: What the ..., this can't be right

10-28-06, 12:33 AM
Ok, so Hot Rod magazine has stuffed an LS7 in a Solstice and made a beast of a machine. The full article is below and well worth the read. But there is one part you have got to see, so I conveniently bolded it for you. I'm speechless.

HOT ROD LS7 Pontiac Solstice - American BadAss

We knew it would be fast. We promised you, dear readers, that it would be fast. And ya know what? It's fast. Damn fast.

The HOT ROD Solstice was borne out of the hot-rodding tradition of the engine swap. Stick the biggest, nastiest engine you can in the smallest, lightest car, and go destroy everything else on the street. The combo plate with the new Pontiac Solstice and the unbelievable 505hp, 427ci small-block LS7 from the Corvette Z06 was just too tasty a meal to pass on, so HOT ROD conspired with GM Performance Division to figure out how to cook it. We showed you most of the build details in the last two issues of the magazine, but it all boils down to this month, when we put it on the ground, cinch the harnesses, mash the throttle, and give it the torture test.

We tested the LS7 crate motor in the Feb. '06 issue, and it made 519 SAE-rated horsepower out of the box. With 1 3/4-inch headers and the GM Hot cam, it cranked out 600 hp at 6,800 rpm and 526 lb-ft from 4,800 to 5,200. As installed in the HOT ROD Solstice, with tri-Y headers and full exhaust tucked under the car, it makes 585 hp and 540 lb-ft.When the car was nothing more than an idea, we bench-raced a few goals that would be difficult, but not impossible, to meet. We wanted it to run 10s. It should pull more than 1 g on the skidpad without resorting to slicks. It should go through the testing-standard 600-foot slalom faster than any production car. And it should out-stop everything short of an IndyCar. The HOT ROD Solstice delivered, and how. But first let's recap what this car is.

The Solstice competes in the marketplace primarily with the Mazda Miata, and it does so very well. The stock engine is an Ecotec four-cylinder, and the chassis is set up to be sports-car tight but still comfortable for the average consumer. Those with a need for more speed can opt for the GXP Solstice that for '07 adds a turbo and stiffer suspension. And if you're looking to go road racing or autocrossing, the Club Sport Z0K option is nearly track-ready and currently available. An LS7 is, of course, not an option, but that didn't stop us.

Working closely with GM Performance Division, we stripped a base Solstice down to a bare chassis and took measurements to determine what was necessary to stuff a Gen IV small-block into the car. It was surprisingly easy to make everything fit, but we went to extra lengths to make sure this car was as perfectly balanced and engineered as it could be. We're a long way from the days of slapped-together V-8 Vegas, and especially since GM was involved, this car had to be done right. The GM engineers used sophisticated math data to determine many things, such as how to build the exhaust to allow maximum ground clearance and how to set up the suspension for optimum handling with the altered weight-distribution the finished car would have. The entire project involved much more than just shoehorning in a small-block and calling it a day. The end result is a very well engineered car that works as designed and has few, if any, compromises.

A 15-gallon ATL fuel cell replaces the stock tank, and it ate up all the luggage room, so we finished it with a nice aluminum panel. Look closely and you can see the lightening holes drilled in the hatch hinges.The engine is a stock LS7 (which you can order as a crate engine from GM Performance Parts), but we added a GM Hot cam, a set of tri-Y headers, and a complete exhaust system with Burns mufflers. The final dyno numbers were 585 hp and 540 lb-ft of torque. Backing it is a T56 six-speed from the Chevy SSR pickup, and the rear differential is the stock Getrag independent centersection with Cadillac STS-V 3.23:1 gears and a Corvette Z06 clutch pack.

The suspension hangs on essentially stock Solstice components but uses top-of-the-line parts, such as Ohlins coilover shocks and big Brembo brakes. The suspension calibration is another area where GM's engineering expertise shined through, as the car was good right out of the box and needed only fine-tuning when it hit the test track. A stock Solstice weighs just under 3,000 pounds, and the drivetrain swap added about 700 pounds to our car's girth, so a lot of thought went into a weight-loss program. The Jenny Craig solution was many carbon-fiber body panels, plenty of lightening holes drilled where there were no structural issues, and the removal of anything that was deemed not absolutely necessary. The stereo still works though! The final, ready-to-run weight came in at a shocking 2,880 pounds split 52/48 front to rear.

The rollcage was designed for maximum interior space, so the bars all have compound curves in them. Most of the interior panels were also custom-made (some in plastic and some in carbon fiber) to look stock but fit with the cage.After some shakedown time at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix with GM Performance Division's Mark Stielow, the Solstice was ready to be instrumented and documented. Firebird allowed us to do all the testing in one place, as it provided a quarter-mile dragstrip with lots of runoff room, a skidpad, and an area to set up a 600-foot slalom and a 60-0 braking test. All of the test data were collected with a highly accurate V-Box, which uses GPS data to precisely log time, speed, and distance.

The skidpad was the first test. Any production car that generates more than .90 g on a 600-foot skidpad is considered a very well-handling car. Numbers higher than 1 full g are reserved for big-money exotics, purpose-built cars, and full-tilt race cars. Motor Trend's comparison test of an '06 Z06 Corvette and an '05 Porsche 911 Carrera S delivered .95 g for both cars. On Michelin PS II treaded tires, the HOT ROD Solstice generated 1.05 g.

"The Solstice felt very neutral and controllable on the skidpad, and it was easy to get it into a slight tail-out attitude for the best max lat numbers," Stielow said.

After the skidpad, we tested the braking. We knew those big Brembos in the sub-3,000-pound car would halt it in a hurry, and man did they ever. Entry into the supercar 60-0-mph braking club is usually earned at 110 feet, but the Solstice kicked that number's butt with a 60-0 distance of a mere 95.62 feet. Without the seatbelts, it would literally throw you through the windshield.

10-28-06, 12:35 AM
And I believe that is a misprint and it should be CTS-V. The following was from an article when they were first beginning the project:

Top Three HOT ROD V-8 Solstice Performance Tips

1. Swap the Solstice rear differential for one out of the Cadillac CTS-V, which has stronger gears (the cases are identical). The power needs to go somewhere--make sure it gets to the tires!

2. Install a fire extinguisher somewhere in the car. With all that heat under the hood, you'll need something to cool you off.

3. Figure out a way to hang on! A V-8 in one of these rides is going to make it fly, so make sure you've got good driver safety equipment (racing seatbelts and seats, rollbar, and so on).