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There's more than one way to skin a Pontiac Fiero

Yellowstone's 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT.
Yellowstone's 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT.

So it’s that time of year again…. Summertime… and every year I find myself doing the same thing. In the midst of the multitude of car shows and cruises I find myself obsessing over getting some car to toy around with. It’s never some outlandish unattainable supercar either. For instance last year it was the urge to get a Porsche 944 Turbo. Before that it was another C4 Corvette, I think. This year I find myself pinning over none other than a Pontiac Fiero?

Picture of a beautiful show winning Pontiac Fiero GT
Pennock's Fiero Forum

Now the funny thing is I never particularly loved, or really even liked the Fiero in years past. Growing up I even remember thinking they were kind of lame or even something of a teenage girl’s car. In fact I knew quite a few teenage girls back in the day whose first car was a Fiero. However, lately I have begun to realize I never gave this little car the fighting chance it properly deserved.

The Pontiac Fiero had a tough go right from the start getting shot down time and time again by the penny pinchers at GM. Originally designed as a small, two-seater sports car with a unique suspension and V6 engine the management and accountants at GM didn’t want to invest in another car in the same class as the Corvette. Ultimately, the car finally got approved during the oil crisis of the 80’s when it was downgraded to a fuel efficient commuter utilizing a 4 cylinder engine pumping out an uninspiring 92 hp and sharing suspension design with the Chevette/Citation. The car was able to reach its originally intended full potential with the 1988 GT model but of course by that time GM decided to pull the plug the very next year. So you can see the deck was stacked against the Pontiac Fiero almost from the get go.

However, this heartbreaking underdog story isn’t responsible for my change of heart. What really made me fall in love with this car to the point where I feel like I absolutely can’t live without one is its incredible versatility. I mean seriously the sky is the limit with these little cars.

First let’s talk engine swaps!

The fact that the Pontiac Fiero is a mid-engine car gives it coolness points right off the bat in my opinion but even cooler yet is that you can cram just about any GM V8 or V6 you want back there with minimal effort. For instance if you want to go the V8 route why not go with a LS1…. or maybe a LT1… or a L98…. or Northstar V8… or a ZZ4 crate motor…. or…. well you get the picture. Say you want to throw a V6 back there? Then you have your choice of the 3800 series I, II or III engines. Or you could go with a 3.4L out of an older Firebird or Camaro. The beauty is these engines all bolt up to the Fiero with minimal modification. Get yourself a wiring harness and a PCM with a tune and you’re good to go!

Now if you want to go even more extreme get a supercharged L67 or start adding some turbo charged goodness and you’ll have yourself a rocket on wheels!

Next let’s talk body swaps!

Since the Pontiac Fiero’s body panels are made of plastic it gives owners endless options for custom body modifications. You can go with an exotic clone like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari body. You can slap on a widebody kit and chop the top to have a mean looking street machine. You can keep it classy and just rock out with the original body. My personal favorites though are some of the models I’ve seen where people have made their own unique creations fueled by nothing more than their imagination. For instance there is a guy on the Pennock’s Fiero Form right now named Car-Lo who is making one of the baddest custom cars I’ve ever seen using a Fiero as the base platform… check out the RBS2 Fiero here for all of the build details!

You see the best thing I like about the Fiero is that you can make it whatever you want. It’s a great car in its own right. GM did a fantastic job making a structurally sound, strong and safe space frame chassis to build off of. The mid-engine design and even the later suspension from the 1988 cars give a great basis to start from. This car has so much potential. Whether you are looking for a solid track car, a 10 second quarter mile rocket or a sweet looking weekend cruiser the Pontiac Fiero can be any or all of these things and even better yet at the fraction of the price of almost any other supercar out there.

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