By on September 2, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is an ever-desirable Pontiac Fiero dressed in an elegant, Canadian-designed fiberglass body.

Let’s talk about a forgotten car with two fake names: Enterra Vipre

Rare Rides touched on Fiero twice previously: Two parts on a stock Fiero Formula from 1988, and a thrusting and elongated Zimmer Quicksilver luxury coupe from 1986. If you want pure Driving Excitement and Fiero background information, click those links there. Today’s Enterra was conceived around the same time as the Quicksilver but was less ambitious, less luxurious, and more Canadian.

Before the name Enterra was chosen, the company behind it was called Cymbria. The Canadian venture was created via some $10 million in federal grants offered by the Canadian Scientific Research Council circa 1984. Cymbria used the funds to build a high-tech fiberglass body facility. Apparently, one Cymbria was produced in 1984 (the one for sale right now), and some people around Vancouver, B.C. drove it at the time. Said people claimed the Cymbria had some serious problems. The company went silent.

Then, early in 1987 Cymbria was back! Except the venture was renamed and relaunched as Enterra. There was another press event at the end of January 1987, and (another) grand opening at the factory in Burnaby, a southeastern suburb of Vancouver. Enterra didn’t call themselves a car company per se, but rather “a styling exercise.” Setting the bar low was the important thing. Their “new” model (the same one as before) was called Vipre.

Enterra’s designers added sweeping curves and a longer aerodynamic nose to the Fiero, as well as nearly 17 inches of overall length; the stretch was not quite up to the Quicksilver’s 28 inches. Enterra proceeded to do absolutely nothing to the Fiero’s performance (always its Achilles heel) but spent some time draping the interior in fine leather materials. Included were ruched leather seats and door panels, and those luggage strap door pulls off a van. Said straps matched the 1980s Gladiator-quality wood panel on the instruments.

Intended for buyers who wanted a different sort of coupe look without spending an arm and a leg, Enterra priced the Vipre at a reasonable $30,000 CAD. That was twice the price of a standard Fiero in 1987. For that money, the work performed by Enterra turned the Fiero into a “sleek mid-engined sports car,” powered by GM’s 2.8-liter V6 of 140 sporty horses.

The Enterra people convinced GM and at least some Pontiac dealers to offer the package, which was applied only to high-spec Fiero SEs. The cars were shipped to Vancouver where they were transformed. Aside from this early 1984 test (concept?) Cymbria-Enterra example, less than 40 Vipres were sold. The Enterra operation went bust by 1988, and nobody noticed. Wonder if the Canadian government felt they got their money’s worth out of the $10 million?

Today’s 1984 example has accumulated 46,000 miles over the past decades, and made its way to rural Idaho. I especially like how the sleek, luxurious mid-engine Enterra used the rear lamps from the old Cavalier hatchback. Yours for… $25,000.

[Images: Enterra, The Province]

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15 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Very Exclusive 1984 Enterra Vipre, Luxurious Canadian Sports Car...”

  • avatar

    Spelling correction: It’s Burnaby, not Barnaby.

  • avatar

    Usually government largesse is centered in Ontario or Quebec but politician’s would occasionally throw a bone to a western company. 1984 could either be the Paul Martin Liberals or Brian Mulroney Conservatives. Probably the former since they lost the election.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Lou. Quite true. However the federal government did contribute money towards the Volvo Halifax assembly plant(s) which operated from 1963 to 1998 and assembled up to 12,000 cars annually. Their plant was the first to assemble a Volvo outside of Sweden.

      The New Brunswick government famously contributed to Bricklin which eventually manufactured 3,000 cars in New Brunswick.

      The above of course pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars loaned/donated/granted to the Big 3 for their facilities in Ontario. As well as Ste Therese Quebec GM facility which operated from 1966 to 2002.

      The feds also contributed over $100 million to the Hyundai facility in Bromont Quebec which only operated from 1989 to 1994.

      There were also financial incentives regarding Toyota in Cambridge Ontario, Honda in Alliston Ontario and the earlier unsuccessful VW facility in Barrie Ontario.

      Not sure if any government money was involved in the Rootes Assembly facility on the Golden Mile (Eglinton Avenue East) in Scarborough (part of Toronto) which operated from circa 1952 to circa the late 1960’s. That building is still standing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    $30k CAD in 1987 would be ~$53k USD today – wow. Those 40 takers back then had to be True Believers.

  • avatar

    are those Cavalier taillamps? I guess they are keeping it all GM

    • 0 avatar

      From seeing just that first pic, I thought this was a 3rd-generation F-Body with a Lotus Esprit-esque front clip! That hoodline looks longer, and I thought I saw a hint of a back hatch window where the flying-buttress panel is!

      Nope! A sort of Fiero-rarri, kind of like the many 1st-generation Seville hack-jobs from the late 1970s!

      And yes, those look like Cavalier Hatchback tails, circa 1987 or so!

  • avatar

    Those rear wheel wells look INCREDIBLY janky — this is low-grade kit car stuff.

  • avatar

    Crush it.
    And crush ALL Fieros and their derivatives.
    Or as Conan would say: “Crush your enemy, drive them before you, hear the lamentations of the women!”

  • avatar

    I’m just going to say it: I’m sure these body panels are junk, and the execution isn’t great, but the styling works for me.

    Hate away!

  • avatar

    Looks like a prop from a movie adaptation on auto industry executive shenanigans, from a book written by Jacqueline Susann, or Harold Robbins. *facepalm*

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    So, garbage wrapped in hot garbage is worth actual money?!

  • avatar

    That car looks off in pretty much every way.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    For that era this is actually a nice looking vehicle, in pictures.
    Up close that may be a different matter.

    I had an uncle, who was fairly close to me in age. He purchased a Fiero AT, new when they first came out. Thought that he was getting a ‘sports car’.

    His impressions changed when he could not keep up with my Honda Civic 3-door hatch with a 5 speed MT.

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