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Why is GM challenging Austrailians to make hot rods? Aren't we sort of the country known for stuffing big engines in small chassis? I know what he ment, but it just seems that Holden is becoming their hot rod devision, ie. putting lots of power into sedans. I still don't get why the GTO is made there and not here, and why they're the ones being encouraged to go for a V6 Kappa, when the word here is 4 banger and maybe if your nice a mild superchager.

Don't get me wrong, I still wish to see a supercharged version of the Solstice rather than a V6, but if it is to be blown, then something beefy and not wimpy like the Redline, and if you can't handle that, then the V6. I guess I'm just puzzeled as to why Pontiac is slated for watered down and Holden gets the thumbs up for more power from the get go. I know, I know, we have no real idea what is in store for a HO Solstice, and Solstice is supposed to be a simple low cost Miata fighter, but I just don't get why Solstice doesn't get the thumbs up from the beginning for a higher cost, tougher version, like Holden does? :confused
 

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I think part of it is that there's a really good engineering team in Aust that's been doing proven work over and over again. And the GTO wasn't a GTO in Australia prior to it becoming the GTO. It was another platform they had designed their for another car if I remember correctly. I think a lot of it also has to do with why we so many more higher performance cars come out of there and Europe too. They have far less restrictive emmisions requirments there. In the UK you can buy an Lancer Evolution FQ-400, with 400HP and 400ft-lp, where with the same car the best we can get is 276hp with 300ft-lb. All because we have to meet far more restrictive crash and emissions tests.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guys, Guys, (and Gals too!):

It's only a concept car. I'm sure the Holden guys got going on a Kappa because of the perceived success of the Solstice and its variations.

In the vein of Spinal Tap, (this one goes to eleven!!), how do you improve on something that has already seen an enthusiastic following?

Put a bigger motor in it.

I'm willing to bet there's nothing in common with a true Kappa other than maybe a hydroformed rail or panel somewhere. I'm even willing to bet that the Aussie Kappa has about as much in common with the Solstice as the Solstice does with the Corvette C6. It's got wheels, maybe an SLA front and rear suspension, lower dominant structure, and they are calling it "THEIR" kappa.

IF this goes anywhere, it will be known as either a variation of a Kappa (Kappa Stretch? Kappa LWB? Kappa 6?), or it will be called the next available greek letter as an evolution off the Kappa.

As for the "really good engineering team" down under.... well... I've had some stories relayed to me that I probably cannot share.

Suffice to say, they have a perception of being a lean and capable engineering team. But, they take risks, probably more than we do here (their legal system is not as "litigious"). And running as lean as they do means a lot more work done as a "seat of the pants" with less reliance on physics and math and more reliance on long-term development experience. Oh well. Enough said - I'll not go much further, lest I ignite some debate.

Mr Lutz agreed the concept could form the basis for a new medium rearwheel
drive architecture that Holden would develop for the GM world, along the
same lines as the Zeta large and long wheelbase architecture.
“Of course it could,” he said. “Almost anything Holden does has potential
international applicability because they work it that way.
“And yes, if that thing really touches a nerve at the Sydney show and gets a
lot of international attention, and we get a lot of people saying ‘oh why don’t you
do that’, then we’ll take a look at it.
Means this Aussie Kappa is a testing vehicle. If it's universally and overwhelmingly accepted (as I'm sure the Holden folks are thinking) then we might see it pushed into production. Make no mistake, this would have to be a new, ground up vehicle, not just a "tweak" of the Solstice/SatKap.
 

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solsticeman said:
I'm willing to bet there's nothing in common with a true Kappa other than maybe a hydroformed rail or panel somewhere. I'm even willing to bet that the Aussie Kappa has about as much in common with the Solstice as the Solstice does with the Corvette C6. It's got wheels, maybe an SLA front and rear suspension, lower dominant structure, and they are calling it "THEIR" kappa.

