By on April 30, 2014

07 - 1986 Pontiac Fiero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Fiero was something of a disappointment for GM, to put it mildly, but enough of them were sold that I still see the occasional example in fast-turnover wrecking yards. For some reason, I haven’t photographed any junkyard Fieros for this series before today (though I have photographed an incredibly detailed full-back Fiero tattoo, and Sajeev has written about this 3.8-swapped Fierrari), but this extremely yellow ’86 in Northern California caught my eye a few months back.
08 - 1986 Pontiac Fiero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m pretty sure these door decals weren’t factory-installed.
03 - 1986 Pontiac Fiero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLikewise, the yellow instrument-cluster bezels.
06 - 1986 Pontiac Fiero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis yard was nice enough to put carpets under all the cars, but then someone knocked this Fiero off its jackstands.


In the alternative-universe scenario put forward by GM’s marketers, Fieros driven by attractive young women were so numerous that hitchhikers could afford to wait for a Fiero GT, or at least one with a V6.

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95 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1986 Pontiac Fiero...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Were these really so awful ? .

    I remember a new one coming by the shop once , we thought it pretty neat at the time .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      How long did it take to figure out the parking brake?

      I fiddled with one for about 30 seconds before reading the printing on the lever, then holding down the button and yanking up with enough force to engage the detents and release the locking mechanism. Without that lock rod engaged, the lever would simply rotate freely.

      And for those with meddling passengers, rejoice: the lever was recessed in the driver’s side door sill.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      YES! The early ones were terrible. My friends first car was an 84 2M4. It had the Isuzu sourced 4 speed manual and no power steering. It was a horrible car to drive. It was a bitch to shift, bitch to steer, just took so much work to drive the thing it was horrible.

      Now the Toyota MR2 was the Fiero done right.

      • 0 avatar
        deadwood

        None had power steering. The effort was more than normal at very very low speeds, but not difficult while normal driving. Hardly a “horrible” car to drive. Maybe your friends was a POS. I’ve had 6, none horrible to maneuver.

    • 0 avatar
      I've got a Jaaaaag

      The Fiero was a case of GM pulling the plug when they finally got it right and all the bugs worked out. The early one had terrible quality and crappy engines, by the time of the 86 GTs they were fine cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        I always loved the 2nd-gen’s outside design, alas I could never fit in one :p

        (hmm, I guess I’m thinking of aftermarket body kits? The later ones always looked smoother and rounder than the first few..)

        • 0 avatar
          deadwood

          Really just a switch to “fast-back” type design. Have you sat in one? Quite a bit of leg room actually. 6’5″ friend had one for some time and had no complaints.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It wasn’t just pulling the plug when they got it right – the personal transport auto category was a flop.

        The Ford EXP, even more pathetic was killed in 1988 also. The CR-X died in 1991. The Bertone (aka Fiat) X1/9 died in 1989. Only the MR-2 soldiered on until the late 90’s.

        The somewhat larger than the above Geo Storm died in 1993 – its cousin the Isuzu Impulse died in 1992. The Volkswagen Scirocco died in 1992 also. The Mazda MX-3 was from 1991 to 1996. The Ford Probe “replaced” the EXP so sayeth the marketing weasels at Ford during the era – and was dead by 1997 after a strong sales start in 1988 (as a 1989 model).

        The two-seater segment was all but dead by 1988 – and the 2+2 FWD personal coupe segment was basically dead a decade later.

        • 0 avatar
          anti121hero

          The second gen storm aka impulse aka piazza was pretty bad compared to the first gen. My best friend had 2 (!!!!) with lotus handling, turbo engines, and all the perks of being a car absolutely nobody knew about, that looked awesome, had a sweet interior, and was one of the funnest rides I’ve ever been in. Perfect recipe for cool, that the second gen fwd version killed

        • 0 avatar
          Madroc

          I was reflecting on this not too long ago. Today we have have a nice range of RWD coupes in the $20-30K space, ranging from the Toyabaru Twins to the Challenger with all points in between. We have a nice range of FWD sport-compacts. But up through the 90s there was this rich diversity of dedicated FWD sporty-coupe models ranging from the ridiculous (Hyundai Scoupe, Toyota Paseo) to the sublime (Honda Prelude). One day it all just vanished.

