By on June 22, 2011


I’ve seen a fair number of car-themed tatts inked into the flesh of single-interest car fanatics over the years, including the usual Super Bees, Corvette logos, and Alfa snakes, but this gentleman raises the car-tattoo bar to unheard-of heights by opting to make an impressively high percentage of his body’s surface area an homage to GM’s mid-engined two-seater. This man is now King of the Fieros.

I met him at last weekend’s Capitol Offense 24 Hours of LeMons at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. LeMons was sharing the venue with Hyperfest, which meant there were plenty of Evo-drifting rednecks with pit bulls and lurid GReddy tattoos strutting about the premises. I must assume that the Hyperfest guys felt like total posers once they caught a glimpse of The Fiero King’s mural.

El Rey de los Fieros was there as part of Rusty Tear Racing, the team that got ripped off by Car & Driver Technical Editor Mike Austin, who sold them the ’85 Fiero made famous in Eddie Alterman’s New York Times article; this car, known as the “five lap Fiero” for its performance at one of the early California LeMons races (for which Austin made his sister tow the car out from Detroit in a blizzard), has been breaking the spirits of racers since the very beginning of LeMons racing.

This time, the Rusty Tear Fiero did pretty well, doing 263 laps and taking 59th place out of 102 starters. The Fiero hasn’t been the worst LeMons car of all time (that honor goes to the Mitsubishi Starion, with the Talon/Eclipse a close second), but the reliability just hasn’t been there. The Fiero King has a plan to turn the Fiero into a LeMons-dominating machine: install a Cadillac 4900 engine in place of the factory 2.8 V6.

He’s got a 4.9 street Fiero right now, complete with shaker hood (this is the car depicted in the scene on his back), and he feels confident that such a setup in a race car would work very well. There will be no problem convincing me that such a car could be built for under 500 bucks, given that beater Fieros aren’t even worth scrap value and 4.9 Cadillac engines can be found in any number of wrecked $200 cars. What could possibly go wrong?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

26 Comments on “There’s Only One Way To Prove You Really Love the Fiero!...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “There will be no problem convincing me that such a car could be built for under 500 bucks, given that beater Fieros aren’t even worth scrap value and 4.9 Cadillac engines can be found in any number of wrecked $200 cars. What could possibly go wrong?”

    How many hours of time would you like to invest in going through all the possibilities?

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    “El Rey de los Fieros was there as part of Rusty Tear Racing, the team that got ripped off by Car & Driver Technical Editor Mike Austin, who sold them the ’85 Fiero made famous in Eddie Alterman’s New York Times article; this car, known as the “five lap Fiero” for its performance at one of the early California LeMons races (for which Austin made his sister tow the car out from Detroit in a blizzard), has been breaking the spirits of racers since the very beginning of LeMons racing.”

    Holy run-on sentence Batman!

  • avatar
    trainorster

    As the one who is stuck garaging this leaky slow and really awesome clap trap of car, I have some more background that I feel is worth sharing.

    1) The King, as Murilee is referring to him (which we totally should have come up with ourselves and didn’t) is a great team mate, both as a driver, and as an awesome, fun, and knowledgable person to be around in the pits. We are lucky to have him and his awsome family as part of the team.

    2) We did not actually get ripped off. Sadly our crazy team captain (who has led this thing to both starting AND finishing two races so far, with Stafford CT coming up in a month) actually wanted to find a Fiero to race, as he is also obsessed with these slightly misguided cars, and really wanted to field one in Lemons (despite their reputation). When this car came up on a message board, it was the most cost effective way to be able to enter the world or LeMons. We knew what we were getting into (sadly, again), but we were just all too poor to be able to have built a car from scratch. Besides, if you’re gonna race a car in a crazy illogical series, you should pick the type of car you have a crazy illogical passion about.

    3) Having grown up in the pre-internet days fueling my obsession of cars by reading Car and Driver, when we found out just what Fiero we were buying, it was actually really cool! Plus, we were committed to running in LeMons ever since we read C&D’s coverage of the very first Altamont race in 2006, so this car seemed fitting (and, again, affordable).

    4) Our team captain drove this car back from Ann Arbor to Massachusetts (with me following, in case he broke down, or needed to get bailed out of jail). Technically, thanks to some clever interpretation of MA registration laws, I’m pretty sure we were legal to drive it back. It took 5 hours in an autozone parking lot and a 14 hour drive, but it made it without blowing up. At any highway rest stop it would gather excited kids, their parents looking on in distrust. There were lots of cell phone pictures, and thumbs up, but the single greatest moment of the drive was when an old couple in a ZO6 came speeding by, then slowed down so the wife could pull out her camera and snap a few pictures and wave.

    5) This disaster of a car has brought together a team of great people, including The Fiero King, and there are so many people who have made this one of the all time greatest experiences in life. Sure it’s terribly slow mixed with being the most prone car to spin out, but it has been worth every minute of it. Plus we still have less money in it than if we tried to build a better car from scratch….which we can’t afford to do.

    Just felt the need to add all that, since the car has been mentioned on the internet yet again.