IF this goes anywhere, it will be known as either a variation of a Kappa (Kappa Stretch? Kappa LWB? Kappa 6?), or it will be called the next available greek letter as an evolution off the Kappa.
I guess I'm confused. The artical said:
The concept will sit on GM’s low-volume rear-wheel drive Kappa architecture,
which has so far yielded one production model, the Pontiac Solstice.
This in itself is a signifi cant advertisement for Holden’s engineering skill
because up until this point Kappa had only been used for left-hand drive fourcylinder
vehicles such as the Pontiac Solstice roadster.
and so I thought that to mean that Holden was designing something for the Aussie home market and international market that would be built on the Kappa chassis in DE. It doesn't seem to make sense for them to set up production of limited amounts of Kappas in their country when there is plenty of capacity here. Maybe the labor's cheaper there I don't know. Anyhow I thought the artical came to the same conclusion when it said:
Even if it ran an engineering program for a production
version of the concept, Holden would almost
certainly not build such a car itself because it has its
hands full preparing the Elizabeth assembly plant for
the arrival of the Zeta-based VE Commodore in 2006.
Currently, all Kappa-based production comes out of
GM’s Wilmington, Delaware, plant.
. Given this, I would think that their concept would have lots in common with the Solstice Kappa. Maybe they'll stretch it a little, and make room for a V6, but essentialy I would expect a Kappa just like everybody else. I could be totaly wrong though, cuz I'm no GM insider that's for sure. Like I said I'm confused about this Holden Kappa. Are there any pictures of it yet?
 

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I'm willing to bet there's nothing in common with a true Kappa other than maybe a hydroformed rail or panel somewhere. I'm even willing to bet that the Aussie Kappa has about as much in common with the Solstice as the Solstice does with the Corvette C6. It's got wheels, maybe an SLA front and rear suspension, lower dominant structure, and they are calling it "THEIR" kappa.

ahhh, but that wont stop us from comparing it to a Fiero, now will it? :jester
 

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Discussion Starter #8
AeroDave,

It is absolutely no small feat to change a vehicle not intended for RHD to such. Packaging is one of the main challenges for the Solstice, and probably one of the major reasons you haven't heard of a Right Hooker (as the British call it) version of a Kappa.

To
-Squeeze in a TT V6
-Transform it to a RHD
-Stretch the wheelbase
-Add two seats

is such a big change that it's practically a new platform. Or the width of the car becomes monstrous. Example: If you drive the rails outboard (for fitting a V6), either the tires move outboard or you have to re-design the control arms. The load path for the spring and shock forces move too, and tunnel structure and underpan require re-design.

A change like that touches 99% of every part of the structure. Since it is styled different and doesn't even share an engine, it's practically a different platform, with maybe a few token shared components (like a gage cluster, or HVAC vents).
 

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solsticeman said:
AeroDave,

It is absolutely no small feat to change a vehicle not intended for RHD to such. Packaging is one of the main challenges for the Solstice, and probably one of the major reasons you haven't heard of a Right Hooker (as the British call it) version of a Kappa.

To
-Squeeze in a TT V6
-Transform it to a RHD
-Stretch the wheelbase
-Add two seats

is such a big change that it's practically a new platform.
Until we actualy see a production Kappa nobody knows for sure, but I would guess that GM planned for possibilities like RHD, 2+2 and V6's from the start with this platform. Wasn't the Lightning a RHD concept? Didn't the Nomad have a back seat? and V6's seem to pop up in unlikely places when it's needed. When I saw the first Fiero, I couldn't see where they were going to put a V6, but somehow it went in. V6's really aren't that much bigger than a I4, particularly if the four banger is boosted, but I agree that, if the Kappa chassis is built so that a I4 is a snug fit, then they have thier work cut out.

I guess people are putting V8's in Miatas, not that that makes a great Miata (it probably doesn't), but it shows what hot rodders have know all along, you can stick a bigger motor in anything if you really want to without changing the entire platform. I do get your point that to do a V6 conversion right requires more engineering than just new motor mounts, but I would hazard to guess that GM has already thought ahead to the V6 option for the Kappa, and laid the ground work.

It seems unlikely that GM would launch a platform that has limited production capability and ridgid design constraints. Seems way to confining for designers and marketing people to have the Kappa only be a low volume, two seat, four cylinder, LHD car, with changing any of that like starting over. They know that to even have a hope of getting close to making Kappa profitable will require flexibility.

They can only sell so many two seaters, so I would think back seats are a given. Upscale buyers of Audis, Crossfires, Z4s, and Boxsters are going to say "The Ecotec is nice, but show me the beef.", and I think GM wants to get to these people. Converting LHD to RHD is something GM has been doing for decades because the world wide RHD market is worth considering. For these reasons I am guessing (and it is just my guess), that GM has all along planned for these Kappa variants.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm pickin up what yer layin down, but consider this:

The Miata has no variants, no hatches, and only is produced with an I-4. They just now (after nearly a decade) have a TC. It is considered to be (and by volume alone, IS) the most successful 2-seat convertible in history.

Mazda has NEVER implied they would bring on a V6 or even a 2+2 version of the Miata. That is NOT it's purpose.

