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Local couple takes delivery of 'one in 1,000' vehicle
Dave Bergmeier
Publisher - Editor
Published September 02, 2005 10:31 PM CDT

A rural Abilene couple joined an exclusive club when they accepted delivery of a 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

Darell and Carolyn Fenn, accepted delivery of the roadster-style Pontiac from Holm Automotive Center, 2005 N. Buckeye, at about noon Thursday.

The car was one of the first 1,000 sold that involved a high profile promotion on the television show "The Apprentice," said sales manager Chris Eckert. Fenn became aware of the new Pontiac when he was helping with a muscular dystrophy drive.

Pat Magee, new vehicle manager, said during "The Apprentice's" April 14 showing, viewers had an opportunity to log on and get a special code. They then had to bring the information into a Pontiac dealership by 1 p.m. the next day. The dealer then logged onto a website.

Fenn watched the show on a Wednesday night and decided to give it a try. When he had an opportunity to see the vehicle on a website his reaction was quick: "That's cool."

Numbers on the 1,000 cars were matched within 41 minutes, Magee said.

'The first 1,000 was almost a lottery," dealer Tim Holm said. "The first 1,000 will enhance the value."

The fact that Fenn had a car in the first 1,000 was an attraction for vying to be in the contest.

Holm believes that Fenn's car, which is No. 162, does have an opportunity to be coveted by collectors. Holm said at a recent sales seminar he was told of a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette that sold for $4,900 had a value of $49,000 and a 1967 had a value of $75,000.

Sales associate Eric Altwegg, who sold the vehicle, said during "The Apprentice" five teams were given the task of putting together a promotional brochure for the vehicle, which added to the intrigue, he said, and eventually the winning one was chosen and a copy was sent to the dealership to be given to the Fenns.

Fenn was thrilled to have been selected to receive one of the first 1,000 Solstices.

"I'm a Pontiac man," Fenn said. "I have a '64 Pontiac GTO."

The Solstice gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 mpg in town, Eckert said, and has a list price of under $20,000. The price on Fenn's was listed at $25,000 because of the various options he ordered. Pontiac plans to manufacture about 18,000 Solstices a year from its plant in Wilmington, Del.

Holm said automobile manufacturers try to find vehicles that have a nice appeal. The Solstice has an opportunity to find its own niche and reflects the desires of manufacturers to find vehicles with good value that people can afford. With today's modern design techniques and testing, vehicles can be introduced in the market much quicker and production runs can be tooled and changed as needed.

The Solstice will serve as competition for foreign sports cars offered by such manufacturers as Mazda, BMW, Honda and Toyota. Saturn also has a Sky. The Pontiac entry into the roadster competition sends a positive message to consumers, Holm said.

"I'm sure people who can afford a BMW, can afford us," he said.

"This is the first two-seater roadster Pontiac ever made," Eckert said, who was able to take the Solstice for a short drive and said the convertible had a great feel to it.

Fenn also owns a Chrysler Crossfire that has a hard top.

"I'm driving it out of here," Darell said, "We'll both be driving it."

With its greenish tint color, known as "envy" Carolyn said the Solstice "looks a lot better in person than on a screen."

The Fenns are long-time operators of the Four Seasons RV Acres, off Interstate 70 and north of the 281 exit. The Fenns have been involved in the recreational vehicle business since 1982 and moved here in 1989. Edited by HarleyEarl

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