          Probably because consumers realized that a hot hatch is just as much fun and a lot more useful, and manufacturers were all too happy not to have to build a whole new body style. Still feels like we’ve lost something, though.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      No they weren’t bad.

      In V6 form they were quite fun to drive.

      The no-power steering was a non issue.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        In 1986 with the 2.8 you couldn’t get air conditioning because there was no room in the engine bay.

        They were horribly implemented cars with so much potential.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          not sure on your source for that but it is completely wrong. AC was available every year with both engines. The V6 came out in 85.

        • 0 avatar
          deadwood

          This is incorrect. My 86 2M6 SE has factory AC. The engine bay can easily accept V8’s.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Apologies. I was told back in the day that you could not get a V6 Fiero with factory AC from 84 to 86 – and that this was addressed mid-year ’86.

            I stand corrected.

            Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            No APaGttH, do not apologize! Stand your ground!

            lol.

            The newest Fiero is now almost 30 years old, there is tons and tons of misinformation floating around about them after all these years.

    • 0 avatar
      Pontiacs Rule

      No, No they weren’t I worked for GM from the early 70s up into the mid 90s and something everyone seems to forget is that these were made in the mid 80s. Not the greatest time in our history for cars of any kind or does everyone have such a short term memory loss that they forget that this was just after 2 oil embargos by OPEC? Or that the muscle cars of that time had little more than 200 HP no matter who made them.

      http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/car-deals/192143/80s-american-muscle-cars-for-under-10000.jsp

      Gas prices were going threw the roof and this was a commuter car in the beginning, not a sports car. In reality it was a nice little car that GM executives of the time didn’t even want to make it, remember Roger Smith was GMs CEO. He was one of GMs worst CEOs of all time, he didn’t give Pontiac half of what any other new model was given to start up so Pontiac was limited with what they had to work with for startup cash and parts so they parts already available at the time to save money. Remember the Oldsmobile buyers who expected an Olds Rocket V8 got something made by other GM partners.

      Also for the time this little car was a unusual to say the least work of art and got a 5 star crash test, for that time unheard of for a small compact car because of its innovative space frame, they built the entire car on one assembly line with no body panels and then actually drove it from one assembly line to the next, one of the reasons so many people love to use them as bases for kit cars, practically decimating their numbers.

      Power steering in the 80s was an option on most cars, not standard equipment on most cars built at that time, while it was not even an option on the Fiero it was just a small commuter car that for its time got great mileage, 30+ MPG with the 4 cyl, think about that, even today many cars are lucky to get that kind of mileage.

      OK lets put the fire issue to rest for those know it all people here, that was just the first year cars and just because of a faulty wrist pin I believe and only because of the oil system and how the dipstick never really gave a true reading giving owners the false impression on how much oil was actually in them, another engineering mistake. The fires were so limited that it was ridiculous, hell Ferraris had more engine fires than Fieros did, but the Fieros got the press because of the haters of the time.

      As far as the under powering of the car, again that was the era, many cars had very limited HP, matter of fact it was because of EPA rules on cars, not because of manufacturers. even the most powerful cars of every manufacturers were very limited in this area.

      Least we forget the space frame idea GM used to make the Saturn a few years later, while many here think it was a bad idea, how many people have a car that old that has rusted body panels now? The plastic, actually called endoroflex at that time was just on the sides of it, the roof panel, hood and rear deck lid were all fiberglass. The endoroflex was to prevent damage when parked and did a great job at it, hell you could stand there and kick a door panel or open a car door into it all day long and it didn’t hurt the door in the least.

      Now for you know it all’s here,

      Am I biased? Sure I have even owned 2, first was an 84 base model that actually did get mid 30 MPG with a 4 speed, how many of you even today have a car that gets that kind of mileage? For the last 10 years I have used as a daily driver an 86 SE with the 2.8L V6 with so few things go wrong with it that they are not worth mentioning, remember the car is almost 30 years old, how many of you even own a car that old, never mind one that gets that kind of mileage with a 5 star crash rating?