The Solstice, since it was shown back in 2002, has been, and I quote, a:

LUTZ said:
...back to basics roadster...
The Nomad, curve, lightning, were all concepts based on the kappa architecture. They were of limited capability, and built for show over functionality. They only have a bit more relationship to the Solstice as the original concept actually did to the "Delta" platform it was supposedly based upon.

"Planned for possibilities..." I doubt they actually built in the capability to stretch-armstrong the platform to accept any configuration. "Thought about possibilities..." is more like it. I'm sure there were many at the Gen. who wanted to plan for I6 or V6, but believe me, optimizing an architecture to take I4 and V6 will inherently SUB-optimize one or the other version.

The fiero, yes, did have a V6. Thermal issues were part of the consideration for the 2.8l. It's also a pretty tight fit. And the darn thing weighed a BUNCH. Sub-optimization is part of the game of interchangability.

It's just the Aussies trying to either "1-upsmanship the yankees", or cash in on the notoriety and excitement of the Kappa platform.

Or, the Solstice is severely sub-optimized. If the weight comes in more than 2860 lbs, then that's the price they paid to plan for V6. Or they hid the tradeoff in loss of structure.

I'd rather hope they did not sacrifice either weight or structure, and just plan for the Solstice around a single, known, I-4 engine architecture.
 

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I agree with solsticeman completely with this last statement. I'd personally rather have a chasis built solidly around a single engine platform and have it be rock solid, then having the option of a V6/i6 but with structural tradeoffs or increased weight. I already feel the Solstice is a little heavier then I'd want a small i4 roadster to be. Personally the idea of a 6-cylinder doens't do much for me, unless you're talking Porsche levels of power without any type of forced induction. Unless you're pushing 300+ HP out of the engine, I'd rather get an i4 and force induction it to 300 HP.
 

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solsticeman said:
Or, the Solstice is severely sub-optimized. If the weight comes in more than 2860 lbs, then that's the price they paid to plan for V6. Or they hid the tradeoff in loss of structure.

I'd rather hope they did not sacrifice either weight or structure, and just plan for the Solstice around a single, known, I-4 engine architecture.
Maybe this is why the Solstice weighs as much as 2860, the Kappa platform is V6 ready. I don't know, I'm not suggesting that I wish the Solstice to be anything other than what Bob promised, I too don't care about a V6, but it would seem foolish for GM to invest in this platform and put it up in the Wilmington plant, only to sell on a good year maybe about 50k units between all the divisions. How many 2 seat, 4 cylinder sportscars can a company sell? It makes good business sense for them to plan for variations.

I get your argument about optimization, and totally agree that as a sportscar the platform should be planned for one size and one powerplant for optimum performance, but I doubt GM is really going this route. All kinds of cars and platforms offer multiple powerplants, and they get by ok. I doubt that GM is going to change thier thinking that much after all these years. They know that lots of people will go into the dealerships and look at the new Saturn/Buick import fighting roadster and say "OK, this is great! What's the bigger engine?" They better have an answer or over to VW, BMW, Audi they go.

Same thing with the seating arrangement. If buyers go into the Chevy dealership and they love the Nomad, but ask "Is there one with a back seat?" Many are going to scoot over to the Mini dealer. Similar story with the RHD. If GM says Kappa is LHD only, then they are in effect saying "Screw all of the British Commonwealth countries and pretty much all of Asia!" Lot of potential sales there, especialy the emurging markets in Asia.

If the Kappa platform was to be built in a plant where they share space with another platform, and GM didn't have big plans for it, like it seems they do with the showing of the Nomad, Lighting and Curve concepts, then I might believe they intend to keep the Kappa a little Miata like platform with a single purpose. I agree that the Solstice was intended to be a simple little roadster without grand aspirations, and it may end up that that's all it will be, but I believe the Kappa platform that it is derived from has loftier goals. Only time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
AeroDave said:
Maybe this is why the Solstice weighs as much as 2860, the Kappa platform is V6 ready....
AD,

We've been through this before. The Solstice weighs this much because that's the SIZE of the car. It's bigger than a Miata, close to the dimensions of a Z4, similar in proportions to the Honda S2000. Ergo, it weighs as much as those cars (give or take 75 lbs).

As a matter of fact, the Z4 actually weighs about 90 lbs more than it really should, given it's size (track and wheelbase).

Wait a minute! OH MY GOSH! They built their car around an Inline 6 BUT they also offer a I4.

