For a brief time during the last decade, General Motors had built a lightweight, compact and rear wheel drive performance platform that were nimble enough for the corners, yet, had an engine bay large enough to swallow an LS mill. Dubbed the Kappa platform, Pontiac, Saturn, Opel and even Daewoo, each had their own version of the two-seat, RWD roadster.
Using a unique platform and body shell, many components from the GM parts bin equipped ended up in the Kappa performance cars, including a CTS rearend and a 5-speed gearbox borrowed from the Colorado. Various trim piece from other Pontiac and Saturn models ended up in their respective Kappa models as well.
Equipped with a naturally-aspirated 2.4L LE5 four cylinder, with the option to upgrade to a 260 hp turbocharged 2.0L LNF. However, many of our friends in the tuner community couldn’t leave them well enough alone, and we saw the birth of the Mallett-tuned Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice.
Make no mistake, there is plenty of potential in the 2.4L and 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engines, but Mr. Chuck Mallett always had deep-seeded love for the LS powerplants, and it clearly showed with his execution of the late Kappa cars.
This particular example has benefited from an LS2 swap, a cold-air induction kit, CORSA Performance exhaust system, a LuK Pro Gold clutch, a CTS-V limited-slip differential and a custom driveshaft. Tucked behind the forged aftermarket wheels are SSBC binders to bring the 400 rwhp pocket rocket to a halt.
We spotted this one the other day on Bring a Trailer, and although it’s out of our price range at the moment, we feel that it could be a great opportunity to pick up one of these cars and take it to the next level. The GM Kappa cars have been out of production since 2009, but they still have a cult following, even today.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.