      For the time these were superior, think about how many cars that are still around today.

      Steve

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I have a 1987 Chevrolet truck that gets 24MPG- in a truck with the 305.

        I like the Fiero personally- they’re just… different, in a cool way. I’m assuming that all Fieros were carbed, and fuel injection made the later cars more efficient???

        I don’t own a carbureted vehicle (1987 Chev. trucks were the only year with Fuel Injection), so that may make a difference.

        Anyone know the difference in mileage that switching to Fuel Injection did?

        • 0 avatar
          Pontiacs Rule

          They were all fuel from day one, the 4 cyl. had a throttle injection, not the best system but better than a carb.

          The Fiero was originally designed as a small, two-seater sports car with all new suspension and V6 engine. While General Motors management and accountants were opposed to investing in a second two-seater sports car that might compete with the Corvette, they perceived the oil crisis as a market opportunity for a fuel-efficient sporty commuter car. To this end, the Fiero was re-designed to use a fuel efficient version of GM’s 2.5 L four-cylinder “Iron Duke” engine capable of 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) in the city and 40 mpg-US (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) on the highway with the economy-ratio transmission option. These figures are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency test-circuit results, published by Pontiac, and confirmed from multiple sources.[2] It was impressive mileage for a 2.5 L engine of the period, and still good by today’s standards,

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Fiero

          Still think its that bad economy? I never got that good mileage because I never drove them economically, that was no fun but have friends who had and even today have them that if driven with economy in mind do get over 40 MPG.

          And to those who said the car was so expensive a little reading might be in order,

          This innovative approach allows Pontiac to sell this stylish and practical new car for as little as $7999. Which is just the kind of value and appeal that guarantees a sure winner.

          http://www.caranddriver.com/features/1984-10best-cars-1984-pontiac-fiero-2m4-page-8

          that was from the car and driver issue about it when it first came out.

          Steve

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Gen 2 and Gen 3 Z-body (Saturn SL) used steel for the hood, roof, and trunk, the rest being endoroflex. I can’t speak for the gen 1, this may have been fiberglass in those places.

  • avatar
    threeer

    If memory serves, this was launched by GM as a low-cost commuter (GM’s 80’s Elio??), but everybody saw a two-seater and rushed to assume it’d be a sport(y) car. In typical fashion for them back in the day, GM got the car right in the last years before killing it completely. An ’88 Formula is said to be rather decent.
    I drove my best friend’s boss’s 2M4 (I think it was something like an ’85) with manual tranny…and that car was horrid. Never got the chance to sample a last year Formula. I do know a few folks back Stateside that love these things. I guess it’s true that every car has a following…:)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Seems like I recall Motor Week actually ripped this car pretty badly, which was against their style of Everybody Is Nice And Decent.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Pontiac called it a “commuter” because Chevy wanted to have the monopoly on 2-seat sports cars. Typical GM infighting leading to a less than successful product. Powering it with the anemic IronDuke 4-banger didn’t help.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Also for insurance purposes so they would not be lumped in the sports car class. Though I do remember some folks then did pay the sports car premium because it was a 2-seater. Back then a friend of mine had a CRX. The insurer wanted to charge him the sports car rate even though it was the HF model but he found some way to lower the premium by negotiating the best price.

        • 0 avatar
          The Dark One

          Thats absolutely true – my uncle was a car dealer and when I was 17 my Dad was all ready to let me buy one – until my uncle informed him my insurance rates would be higher for a Fiero than if I had a Corvette.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    At one point during the run, Fiero drivers topped my personal list of the worst drivers, to be replaced by BMW drivers in the 90s. Something about the Fiero led owners to believe that they were, in fact, Formula 1 owner/operators. As to whether Fieros were bad, I think the major problem was that all too many owners didn’t understand that a mid-engine car needs careful attention to cooling issues lest the engine catch fire. Toyota MR2s had much the same problem with owners attracted to the sporty image of these cars without knowing much about maintenance.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    The Fiero . The car that could of been . By all rights had it been done right ..would of been . But under GM’s ever so blind eye in fact never was . Worth a damn that is .

