Digestible Collectible: 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1988 pontiac fiero formula

As I continue my occasional look at cheap, mid-engine sports cars of the Eighties, one enormously popular car is clearly missing. The Fiero was GM’s attempt at producing an efficient, yet potentially fun car on the cheap.

Unfortunately, GM mostly succeeded at producing a platform for awful Lamborghini replicas.

Parts-bin engineering meant much of the Fiero’s underpinnings came from Chevettes and Citations, two vehicles not well known for performance. In 1988, however, a suspension redesign wholly transformed the car. It’s been said that the Fiero was killed to maintain the Corvette’s place atop the GM performance mountain — I can see that.

The Quad4 HO engine, soon to be found in the Oldsmobile W41 package cars, would put out nearly 200 hp in a lightweight, well-handling package that would surely challenge the C4.

This 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula doesn’t have the showy body kit of the GT model, but has all of the performance goodies. I’m not certain, but I think the WS6 handling package is fitted, too, which makes this even more desireable. If more power is needed, kits are available for small-blocks, Cadillac Northstar V8s, and I’ve seen homebrew Quad4 installations, too.

The Fiero has a reputation for engine fires, but these kinks have generally been worked out by the aftermarket. I want some time behind the wheel of a Fiero. At least when clothed in the original body panels, they look like a barrel of fun.

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5 of 34 comments
  • Snapperhead Snapperhead on Oct 14, 2015

    Yeah! You should really have all the real & complete facts together before you post something. You loose all creditably on anything you say otherwise.... Vince

  • Gedrven Gedrven on Oct 14, 2015

    Here and there for the last decade, I get a bug to find one of these, swap the engine, and learn to drive an MR that still has Chevy-priced parts. Then I take one look at the interior of even a nice one, which is enough that the bug doesn't come back for at least a year or two.

  • Kmars2009 Kmars2009 on Oct 14, 2015

    MR2 was far superior. Fiero was a nice attempt...eventually!

    • Snapperhead Snapperhead on Oct 14, 2015

      I wouldn't bet on that one... I've spent enough time in both and they both have good and bad... Make sure your comparing year for year too..

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Oct 14, 2015

    They look like fun and lovable cars, I rode in one once years ago and it was peppy for a light, little car like that but it was no match for the Celicas and MR2s that Toyota built. The problem now is that MR2s are in the same price range as nice Fieros and while they don't lend themselves to hot swapping big inches they don't need to. Base HP is fun, grabbing a newer I4 from a corolla and a turbocharger nets you 200+ and doesn't rip the drivetrain to hell. It's kind of a collectible focused on the love of the car than the fascination of the power itself. It's the same market for those who collect XJS, you have to love the car because there are better vehicles that do the same thing.