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"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." is a quote most often attributed to Mark Twain. In our case, I hope that production numbers for this new little Pontiac take a similar path to what happened just over 40 years ago....

Back then, there was a fellow at GM, John DeLorean, who took a Pontiac Tempest (a small midsized car) put a 389 V8 with a Carter AFB 4 BBL carb, dual exhaust, and a Hurst shifter in it as a test car which he drove and let others drive. It was introduced as a $325 GTO option for the Tempest/LeMans in 1964.
From PONTIAC GTO - A History of The Original Muscle Car:
"Initial sales projections called for only 5,000 units; however, the GTO was an immense hit with the public. The 1964 model run produced a total of 32,450 units."
The following years saw even greater sales. In 1965, they sold 75,352 units [gmfleet.com]. For 1966, the sales were even stronger:
From PONTIAC GTO - A History of The Original Muscle Car:
"Several strong competitors had joined the GTO by 1966, but that didn't stop GTO sales from reaching nearly 100,000. The final tally was an astonishing 96,946 units - pretty impressive for a car that insiders doubted would sell 5,000 two years earlier."
So, GM has responded to market demand in the past, and as others on this forum have said, the Kappa, with its use of high initial investment hydroforming for frame and body components, offers substantial per unit cost savings which become even more attractive at increased production volumes.

Will history rhyme with the Pontiac Solstice... some 40 years later? I've got my fingers crossed.

Pontiac seems to have gotten off on the right foot:
  1. The marketing campaign that they have will certainly help them gauge customer interest levels, and gain solid sales leads.
  2. The first-come-first-served Early Order Program for the 1st 1000 is encouraging because of its egalitarian approach.
  3. The magic of the '64 GTO was that it was reasonably priced: the Solstice is likewise reasonably priced.
  4. The '64 GTO was born from the enthusiasts and later models could be ordered with racing oriented options: GM has indicated they will provide some factory performance upgrade parts for the Solstice (Might they become factory installed options on future model year vehicles? Time will tell.).
Lets hope GM lets Pontiac chart this new course.
 

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there was a huge market for that type of car back then. right now, there arent that many people that want a roadster.... it wont happen.
 

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Mark Twain also said, "I have reached the age when all the things I remember most clearly never really happened." :lol:

I wouldn't classify the Solstice introduction with the transformation of the mild mannered Tempest into the fire breathing GTO. It is more like the original intro in 1953 of the 'vette, not only in size and relative performance (relative to rest of corporate lineup), but also in price. It does relate most in my mind now with the intro of the Firebird/Camaro. GM was late to that party, having been trounced by both the Mustang, and the Barracuda, which beat the Mustang to market by two weeks. GM is late to this party as well as until now in NA GM has recently had nothing to directly compete with Miata, MR2, S2K.

Initial production estimates for the Mustang were 20,000 per year (like the Kappa) but by the end of the first year they had produced over 100,000. Would it be great to see that with the Sol? No, not quite that much then the exclusivity is gone and besides we only have one engine and one body style to start, not 3 and 3.

Today the closest thing to a true back to the roots GTO are the GTP, Comp G, GXP versions of the G6 and Grand Prix. As far as relative size the G6 would have been the prime candidate as it fills the mid-size slot of the Tempest. Also as it will eventually be here with top down version. Simple engineering, or at least doable, change to RWD underpinning the G6 body with upgrade option from 3900 V6 to the Northstar V8 and you've got "The Judge". If Jay Leno can put Corvette driveline under a 700hp '66 Toronado, well... (new issue R&T).
 

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achieftain said:
Mark Twain also said, "I have reached the age when all the things I remember most clearly never really happened." :lol:
...
Achieftain, you quote Mark Twain a lot. Were you guys good friends or something :glol: :lol: :)
 

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solsticeman said:
Achieftain, you quote Mark Twain a lot. Were you guys good friends or something :glol: :lol: :)
Some mornings I feel like his father. :brentil:
 

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We thought that the different type of manufacturing used on the kappa platform will limit things from going too crazy on volume. Didn't think it could be produced in very large quantities.
 

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You reminded me - another tidbit from the SAE download - there's a whole bunch of mig welding on the Solstice - and "much of it by hand," according to the chief engineer that presented.
 

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Well, I've said before that the Kappa story has way too many eerie coincidences with the Fiero. We all know how that ended up...

But let's see, a small two-seater 4 cylinder car on a budget with new manufacturing techniques that borrows from the parts-bins to shave costs... Heck the media has already used the word "fiero" when comparing it to previous GM experiments.

Now the Kappa has a few things going for it that the Fiero didn't have(traditional drivetrain layout, World Class suspension, Lutz protagonist, etc.), but on the other hand the Fiero had a few things going for it that the Kappa doesn't have (trunk space, v6 in one year, auto trans option, etc.).
 

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Great point! They do have a lot of similarities. However, I see one main difference between them. The attention they have gotten from the top levels of the company. The Solstice has been handled, thanks to Lutz, as a top project. They still had to do it on a budget, but there was a lot of emphasis to make sure it was done right. The Fiero was often shunned by top management, and engineering had to cut a lot of corners due to lack of monetary support. I don't see those corners cut in this car, as evidenced by things such as its suspension.

However, in the end, its quality and reliability will determine whether its just "another Fiero" or whether GM is finally forgiven for the Fiero. The Fiero was nearly a hit, when quality issues derailed the whole car.
 
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