In 1984-88, Pontiac built the only mid-engine production car in the US… the Pontiac Fiero. It was “sold” to the accountants at GM as a commuter car. It was light, reasonably inexpensive, and with the 2.5L ‘Iron Duke’ 4 cylinder it got up to 40mpg on the highway.
Enthusiasts saw the space frame with the plastic panels, light weight and slick looks as a great platform to build on. But there was a MAJOR problem…
The suspension truly sucked. The front suspension was largely raided from the parts bin of the lowly Chevette. The rear suspension was basically the front components from the Chevy Citation. The suspension did a good job of keeping the car from scraping the ground as it went down the road, but lacked serious sporting intent… and the car just looked like it wanted serious sporting intent. The available 3 speed automatic transmission was no engineering marvel, either. It robbed much of the economy the engine gave it…
… came late 1987. The suspension was redesigned. The GT had actual handling befitting the attractive looks.
The way to get one was either the GT or the Formula Fiero with a 5 speed. Either of those came with the 2.8L V-6. They could get the new WS6 suspension. And they were both pretty… with the Formula getting a little nod for being slightly lighter. Those very late 87s and 1988 cars also had better brakes and revised steering…
The “Mera” kit, pictured on the yellow car, was only available on GTs in 1987. Ferrari put a stop to them that year… the kits were actually installed by many Pontiac dealers.
But, why build a concept if we aren’t going to tweak it a little?
So, let’s make a few changes. Not much, because the car was actually quite nice in 1988 trim. So, if we pick up a 1988 Fiero GT, it will do nicely…
- We want more than 140hp, so let’s drop in a Cadillac Northstar V8. The 2004 STS had a 4.6L L37 with 300hp… that is more than twice the power of the stock engine.
- The transaxle would likely be the 4 speed automatic from the same car…
- The interior of the Fiero is pretty attractive as it sits. But that doesn’t mean that a nice pair of racing seats and a little carbon fiber might not be a nice addition… I was never really fond of the brushed aluminum.
- The “cage” around which the car is designed could also be strengthened.
- The Mera kits were only on 1987s… but why not drop one on a 1988 car? And paint it black. VERY black.
- To continue the theme of black, the wheels could be black as well.
That would make a pretty cool update of a classic… And it is really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that 1988 is 22 years ago… and that cars that I could have purchased new can be called classics.
- 53 Cool Concepts… Part XXXII… (lanebailey.com)
- 53 Cool Concepts… Part XXVI (lanebailey.com)
- Pontiac, A Eulogy: Excitement No More [Video] (jalopnik.com)