I was a little too old to get into Zoey 101, but according to my younger brothers, it was a very popular show with kids their age. Popular enough that despite the allegations of verbal abuse, gender discrimination, and misconduct against the show’s creator and executive producer, Dan Schneider, Paramount+ recently released Zoey 102, a reunion movie that stars Jamie Lynn Spears and a decent amount of the rest of the original cast.
Carspotting: Big Ol’ America Cars
Reviews of the movie, which I should also admit I have also not seen, have been middling at best. It currently sits at a nice, even 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s probably not unwatchable, but I highly doubt it’s worth your time unless you were a huge Zoey 101 fan back in the day. But despite having never seen the movie based on the show that apparently inspired way too many kids to apply to the aggressively conservative but beautiful Pepperdine University, it has come to my attention that the movie also prominently features a 2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe.
Yes, that’s right. One of the rarest Pontiacs imaginable is prominently featured in a movie based on a long-canceled Nickelodeon TV show that was just released in the year 2023. Oh, and did we mention that it’s supposed to be a self-driving car? If you’re confused, then trust me. You’re not the only one.
Few people even remember that the Solstice Coupe exists due to the fact that Pontiac only ever sold around 1,200 of them, and the GXP version is even rarer. I tried to find how many GXP coupes were produced and couldn’t find anything. But it’s safe to assume only a few hundred still exist.
This isn’t a car anyone accidentally puts in a movie. There might be two or three for sale in the entire country right now. Even if you know what you’re looking for and really want one, you’re going to have to go way out of your way to get your hands on one. And probably pay a minimum of $40,000 for the privilege of owning a 15-year-old Pontiac with questionable parts availability.
So is the director secretly a huge car enthusiast who took the opportunity to use an incredibly cool car in their latest movie? Do they have a special connection to the Solstice GXP Coupe or perhaps own one themselves? Sadly, that does not appear to be the case.
Speaking with TVLine, director Nancy Hower said they basically just wanted a car that they could make fun of:
I probably shouldn’t say this, but they originally wrote it as a Tesla, and I was like, ‘I think we ought to make this a car that we can really make fun of and do whatever we want.’ I can’t tell you how many iterations of that car we went through until we were like, ‘Well, Pontiac doesn’t exist anymore!’ So we bought this old Pontiac and redid it and everyone was like, ‘Nancy, it’s going to cost so much money.’ And I was like, ‘No, you could sell it for so much more when we’re done!’
Something tells me the overlap between Zoey 101 fans and Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe collectors isn’t exactly large, so I’m not entirely sure its presence in Zoey 1o2 is going to boost its value, especially now that it has butterfly doors. Then again, knowing Pontiac’s reputation for poor build quality in the late 2000s, maybe the work they did to get the Solstice GXP Coupe movie-ready fixed a lot of the problems the donor car had, making it worth at least a little more than before. But hey, either way, at least you know how a ridiculously rare Pontiac ended up in Zoey 102.
Zoey 102 | Official Trailer | Paramount+