Is GM’s Italian Fiero Sized Disaster Turning Into A True Classic?

Apr 22, 2019 2 min read
Is GM’s Italian Fiero Sized Disaster Turning Into A True Classic?

This presentable 1984 Fiero is a much sought after special edition and has enjoyed all the preventative maintenance you could ever hope for

The Fiero, a car with so much notoriety it is hated as much as it is loved. By the end of the seventies the muscle car era was dead. America had to come up with something fuel efficient yet desirable, and dare we say it sporty for the new decade.

The United States had yet to build a mid engined car, despite the fact the original Stingray Corvette was meant to have been inspired by the European competition of the day. With a gap in the market thanks to the passing of the muscle car era the scene was set. Yet with oil prices still eye watering, how GM couldn’t afford to build an all out mid engined supercar, it had to be fuel efficient.

Having had the Fiero project signed off engineers were staring down the barrel of a $400 million budget, a pretty shoestring style offering from the glass offices above. With such a paltry amount of cash the Fiero was doomed before it began. The designers rooted through the skip of old GM parts and having spent nearly all their time and money on making a hardcore eighties wedge with pop up headlights, they realised things would have to be simple, if one’s being polite.

Despite the original concept being that of an Italian competitor to share the spotlight with Lambo’s and Ferrari’s, the result was farcical in comparison. The Fiero team were determined, however, and decided to go against the grain by designing the car with car designers and manufacturing engineers linking arms.

Suspension from the Chevette was used in the front, along with the front suspension from a Pontiac Phoenix, you read that correctly. To make matters worse, the engine couldn’t be a fire breathing V6 like the team had hoped for, and upon inspection of the parts bin the Duke iron block inline four was found. It developed 95 horsepower. Did we mention it’s made of cast iron?

Surprisingly upon release journalists were impressed by its handling capabilities, yet years of technical issues that saw roughly 20 percent of 1984 Fieros experienced engine bay fires, Autoweek reported in March 1988.

The car featured here is a particularly special version, however. With Fiero’s rusting away in scrap yards across the country, the unloved Pontiac has received a new lease of life via collectors who look past its mighty list of failures. This one is an Indy 500 Pace Car edition.

Sporting a whacky ivory over red interior with white exterior to match, it certainly looks different. This example is described as ready for the streets, with the vendor having undertaken an insane amount of preventative maintenance to ensure the new owner doesn’t die a rather brutal death.

With just 61,000 miles on the odometer it also enjoys low mileage which is reflected in the condition of the car according to the vendor. Despite its misgivings, the Fiero represents a sector of the classics market that is showing signs of growth. Perhaps it’s time to give the Fiero another look?

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