    Which is sad in light of the fact that with a tweak or two here … an adjustment or three there … and barely an evolution overall . The car could of been brilliant

    Leave it to the fine folks at GM to constantly figure out ways to made something potentially good … so abjectly and hideously bad . Same as it ever was [ at GM ] Same as it ever shall be .

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    It’s missing a body kit.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I was going to say that someone needs to drop a Northstar in it, but the specimen above looks pretty well cashed.

    It ws probably enjoyed throughly for the first 10 years of its life (hence, the yellow bezels, etc.). After that, it was probably passed around from one mullet to the next, gracing many a carport, in pieces or under a tarp. A victim of low-budget shadetree mechanics.

    This, I take it, is the later model Fiero? I loved these as a kid. The first generation Fieros- a little more triangular or wedge like in appearance- not so much.

    If I recall correctly, the first ones had engine fires? I believe?

    But I also believe the first ones take the 4.6L Northstar the easiest with one of the kits you can buy. And hot dam, that 4.6L/32V Northstar would unleash the modest Fiero’s fury nicely.

    I would LOVE to have a Northstar powered Fiero. Almost as much as I’d love to have a 5.0L powered Miata :)

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Actually, the 5.0 in the Miata is considered too tame, uncommon, heavy and labour-intensive to be worth it these days. People are either turbocharging the stock 1.8 for less work and more output than the Fox V-8 (the stock rods and base 5 speed are both good to about 250whp, 300+ if you have the 6 speed and are willing to crack open the engine), or they go straight to the LS swap. How does 480 hp grab you?

      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/first-drives/drives-flyin-miata-mazda-mx5-v8

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        I’ve seen a Miata with the 5.0L and was definitely sweet.

        Mind you, it had a built 5.0L.

        A LS swap sounds nice, for sure. But I am unfimiliar with and have never seen the conversion.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Cadillac 4.9 engine swaps were popular for these cars as well.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I had a ride in one that had a 350 ci V8. Crazy fast for under 3,000 lbs that the pop up head lights act as airb rakes at 125 mph!

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    The story of the Fiero is well documented at ateupwithmotor.com

    What’s also interesting is the history of the plant that built it. It was a gm plant in Pontiac that had been shuttered then GM reopened it to build the Fiero. It was the first plant where GM tried to impliment Japanese JIT and Kaizen production techniques. Because laid off workers were getting to go back to work they were happy to comply with the new production methods. When GM killed the Fiero (after they got the forumla right with the 88 model) the plant was shuttered. So it wasn’t just an innovative car that died but a more modern productive plant and workforce too. It’s not just the cars GM kills once they’ve got them right…

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Jeezo-Peezo ~

      I’m still an unabashed Generous Motors Corporation fanboi but really now .

      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      SayMyName

      Didn’t GM later implement many of those same techniques over at Saturn? We all know that experiment was an unabashed success!

      • 0 avatar
        3800FAN

        Yes and the saturn’s were top quality…up there with the japanese as far as reliability goes. Its easy to impliment a new system when it’s a new workforce or workforce that is coming back from layoff (ie NUMMI). The problem with Saturn was the concept of it as a separate company and then never developing new product. They shoulda killed the j body and made the saturn the 1990 chevy cavalier. When you look at those SL saturns nowhere does it say GM. It’s all Saturn corporation. Saturn was setup as an independent company in GM at the same time GM was consolidating all the old divisions. Roger Smith tought the rest of the company would look at Saturn as the good guy and say, “lets be like them”. But the fact is when you’re spilling billions into a new division while taking all divisional autonomy away from the rest of the divisions it just breeds resentment. So as the 90s went on saturn was neglected…stripped of autonomy as had been done to chevy,buick,olds,etc in the 80s and just ended up becoming another platform sharing division..

