DETROIT -- General Motors will offer a removable hardtop on the Pontiac Solstice roadster in the first quarter of 2007, supplier and GM sources say.
The variant is part of GM's attempt to race the Solstice in Sports Car Club of America events. To race there, an automaker must have a production version of a hardtop vehicle.
During a panel discussion at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last month, Mark Reuss, executive director of GM's Performance Division, showed a picture of a car labeled the 2007 Solstice GT. The photo showed the car in coupe form with a sloping, fixed roof.
Pontiac spokesman Jim Hopson says the vehicle is still under study. "We're not ruling out a lot of possibilities," Hopson says. "We're going to explore some of those."
GM insiders say Pontiac would like to add a hardtop to its lineup to stoke enthusiasm for what already appears to be a popular vehicle.
As of Monday, May 16, Pontiac had 8,177 orders for the Solstice, GM says. Pontiac says it will start building the vehicle this summer.
Reuss said he envisions a hardtop Solstice competing for the title in the Stock B-class competition against the Mazda Miata or in the Grand-Am Cup ST-class racing circuit against the BMW 330 and Mazda RX-8.
The Solstice is built at GM's Wilmington, Del., plant on the Kappa rear-wheel-drive architecture.
Late next year GM will start building an Opel version of the Solstice in Wilmington. The Opel vehicle will be exported to Europe and will not be sold in the United States.
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