2006 Pontiac Solstice

     I'm not the kind of person who buys new cars. So, when I purchased this car, it was a first for me. A friend of mine and I had both been eyeing this car in the news. It wasn't released yet, but there were spy photos. We both happened to catch a glimpse of this car on the show "The Apprentice". When I saw the car there, I instantly knew that I HAD to have that car. I needed new transportation anyway because my Crown Victoria was sucking down gas like cool-aide, and my daily driver (1997 Pontiac Grand Am GT) continued to have problems. I ordered the car in May of 2005, and didn't actually receive the car until December of 2005. Overall, I've been very happy with the car. It took some time for the car to be properly broken in, but once that happened, the car performed beautifully. I typicaly get around 23mpg average, but often get 30-31mpg on highway trips.

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I ordered the car with the following options:

                      - 3.52:1 Limited Slip Axle (Limited Slip Differential)
- Air Conditioning
- Power Package (PW Mirrors, Locks, Windows)
- OE MP3 / CD Player (Plays WMAs and MP3s)
- Anti-Lock Brakes
- "Sly" Color w/ Standard Wheels

- Picked up my new Solstice

Definitely a very exciting day for me. I just picked up my 2006 Pontiac Solstice. It's everything I had hoped it would be and more. It's not insane on power, but still moves out of it's own way. We'll have to see what kind of upgrades they offer in the upcoming months. My buddy Tom took these pictures while I was finishing paperwork.

- Installed some upgrades!!!

There are dozens of performance upgrades offered for this vehicle, and it hasn't even been a year yet! Although I could order a turbo kit, I have to keep reminding myself that I bought my Solstice for both style and fuel economy. I have an Oldsmobile 455 big block in the machine shop just waiting to be assembled. That said however, I can produce more power and still improve my fuel econony AND emissions by going with parts that help it flow better. I've intalled a hi-flow shorty exhaust header from Clear Image Performance, and the GM Performance Parts Cold-Air Intake. I'm realy pleased with the shorty header. The performance increase was far more than I expected. Before, I was running mid-15s. It's a completely different car now. The pull from idle all the way to the upper rpms is significantly improved. I've noticed nearly a 2mpg improvement in fuel economy as well. The engine harmonics are better too..

- New high-flow catalytic converter

Another great product from Clear Image Performance, their hi-flow catalytic converter. The stock Solstice catalytic converter only flows 350cfm, while the CI converter flows upwards of 500cfm. The improvement is drastic. There is a very slight, almost unnoticable drop in torque RIGHT off idle, but that's quickly gone by the time you reach ~15mph. Once you hit about 3,000 rpms though, the engine pulls extremely hard all the way to redline. I don't have any hard numbers on this upgrade, but I would easily say it gave about 50% of the same power increase I saw from the shorty header when I installed it. Whatever that number might be, I'm very impressed with the way this car handles upgrades. It's really quite a leathal vehicle now.

- Fixed the leaking exhaust, and some other issues...

Before I say anything, I'd like to mention how awesome the Clear Image Hi-Flow cat and shorty header are. It's made the difference between the Solstice being almost undrivable (as far as I'm concerned) to a high 14 second quarter mile barn burner. Because of issues unaware to them at the time, the heat that comes off this (very efficient) motor is pretty extreme. To make a long story short, I went through 2 stock header to cat gaskets, three solid aluminum gaskets, and one copper gasket. These problems REALLY were due to the fact that whatever combination of nuts or bolts keeping them together, would constantly back out. Thus causing a leak which further opened the exhuast more causing the gaskets to leak. I solved this by calling ARP and ordering a set of 3/8ths 12-point hardened, stainless steel bolts. Whats special about these bolts is that the heads are drilled. Bolts like these are typically used on race cars, and the holes in the bolt-heads are used for safety wire. So, I also ordered a 1lb can of safety wire from Summit Racing. (stainless steel). It solved the problem (so far). The bolts will no longer be able to back out. I'll take pictures of the entire setup later, but it's too dark outside. Instead, here are pictures of the left-over bolts and the can of safety wire. (I ordered 6 bolts just in case).

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