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I love Ate Up With Motor. Even if you don’t love the Fiero, it offers most insight on how it came to be.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They got the Formula right with the 88 indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thx for the link.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Man, I love the Fiero. I even have a 1/18 scale Fiero GT around here somewhere…

    A 3800SC or LS4 Fiero would be loads of fun for (probably) not tons of cash.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    In its defense, the Fiero was made when GM had only one engineer.

    Thanks to our gubmit, GM has now doubled their engineering staff.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    POntiac did have a prototype gen2 fiero for 89 before corporate pulled the plug. It was supposed to have quad4 HO standard. We love to think of what could have been but when we look at what we know its safe too see it like an 89 grand am..only with rwd.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Jeffrey Boots didn’t power much of anything.

    Jeff sprinted out into the parking lot of Diablo Valley Community College. His low-mileage textbook jostled out of his grasp, and fell onto the pavement. He went back to retrieve it, before resuming his course at a slower pace towards the yellow beacon on the far end of the parking lot. Dust dulled the heavenly glow of the Earl Shieb paintjob somewhat. “I need to hit up that carwash after these mad rains stop.” He absentmindedly placed his arm full of cargo on the detritus. In a stellar display of the brilliance of GM engineering, Jeff’s hand fished for the keys in the tight front pocket of his jeans, simultaneously selecting the round door key from feel alone. Jeff unlocked the door. In a stellar display of the failure of GM engineering, the door made the most obscene of sounds upon it’s opening. The noise heralded a lineage of forty year-old Vega striker mechanism, combined with the crunching squeak of destroyed 1970 Impala door hinges, and the clatter of a plastic garbage can well past it’s prime.

    Jeff slid into the hot machine. His posterior resumed the work of shredding the side bolster foam through the Pep Boys-sourced seat cover. The ill-fitting cover bunched up in the most irritating of spots, and pulled off the front of the seat due to it’s poor installation. Jeff hovered his butt over the bottom cushion, and slid it back into place. This, now standard, routine was completed with an ass-drag akin to a hemorrhoid-stricken terrier in order to slide the cover into place. The square key was now inserted into the tabbed receptacle to bring the thunderous 2.8 V6 to life.

    The rear-biased weight of the Fiero bobbed on compliant Chevette-sourced struts while traversing the subtle dips of the on-ramp. The feeling was much like that of a hiker climbing a hill with a full pack on his back. It summed up the whole experience of this car. Jeffrey rather enjoyed this feeling of special driving character. He wanted others to take note of it as well, hence the resplendent $40 custom built stickers, forged at the mall to his exacting specifications. A woman sitting tall in the Jeep in the adjoining lane had her attention stolen by the yellow machine for half a second. “I see you checkin out my ride.”, Jeff thought proudly to himself with one hand at 12’o’clock. “She probably thinks it’s a Ferrari.”

    Traffic was slowing to a 30mph roll. Jeff eyed the temp gauge in the Krylon’d panel. He angled his head to the right in an attempt to convince himself the needle wasn’t quite in the red zone yet. “Boots Performance”, as he liked to refer to himself, still had not worked out this little bug in the car. He would feel like less of a failure if he stopped for another reason instead of sit with the hood up, so that’s what he did. The GT saddled up at a Jack In The Box, and Jeff went inside to take his time chewing, allowing the feverish Pontiac to settle down a bit.

    While enjoying his meal, entertained by his ride out the window, Jeff contemplated what could possibly be wrong with it. Another youngster passerby in an Affliction shirt gave it hard looks. Jeff smiled, and chewed another bite of burger. One possible reason for the anomaly was the cooling pipes under the car, crimped during poor jacking techniques. He had replaced one of them with a brand new part, paying for his lack of resourcefulness to the tune of $200. Still, the issue remained.

