|1984 Pontiac Fiero SE||Back: rv7|
2.5L 4cyl. (aka the Iron Duke or Tech IV)
TBI Fuel Injection
92 hp @ 4000 rpm
134 ft-lbs @ 2800 rpm
4 speed manual transmission, close ratio. 4:10 final drive. (stock WS6)
2600 lbs. approx curb weight.
0-60: ~10.9 seconds.
1/4 mile: ~18.1 seconds @ 74 mph
Top Speed: 104 mph (5000 rpm in 4th)
When and how much:
$2800. April 1996 - August 1999. Sold with a busted transaxle and 19,500 km added to the odo.
The Fiero Story: (see the links
section for sites devoting pages to the Fiero's story.)
The "P" car was introduced in 1984. Originally designed as a two seat commuter car, it was a runaway sales hit in 1984. Pontiac added a V6 and a nose job in 1985, a minor restyle in 86, and a new suspension in 1988. Unfortunately, the Fiero story ends there, after only four years of production.
Some serious engine problems and fires resulted in the car getting an (undeserved) reputation for being unreliable and dangerous. One problem with mid engine cars is heat, and Fieros were not immune from this problem. (AFAIK) There was a bunch of bad connecting rods in the 2.5's that could result in engine failure, and possibly a cracked block. Hot oil splashing on the exhaust could ignite, and the plastic body panels would go up in a blaze of glory. The connecting rod problem was fixed in a massive recall, but it seems once a car is "tainted", sales drop off and it can take years to get them back. (Ford Pinto, Chevy Corvair come to mind.)
It might also be why my buddy Greg nicknamed my Fiero "Fiery Death Trap." (Coming from a guy who's car often looked like it was fogging for mosquitos, it's a pot/kettle/black kind of argument.)
It also continues the sad history General Motors has of killing it's best cars just as they are reaching their best. The 90's Impala SS, the Camaro/Firebird, the list goes on.
My Fiero Stories: (click on the picture for a bigger
I picked the car up in spring of 1996 with about 125,800 km. I say about because the odometer wasn't working properly. It would go 1km and stop. You'd hit a bump on the road, and it would start up again for one more kilometer. In 20 km, the odo would read about half of that. It was interesting, as the trip odo was working fine - ever try figuring out your gas mileage when the trip odometer and the regular odometer don't match?
Driving it was a blast. Keeping it running wasn't so much of a blast. Headlight motors on these things are a joke. $300 per motor, and non-rebuildable. One needed a set of brushes - no one sells brushes, just motors. I quickly learned how to open and close them by hand. It also seemed to attract tire trouble - two nails in one year.
I had decided not to
drive the Fiero in a Winnipeg winter. This lead to the purchase of
Low ground clearance, summer tires, rust, and a general feeling of driving
a hockey puck lead to the decision to park the Fiero for the winter.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature is a bit of a wench. There was no snow
on the road when I went to work in the morning:
The road trip:
Darren (the faithful mechanic and bud) and I decided to drive to California in 1996. We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For "straight through" driving directions, shift click here - (any popups are from Mapquest): . We actually went to Yellowstone park and Spokane, Washinton, so the total mileage was to be a lot higher - somewhere around 8,500 miles. Did I mention my Fiero did not have air conditioning? It also had the WS6 suspension, which included shorter gearing and a 4.10:1 axle ratio. You might be able to guess what happens when you let a couple of leadfoots loose in Montana with a car that has good tires and handling...
If you ever have the luck to pass through
Butte, Montana, feel free to moon Milo's garage. They suck, but first
- what happened to the Fiero? Well, GM is concerned about noise,
so one of the timing gears in the Fiero is nylon. That's plastic.
The other gear is steel. The gears don't get enough oil. Ray
likes to drive at 100 rpm short of redline for 200+ miles. The nylon
gear loses it's teeth. The Fiero stops running. The VISA card
Back to Milo's garage... we had the car towed back to Butte, and it was Milo's or the dealer. The tow truck driver recommended Milo's. After visiting Milo's and calling the dealer, it was decided that Milo's was expensive, but the dealer was REALLY expensive. In retrospect, after hearing them call it a "crotch rocket" I shoulda gone to the dealer.
At this point, Darren and I rented a 96 Bonneville and finished the trip to California. In retrospect, we would have cooked in Nevada. The temperature was 118 F. Did I mention the Fiero had no air conditioning, just a sunroof? I like it hot, but that was too hot for me. Throw in a couple of nasty sunburns and it would have been too much.
Back to Montana, pick up the Fiero. First thing I noticed is the fact they didn't even change the oil filter. Yuck. At least it's running, and they did manage to shave a few hours off book rate to get the gear off and on. Broke but happy. Unfortunately, the happy part was short lived. At the next gas stop, the Fiero was doing an Exxon Valdeez impression with a nasty oil leak from the timing cover. One not-so-polite phone call later, and we were visting a shop that knew Milo's garage. They wouldn't be able to fix it for a couple of days, so we worked out a deal to have Milo pick up the bill when I got it fixed in Canada.
South Dakota badlands, one overloaded Fiero and an oil leak. (inside of passenger tire)
I only wish the adventure ended there... Milo's forgot a couple of bolts that are commonly used to hold in stuff like the alternator. After one dead battery (push start) the car overheated and puked all over the North Dakota interstate. We refilled the radiator from a stream off a side road. Somehow, I think this is voiding the warranty on my Club:
Unfortunately, the car was never the same. The oil leak never was 100% fixed, and the overheating did a number on various wires and cables underhood. The car ended up blowing the transmission or a half-shaft. I had already purchased RV11 and one project car is about all I can handle... so I sold it.
I don't want you to get the wrong impression - it wasn't only bad news with this car. It was always a blast to drive, and until I bought RV11 I was still considering a V8 swap, or replacing it with an 86 SE. I still think Fieros are a blast to drive. There's a local Fiero with a 3.4 Twin Cam in it that looks like a hoot to drive! Next time I see him, I'll try and get pictures or links. I have some video which will eventually be on the multimedia page...
August 99. Last pics before I sold it.
More pictures of other Fieros: (click 'em for bigger versions)
V8 Fiero taken at the 1996 Fiero Show in San Diego, CA.
Car and Driver pic showing the Fiero spaceframe.
A couple more Fiero pics.
Spec Pages (from www.phs-online.com)
Note: These are 800x600. I did it so you could
actually read the whole page. Consider it a warning if you are on
a slow link...
Darren was once again, a willing helper/victim for most of the repairs. My mother, for donating her garage for winter storage.