Reader Question: Fiero Musings?

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

Kevin asks: Great show on Freedom’s Phoenix (here). Thanks for reminding me about the Fiero. My favorite memory is of driving one on the freeway during rush hour, outside of Boston, when the gas pedal stuck to the floor! Thought I’d had it . . . finally got it unstuck after pumping frantically. And it was like parking a tank, especially in reverse. They were cute though.

My reply: Luckily, it took awhile for Fieros to build speed! Assume you had the four cylinder-powered (as it were) model. The V6 GT was reasonably quick; you might have found yourself in trouble!

The car was Shakespearean – almost – in its tragedy. What could have been a great car began life as a great-looking car… the looks hiding some shoddy goods. GM cut costs wherever it thought people wouldn’t notice, but they did – because you couldn’t miss the problems.

To be fair to GM, there was also an unanticipated problem: As happened with the Corvair 20 years earlier, what had been intended to be an economical commuter car was bought up by people who saw it as a sporty car – and drove it accordingly. Often, disappointingly.

Unlike the Corvair which was actually a good-handling car (if you followed the recommendations about air pressure in the tires) with decent-for-its time acceleration, the early Fiero had the underpinnings of an economy car – and the engine to go with it.

At least until GM rebooted the design, by which time it was too late.

Still, these cars are interesting because of their unusual layout – including the space frame/composite plastic exterior. And they have a lot potential, too. I’d actually like to have one – chiefly because they’re modern enough to be daily driven but not too modern. No air bags; no driver “assists.”

Make mine a V6 GT with the WS6 handling package!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have and 88 Formula. Great car but horrid visibility rearward. Handling is awesome.

    There are minor issues easily fixed.
    Only 140hp/170tq, but most front wheel drive packages out of later model GM units fit without much trouble for those who need more power and gearing. V8 Archie has everything for those who want SBC huge power. Gen II/III 3800s/c is another good option. Second one coming so I can modify it with L67/F40 6 speed as mine is too original and clean to cut up.

    Front is light and aerodynamically not quite right. Can get light at 110mph+. A 1″ drop in the front and relocating the battery to the front fixed the issue.

    Biggest issue for me now is the damn thing is made for the young and flexible. Entry and exit are no longer easy or dignified. Might be time for a CTS-V for these old bones.

  2. Fiero, what a frickin name. Makes my hiney burn just to say it. Oh, I don’t know, I had a bunch of habaneros and jalos on my burrito last night. I have a major fiero today. Anybody got a “Tucks” handy?

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