    Jeffrey left the establishment, and twisted the key in the ignition. It cranked and cranked, giving a few muffled thumps, but little else. No droning sound of V6 was emitted, only starter motor. Fiero GT wouldn’t be powering anything today. “Now I gotta get this bitch towed.”, he told a friend of his troubles over the phone. By the time the tow truck showed up, the yellow midship was brightly lit by mercury vapor lighting. He sat on the curbing, and impatiently watched the assortment of fast food patrons cycle eight times. “Nice car.”, said a soccer mom. It felt like an insult. “Oh man, this has a bodykit. I can’t tow this. You need a flatbed.”, said the worthless towing professional. Jeff simply chuckled manically, and resumed waiting another hour, watching insects bounce around the lights overhead.

    The lifeless Fiero sat in the driveway for a month after it had last been touched by Boots Performance. He had tried a new PROM chip as instructed by the forums, but it didn’t fix the issue. “It might be the ECU.”, they told him. Jeffrey, not willing to visit the parts counter yet again for what would surely be an expensive item, felt he was out of options. In the meantime, he passed 3 junkyards with Fieros every day on his way to school in his beater Geo Prism.

    One morning, Jeff backed the Prism out of the driveway and caught something out of the corner of his eye that was somewhat beyond belief. He pulled back in, and sure enough, it was what he thought he saw. A dead branch from the tree overhead had killed the Fiero. The roof was dented, and windshield broken. This damage was irreparable. It was THE ROOF. After many rounds on Craigslist, the writing was on the wall, and on the check from the junkyard.

    “Nobody appreciates these cars.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This car was beaten by its punk owner, hence the 97k mile early death.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I always liked the design of these. I think they look pretty good even today, especially so for the slight revamp they did and changed the rear light cluster.

    If only they had been reliable, powerful, or decent to drive, or built properly.

    And I’m curious about the price difference between this and:
    Toronado
    Riviera
    ElDorado
    Regal GS
    Olds 2-door Cutlass International Brougham Salon FE3

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Yay! He’s Back!

      That Fiero looks awful! The yellow makes it look like a cheese wedge.

      The Riviera two rows back looks way too nice to be junked. Why!?

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      1988 Toronado Base Price: $22,695
      1987 Riviera Base Price: $20,337
      1987 Cadillac ElDorado: $24,265
      1988 Cutlass Calais Price: $13,695

      The MotorWeek MR2 vs Fiero comparison said the Fiero Formula started around $11,000, The GT was $14,000.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Thanks for these figures, I have a hard time finding them. When I see these prices, it occurs to me they were really -way- overcharging on those GM coupes.

        I had the original window sticker from my 87 Audi 5000, and it topped out at $24,000. Considering these prices here are for the very downsized FWD models (and how far ahead the 5000 was in many, many ways) it’s almost hard to believe.

        I know I’ll get a big bucket of Haterade poured on me, but I really think it’s true.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Hey- I have nothing better to do at work!

          In comparison, the Fiero seems to be a fairly good buy for what it is- the Toyota MR2 in MotorWeek had a $2000 higher base price than the Fiero.

          I’d rather have the Audi, though. When I bought my A6 wagon, I wanted an Audi. I drove over 500 miles to get what I wanted. That’s GM’s problems. I like my LeSabre alot, but I wouldn’t go that far for a Roadmaster wagon. GM’s products just didn’t have the pizzaz to them (Except for the 1995 Riviera- it was pretty sweet)

          Ok… for a Riviera, maybe I would go 500 miles.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    I used to love the Pontiac Fieros. I remember in college my friend gave me a refresher course on driving a sick on his 88 Fiero. (the first time was in a 60’s VW Beetle in high school) That car was so light that I kept spinning out tires at the intersections. I think I scared him because he never let me drive it again.
    To this day, I would love to have one as a project car.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    The problem with the Fiero was mainly the Iron Puke engine they stuck in it for the first year when interest was highest. This moany little turd couldn’t move a shopping cart out of its own way and was rough and unpleasant to boot. They sold enough ’84 models so the car quickly got a bad reputation because of this, so subsequent improvements didn’t matter. Pontiac should have put the 2.8 liter V-6 in the car from the very beginning. Had they and the car may still be around today.

  • avatar
    319583076

    What a heap of shit!

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I had a 1986 SE with the V6 for about two years.

