What could have been: Pontiac Fiero

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Most of us do remember the Pontiac Fiero. (1984-1988)
The small 2 seater car that GM didn’t want to turn into a sports car.

What killed it wasn’t the design, but the lack of power and poor quality.
The car did look great. In both the original design and the later fastback.

Here are some interesting photos of Fiero prototypes.
It shows us what the designers were thinking.
I think the production car ended up looking better than most of these…

Conversation 14 comments

  1. i have a soft spot for the fiero!

    alongside the testarossa and diablo, it was one of my dream cars when i was 6!

  2. those concepts look like the buick reatta.. how interesting..
    I think GM screwed up with the Fiero.. especially when they were there and could’ve cashed in on the small compact car crazy, 10 years early!!
    But of course that’s all GM does is screw up.. they never understand the market..

  3. Timing is everything. And back when it took 5-6 years to bring a car from idea to production, the odds weren’t in your favor. Even the MR2, with its better launch timing, was a money-loosing dissappointment for toyota.

  4. i always called it the Fire E O cause alot of them caught fire ! and have you ever driven one ? it feels like you where laying down in it when you drove it ! and that center column for the shifter was way up from your body, very akward indeed..

  5. “Aaah,how I miss the 80’s….”

    you can say that again.
    they weren’t so many foreign cars around back then

  6. Major design flaw was that in order to squeeze the engine behind the rear seat, GM had to decrease the depth of the oil pan.

    The pan held so little engine oil that the engine could starve for oil when making a long, sweeping turn when the oil level was a quart low–usually not enough to damage anything in a car with normal oil pan capacity.

    GM fixed this problem the best way they knew how: they sent each Fiero owner a label to paste on the dashboard cautioning drivers to always keep the engine oil level at the full mark.

    Brilliant work from GM!

  7. This is the chassis used in the Toyota MR2, Fact! In a GM it’s garbage, in a Toyota it’s great! BOOO and shame on Toyota!Imagine how mad the Toyota faithful will get, I can’t wait! Give it, I’m waiting.

  8. Haha, the “good-ole days” of the eighties are thankfully gone. Emissions-choked American cars forced many people to foreign cars, which eventually stole sales spots from America

  9. those sales were earnewd and lost, not stolen. companies like nissan and mazda earned customers due to high quality and gm and ford lost them for the opposite

  10. The fiero does not share a chassis with the MR2…

    The “design flaw” with the oil pan did occur, but only in 84’s (the first year), and had nothing to do with the height of the engine. The oil pan was changed for later year four cylinders to hold the standard amount of oil. V6 fieros never had a fire problem more significant than any other car. In 1988 virtually every aspect of the car was improved and the suspension that was designed for the car originally was put on the car. If you can luck out and find an 88 fiero, the last year, you will have an excellent car with none of the problems that plagued the earlier years. 88 fieros out-handled every U.S. car on the market, including the corvette. Interestingly enough, at the same time there was another GM car that was faster than the corvette…. the GN/GNX… and both were axed by GM…

    At the 20th anniversary fiero event in Pontiac MI, GM showed the next generation GT prototype, complete with a DOHC 3.2 liter turbocharged powerplant. This was the predecessor to the 3.4 liter DOHC that came in cars such as the lumina z34. Although it ended up being a problematic engine, even in it’s stock form it was considered a powerhouse of a powerplant. Imagine what one of those with a turbo would have been like in the nimble 88 chassis…

  11. I have a 1985 SE 5 speed manual Fiero. I put a 3.4 DOHC engine in it and I love it. I use is as my daily driver although since I have not hooked up the a/c yet the hot weather right now is spoiling my fun a little.
    There’s a very strong following for this little car both in the US, europe and even Australia.
    In it’s time it was at the forefront of manufacturing and design innovation, but to GM it’s only purpose as a commuter car was to bring down their CAFE (corporate Average Fuel Economy) figures.

    Fortunately for us the design team had other ideas about what the car should and should not be.

    Sure the car was destroyed by cost cutting and crporate policy but don’t be fooled into thinking that such things are limited to GM, to auto makers or to the 80’s. Such descision making is alive and well today in many industries.

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