    • 0 avatar

      This was one of the best weekends I have ever had. Thanks again to the other Fiero nut on the team and car owner “SAM”. Sam spent a lot of time to get this Fiero ready for a grueling weekend at Summit. I am so glad to have had the privilege of meeting and driving his Fiero. Also need to mention his entire team he put together and support of the other members of his Rusty Tear Racing Team. The whole group that made this experience the best that it was.

  • avatar

    The 4.9 swap seems like the way to go if you want a V8 in your Fiero.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Man, that’s intense. I think of a tattoo as a personal billboard (at least for the ones you can see), but outside of proclaiming my everlasting love for my wife and kids, what would I use my billboard for? I mean I really like cars, too, but I like lots of different kinds of cars. But I also like lots of other things too.

    So, WWYT*? * = What Would You Tattoo?

    • 0 avatar

      Before you get a tat, go to your closet and look at all the clothes that you won’t wear anymore.

      And whatever you do, don’t use any woman’s name on a tattoo unless it’s your daughter’s or “Mom”.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’ve got a 6in by 8in tat on my back of my family heraldry shield and the family name as it was spelled in Switzerland. I’m planning on getting one on my bicep that says “Mama’s Little Outlaw” because of a remark my mother made a few years back (not in an affectionate way either) when she said; “Well you always were my little outlaw.”

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      While I wouldn’t deface my already-ugly body in any way due to strong personal convictions, if I ever had the urge, that was squashed years ago when I got married and one of my new brothers-in-law gave us a monogrammed glassware set of my family’s herald. My wife and I almost laughed our heads off when we saw what the “crest” was – a horsehoe with a “Z” in the middle! On the paper from the heraldic place, it explained, no too convincingly, that my family name was hard to pin down – in other words, they most likely made the whole thing up. My/our conclusion: Whoever started the family’s name must have been a real horse’s a–! Sort of guilty as charged!

      I’d have to default to the leaping Chevy Impala emblem!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Ronnie: At this point in life, I’ve got 25 years in with the same woman, (closer to 30 if you count dating), and my adult kids are getting (and hiding from me) their own tattoos. At 6’1″ and 270 lbs, let’s just say I’m a little rotund to be wearing a chest or back tattoo. (Translation: no one wants to see me naked. Or even half-naked…)

      If I were to subject myself to the idea of possibly permanent bad art (h*ll, I’ve burned some of my old paintings because I couldn’t stand them anymore), I think I’d end with something on my shoulder blade or shoulder itself.

      But in my case, a tattoo ain’t gonna make me look any better…

      • 0 avatar
        Opus

        “a tattoo ain’t gonna make me look any better”

        Wise words for all to heed.
        NO tattoo ever made ANYBODY look any better. The uglification of the proletariat continues anon.

  • avatar

    Some of you younger guys need to take a long, hard look at this post.
    That right there is true love.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    I have made it a matter of honor to hunt down all prospective owners of Pontiac Fieros and offer to pay for their treatment at the mental healthcare facility of their choosing.

  • avatar

    At least the tattoo is on his back so he doesn’t have to see it …

    V8 Fieros are cool though.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    I’m not a fan of tattoo’s personally, but I have to respect the dedication shown here.
    There is a user on the RX7 club who has a tattoo on his shoulder that is the timing map for, as memory servers, a bridge ported 13B engine. Not only does that show passion, but also a handy reference item to have on hand.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Now imagine your grandpa with a 1957 Chrysler 300 tattoo on his back. Would you be proud?

    A Fiero tattoo is better than an Aztek tattoo.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      If he was in the navy, that’s probably the only place left to put a tattoo, as his arms would be full of anchors and naked women and the word “mom”.

  • avatar
    carcurmudgeon

    What an idiot.

    Of all the things to have PERMANENTLY inscribed on one’s body!

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I don’t like tattoos, but I’m not going to say others aren’t free to enjoy them. Some look decent, and I’d consider getting one, but it would be fairly mundane. One tattoo I’ve thought about would be a set of twin dragons going around by bicep and they would be colored emerald green.

    With that being said, my brother has a pretty tacky tattoo. He has the Chevy bow-tie with a rebel flag in the middle and around the outside it says, “Chevy Rules, Ford Sucks.” And do you wanna guess what the first car he bought after having this tattoo placed on his forearm? That’s right a 93 Escort Wagon 5MT. It was too easy a joke to constantly remind him of after the tattoo. In fact he’s only owned, well I have (since I bought the car for him), one Chevy since having the tattoo, but he’s had 2 or 3 Fords. It’s pretty sad really.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I have 2 tattoos, disguised as freckles They were used to line up the radiation beam when I got nuked as the final treatment for breast cancer.

  • avatar

    http://piledriverz.com/2011/05/25/bitchin-fiero/

    found this once loved Fiero in the wrecking yard. I thin it had a Iron Duke in it.

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    My theory on tattoos: you’re either too attractive for a tattoo, or not attractive enough. I have a gorgeous 21 year old niece who has a new tattoo every time I see her, and all I can think is what a shame it is for such a pretty girl to detract from her natural beauty with all that ink.

    On the other end of the spectrum there are plenty of people that just make me go – yeesh. Do you really think it’s a good idea to draw attention to your jiggly torso like that?

    So you really can’t win.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I scoff at tats the way their owners scoff at safe sex.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States