    It was slow but I suspect the V6 was off tune. The tranny was an auto; 3-speed I think?

    I do remember VERY much loving the interior. Very cozy space with a clean layout and Euro-style closed loop carpet that was salt-and-pepper colored.

    It looked about twice as fast as it went. I owned it in high school; at ten years old it looked better than anything else in the lot.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Wow. Chewed up and spit out without even 100K on the odometer. Someone, somewhere, at some point, treated this car like a garage queen for it to be 28 years old and only averaging 3.5K miles a year.

    Clean specimens are selling for well over $10K now and as others have noted, doing a Northstar V8 transplant on these really livens them up.

    The political issues at GM and the beancounter ass hattery is well known around the Fiero – you can read books on it. By the time GM had gotten them right, with the 1988 model with the V6 being downright good, the damage to the nameplate was done and the Fiero was dead. Not to mention other 2-seater fun to drive cars were already going out to pasture (the even more woeful Ford EXP died in 1988, the beloved CR-X going away in 1991). In addition, the Mazda Miata redefined the category with its 1989 (as a 1990 model) debut.

    The Fiero laid the road for the death of Pontiac – with the plastic cladded abominations of the 90’s into the early 00’s, along with disasters like the Aztek finishing the job.

    It’s a shame – the car had so much early potential. Politics, bean counting, and posturing took what could have been a Pontiac renaissance, and killed the whole brand instead.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Of course they fixed it with the last model year (88), that’s GM’s modus-operandi. I worked for a Pontiac dealer at the time and nearly bought our last 88. It sat on the lot until 1990, and the sales mgr wanted it gone. I recall they discounted it something like 30% off list price. I think the GT’s were very striking, but the proposed next generation cars were far less attractive (bigger, longer, longer overhangs). GM really is the text-book case of how to take tremendous talent and capability and water it down and shoot it in the foot.

  • avatar

    I had a GF with one when the car first came out. It was red. I recall wondering how a car that looked so good could drive so incredibly poorly. It was the 2M4, with autobox.

    She was not a driver…she’d complain if I got over 70 in any car…

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    I had a toy one of these as a kid. It was black and had light up headlamps. I loved that thing. I think it was roughly 1/18 scale in size and made of plastic.

    Why is it that every other car I see in the junk yard has been “modified” like this? Obviously the last owner was the one who modified the car but this really just looks tasteless. It seems like the lower one is on the economic ladder the lower one’s taste in car modifications is. Most of the modifications are flashy and trashy, trying to make the car look to be something better than what it is. In the process they just end up making the car look trashy.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    We had one of these for a few years. It was a Ferrari 328GTB replica built by the previous owner. He spared no expense during it’s construction. The interior was totally redone with the finest materials. The receipts added up to about the same as a real one. He justified it by claiming the cost to drive it was far cheaper. It even fooled actual Ferrari owners.

    Still, it was a Fiero underneath. It overheated often for some reason I can’t remember. The ride and handling were far too plush for my taste. You always felt the weight of what felt like the front end of a Celebrity behind you. The drivetrain was much heavier than it should have been. The V6’s power delivery did not back up the looks of the car. It was far from a high-rpm screamer. Ours had headers, and it still didn’t take the droning sound out. The plastic cable shifter was incredibly vague, and often broke. I’ve seen several nice examples in the junkyard just due to broken shift cables. Pretty much everything that broke on the car was made out of black plastic. It was everywhere.

    A nice commuter for a single person who just wanted image. For everyone else, it just felt like something built by a dysfunctional married couple. If they would have put in a high-revving Quad4 next to a close ratio gearbox, and a sportier tuned suspension then this really would have been something special. I doubt they would have sold more though. If you were alive in the 80’s, you knew all about “the car called the fire, that caught on fire”. That did more damage to the Fiero’s image than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If it was an 84 to 87 it had the T-Platform front end suspension from the Chevette and the arse end suspension from a Citation.

      ACK!

      In 1988 this was addressed – too little – too late.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      A colleague of mine bought one of the early ones and he seemed to like it well enough, but he did go through three engines – the first one was under warranty.

