissioned by GM's new product chief. The call went out at the end of September and by mid-October, the Pontiac Solstice roadster was under development. The program was executed in just under four months from the first sketch, to the drivable vehicle. The thesis is an affordable roadster that would sell for about $20,000, which would be very easy to build in a flexible manufacturing environment. This was accomplished using existing componentry from the GM system. The exterior is finished in a rich gunmetal gray color, giving the nod to a slight European understatement in the approach. Imposing 19-inch front and 20-inch rear performance tires and wheels fill the wheel openings to provide a strong and powerful stance that accentuates the curves of the body. The interior is wrapped in saddle-brown Fragola leather surfaces with exterior color and titanium accents on the console and dashboard. The interior is intimate and clean with attention to detail of execution with the avoidance of any unnecessary accents or controls. The driver-oriented cockpit uses a two-gauge cluster with tachometer and speedometer. Other critical driver information is displayed on a small LCD screen to the right of the main cluster. The soul of any worthy roadster is the powertrain. The Solstice is powered by a rear-wheel-drive 2.2-liter DOHC supercharged EcoTec four-cylinder engine generating up to 240 horsepower with premium fuel. The Supercharger is an off-the-shelf unit supplied right out of the GM Service Parts performance catalog. The engine is mated to a Borg-Warner performance six-speed manual transmission, the same one used in the Corvette. The front end uses a simple and reliable strut configuration with a rack-and-pinion steering system derived from the Subaru WRX, one of GM's alliance partners. The all-aluminium independent rear suspension is derived from GMs mid-size crossover SUV family and also doubles as the mount for the rear differential, which was derived from the new GM mid-size SUVs. Unique fabricated drive-shafts power the rear wheels.
Company press release, last updated before 12 / 01 / 2004