Reader Question: The Fiero?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Paul asks: What do you think about the Pontiac Fiero?

My reply: The Fiero’s story is a tragedy on par with anything Shakespeare came up with. In concept, it was brilliant. A composite-bodied and mid-engined affordable sporty commuter car. But cost-cutting (and jealousy from Chevy, which saw the Fiero as a threat to the Corvette) turned it into a plastic-bodied Chevette, at least initially. Some of the cheap-outs were addressed as the car’s life progressed, but because it arrived on the market so badly compromised its reputation never recovered and that ultimately sealed its doom. I devoted an entire chapter to this car in my book, Automotive Atrocities – which I think you can still get on Amazon.

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  1. I have a 1988 Fiero. Fun but truly awful outward vision. Not particularly quick or fast either.

    If you want to drive one fast through corners, get a 1988. Much better suspension than the pre-88 models. The pre-88 had a rear bump steer issue that was fixed for 1988, along with much better front suspension. There is a fix for the earlier models but it is fairly expensive. Cheaper to find a good 88.

    If you want one with more power, buy one already done. The engine/trans swaps are not overly complex but are fiddly, time consuming and not cheap for serious upgrades. I have seen finished V8 1988s for less than the price of the V8 swap kit. (V8 Archies)

    There was one in Edmonton a while back that was professionally built with a claimed 500hp 383 stroker and beefed up Getrag 282. $10,000 asking price. Probably cost 2-3X that.

    Check Pennock’s Fiero Forum for lots of very cool builds and the headaches encountered. Even one with a VW TDI.


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