      The handling didn’t seem to live up to its looks, in my opinion, but I admit I never drove one of the later ones. I’d kind of like to try one again, since it’s been at least 25 years since I’ve sat in one.

  • avatar
    ex-x-fire

    They should have put the 1.8L & 1.8L turbo in these. No, they had to use the heaviest engines.

  • avatar
    mikehgl

    My little town here in central Michigan has a Fiero collector’s shop with a herd of Fieros in various states of disrepair straddling the side of the shop. Apparently, their is sufficient collectors interest to sustain a small business. The owner owns a striking late model Formula that I believe has a s/c 3800 stashed under the rear bonnet.
    The Fiero blew me away as a kid. The styling was striking and beautiful. I must say it has held up remarkably well, especially the later model ones.
    Too bad the General blew it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      They were certainly very stylish cars. Frankly, they don’t even look dated 30 years later. Whatever problems these cars had it certainly wasn’t their looks.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Too bad they didn’t produce these as used cars from the factory. Then their obvious faults could have been easily forgiven. The demographic that drove Fieros round these parts kept them in ultra-slovenly condition at all times. Different color doors, hoods, trunk, (engine cover). They were quite popular and had For Sale $900 obo cards permanently jammed in the rear window.

    Once the supply of old Chevette suspension pieces finally dried up at junkyards, allegiance shifted to used first gen Hyundai Tiburons.

    There’s a market for two door coupes out there. Just not expensive new ones.

    When will manufacturers learn?

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Don’t forget about the Buick Reatta, another ‘commuter car’ that GM threw at the wall and “hoped it would stick”.

  • avatar
    KindaFondaHonda

    Ah, memories from 1984.

    While in high school one of my close friends, Terry, was kinda a goofball. You know the type: careless at times, kinda clueless, and yet able to pull really good grades. We were part of a group of friends with shit-loads of school spirit, some decent athletic ability, and a penchant for enjoying our junior/senior years.

    I drove my 1983 Chevette CS 5-door I got for my 16th birthday to school every day. I usually picked Terry up on the way (along with another friend) because he didn’t have his own car. Not because his parents couldn’t afford one (dad was a physician) but because he was kinda, well, a goofball. Then one day out of nowhere, Terry calls me the night before and says he’ll pick me up the next morning for school. I didn’t think anything of it since he had driven his parents cars on occasion. Little did I know what was to drive up the culdesac I lived on the next day.

    While waiting for him on the porch, I see this brand new, bright white Pontiac Fiero pull up to the house. He honked and I thought: “What the…”. Yep. His dad had bought him a new 1984 Fiero. I had only seen them in Car and Driver and Motor Trend road test photos and at the Philadelphia Auto Show. Now Terry had one. Just like that. Goofball FTW!

    The Fiero was cool as hell. Small. Very low to the ground. Mid-engined. Yeah, it sounded and felt like any GM car I had been in before (common controls, engine sounds, handles, knobs, seat trim, etc.) But damn was that car just awesome to be in.

    I drove it once. It was peppy by 1984 standards and handled lots better than my Chevette. That Fiero was all about a fun image. Cramped? Yep. Unreliable? Probably. Rattly? Yes it was. No luggage space? Check! But none of that mattered once the sunroof panel was removed, the windows opened, and zipping around Montgomery County’s hilly, winding and curvy back roads. Sorta a goofball’s own mini-Corvette (detuned, of course).

    Funny, at the time I really knew little about the makeup of the Fiero. I don’t think I knew there was some of my Chevette in that little Pontiac. Who knew?!

    Anyway, lost touch with Terry after college and what ever happened to the Fiero. All I know is that it was really something special at the time.

    No matter it’s Chevette and X-Car pieces underneath.

    *Just thought of something: Terry’s Fiero looked exactly like the one Ferris Bueller’s sister (Jennifer Grey) drove in the movie. Exactly.*

    =)

  • avatar
    william442

    Rocker arm covers!

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    Fieros were my favorite Hot Wheels. I feel like driving one now might kill my childhood love for these cars.


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