There you go - nobody gets nuthin for free. :smile
 

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I don’t see where having a V6 in the Kappa platform is necessarily trading off any structural integrity, or would be at all detrimental to the platform or whatever variant it goes in. As long as it fits in the engine bay, then why not put one in at some point? A V6 will be shorter than an I4. Sure it will be a little wider, but as long as it fits within the engine bay without changes, its not going to do much. It may or may not weigh considerably more than the 4 banger either. But even if it does, its not going to be hundreds of pounds heavier, and some tweeks to the suspension tuning should take care of any extra weight. Plus the shorter engine will put the weight closer to the middle of the car than an I-4 would, thereby distributing it better.

Its actually amazing what engines can fit in engine bays. Take the Ford Focus. I believe Ford themselves built a one-off Focus that had a 4.6L V8 mod motor under the hood, and it fit without structural changes to the car. They did convert the Focus to RWD for project, and the car went like stink!

The Fiero is also a good comparison. The V6 engine is not that tight of a fit. Width-wise (The cars width, as the engine is a mounted as a fwd motor would be) it fits fairly well. There is no less of a shortage of room on the accessories end of the motor as there is on the I4 Fieros. The front plugs are difficult to get to, but because of the slope of the firewall there is plenty of room in front of the engine, except at the vary top. Plenty of room behind it too. Now if you want a tight fit, find a Fiero with a Northstar V8 conversion. That is a big motor with a big auto trans, but it also fits in the engine bay. Its snug, but passable.

Plus I’d rather have more engine than a boosted 4 banger. Nothing against turbos and superchargers, but I prefer the linear and immediate delivery that a higher displacement N/A motor provides over smaller, boosted engines.


On a side note, someone was wondering above why GM builds the GTO in Australia. The GTO is basically a re-badged Holden Monaro. Except for the fascias, badging, and relocation of the gas tank the GTO is the same car as the Aussie market Monaro coupe that is based on a 10 year old Opel/Holden platform. The Monaro factory is in Australia, and also had extra capacity. So GM decided since it had a 2 door RWD coupe already designed and proven, and some extra capacity at its plant, and a need for such a coupe in the North American market, that it would simply build some, badge them as GTO’s and send them over. For GM, it meant a new car to the American market with very little investment to give them some time to design a new one. The new one will also be built on a primarily Holden designed platform, but it will be made at a US factory. The current GTO is only a stop-gap.
 

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solsticeman said:
As a matter of fact, the Z4 actually weighs about 90 lbs more than it really should, given it's size (track and wheelbase).

Wait a minute! OH MY GOSH! They built their car around an Inline 6 BUT they also offer a I4.

There you go - nobody gets nuthin for free. :smile
I just have a suspicion that the Kappa platform is designed to be V6 capable, and that the Solstice is being released as a 4 to keep costs down. I'm not really saying that the Solstice will someday be offered with a six, just that the platfrom can take a six, and someday some division will use it that way. I also think RHD and a 2+2 is a strong possibility. :cheers
 

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Well if it was planned for there to be a Cady Kappa from the beginning then more then likely it would be designed to house a V6/i6. Because really, how many i4 Cadys are there available right now? Zero. The smallest engine in a Cady available right now is the 255 HP 3.6L V6 VVT.
 

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I really don't know if there was on secretely planned or not, that's why I said IF since I was being hypothetical. Because who really knows.
 

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brentil said:
Well if it was planned for there to be a Cady Kappa from the beginning then more then likely it would be designed to house a V6/i6. Because really, how many i4 Cadys are there available right now? Zero. The smallest engine in a Cady available right now is the 255 HP 3.6L V6 VVT.
Yeah, if GM plans to go upscale with a Kappa in either Cadillac, Buick or Saturn, they will need a bigger engine. I'm sure given Mr. Lutz's desire to compete with imports, they have forseen this need. Wanting to keep program costs down, seems unlikely they will start up a new 2 seat platform to fit between Kappa and Corvette/XLR. More likely Kappa is V6 ready. For everyone who says "I'd rather have a boosted 4." Think of the possibilities of a boosted 6! Anyhow there would be handling issues, but I still think they may have that under control.
 

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So far GM appears as if they want to keep Cadillac platforms seperate from the rest of GM, dedicating the Sigma platform to Caddy, and spreading the rest of their platforms around the rest of their divisions. Its certainly an attempt to give Caddy an "exlcusive" image. Maybe thats a good indication they will not try to tart up a kappa vehicle to meet Caddy standards,

However, a Cadillac roadster based on Kappa using the 3.6L 255HP motor sure is intriguing!
 
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