Not a Kit: 1988 Pontiac Mera

We aren’t typically fans of kit cars, especially ones that are intended to copy the looks of a different brand. The Pontiac Fiero is one of the most popular and commonly used donor cars for Ferrari and Lamborghini kit cars, so when we saw the listing for this survivor 1988 Pontiac Mera we initially thought it was just another poorly built kit car. After closer examination however, we discovered that it wasn’t a kit car, but a dealer option Mera. These factory built Ferrari 308 lookalikes are rare and this one can be found here on eBay with a BIN of $16,950 and a current bid of $5,100.

The Mera option was only offered in 1987 and part of 1988. The car started life as a regular Fiero, but was shipped to Corporate Concepts to have their Ferrai 308 styled body installed. Other then the body and the addition of a few special trim pieces, the car was identical to a standard Fiero. The interior of this car isn’t anywhere near as luxurious as a real 308, but its in great condition and parts should be cheap to replace. Unlike a Ferrari, just about every part of this car can be found at your local parts store or salvage yard.

The Mera is powered by Pontiac’s L44 2.8 liter V6 that was found in the Fiero Formula and GT and was rated at 140 hp. While this v6 is only two tenths of a liter smaller then the 308’s V8, it produces about 100 hp less. On the upside, this car is about 300 lbs. lighter and will be a fraction of the cost to maintain. The seller claims this car runs great and that the Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox shifts nicely, however they admit the A/C currently isn’t working for an unknown reason.

This car really looks great and is probably one of the few of these that hasn’t had the badges switched for Ferrari ones. In the two years that these cars were produced only 247 were built before Ferrari sued and production came to a halt. This means that the Mera is actually rarer then the 308. With that said, would you rather have the affordable Mera or the real deal 308?

If the white ’87 Mera above isn’t flashy enough for you, there also just happens to be another Mera on eBay right now. This 1988 Mera is painted in Flash Red and is very flashy. Unlike the other Mera, this one isn’t a survivor and has new rims, exhaust, and GTS badges. This one is going to take a little bit of work to look its best, and possibly a new set of period rims, but will likely sell for less. We only wish this one had been left original, as there were fewer of these Fiero GT based cars built.

Josh About Josh

I have been hunting down barn finds since childhood and my passion for automobiles has only grown stronger through the years. When Jesse told me about his idea for this site, I was more than a little excited. Before he had even finished the site, I was already writing the very first posts! And it has been an amazing trip ever since!

Comments

  1. Tony

    nOT QUITE A “FACTORY OPTION” “The MERA was not endorsed by GM but was a Pontiac dealer option similar to that of ordering a conversion van.” from http://www.fiero.net/mera/article.html

  2. knickerbocker

    Mera looks more like Merde. Sorry.

  3. Rick Rothermel

    Right. This is yet another ‘saleproof’ Fiero rebody from a kit car manufacturer, offered through a handful of Pontiac dealers at the time. The only ‘factory’ connected was for the fiberglass layup. And for $16,900, you could probably fond a real 308.

  4. scot c

    ~ i remember the flap and the suit by that Italian firm. first time i saw one at a Pontiac dealer i thought i’d lost my mind.

  5. Sam

    I actually love that Barn Finds has chosen to spotlight this quirky vehicle. The story is great and I can’t believe this was a factory/dealer option at one time, I’m reading it thinking how did they get away with that then two lines later see that Ferrari sued. Man their lawyers must have been busy back then with all the Ferrari-wannabe action, most of it I presume stemmed from the 365 Spider replica used on Miami Vice. In fact, this thing reminds me of the Testarossa kit featured in Popular Mechanics and used in only couple of episodes for stunt work even though the driving they did with it was not very dangerous looking and they drove the real Testarossa hard in some scenes too. Watch interest in these jump when Tarantino uses one for his homage to 80s exploitation flicks, when it does come.

  6. J. Pickett

    Rather have the real 308, cam belts and all.

  7. Lemble

    These were called Yenko’s in the 60’s and command big dollars now!

  8. Darel

    Who would buy one of these, only to have to tell onlookers that it’s NOT a Ferrari, it’s a fake?

    I get hot rod kit cars and such (thus preventing the chopping-up of yet another original ’32 Ford body) but not when you’re trying to pretend you’re something you’re not.

  9. Paul

    I’ve got one of these and have loved owning it for close to 20 years.
    Some people try to deride it, but the joke’s on them, because the car looks and drives great and I have gotten a lot of joy for the money.
    The fun and economy of it and the fact that it is a Fiero GT, with low maintenance costs and exotic looks, is excellent.
    Most people don’t know a real car, from a replica car, and most F-car or other exotic car owners don’t drive their cars enough anyhow!

  10. Michael

    That is a nice Mera, and well worth the money. That dealer kit copied the Ferrari 308, and copied Lambo’s 1966-72 Miura name
    , the very first super car, and I believe the best, with around 400 h.p.! Getting back to Fieros. I own a ’87 GT that I completely went through the suspension, and love it. Yours, however, is an ’88 and already has the suspension up-grade! I hate to see someone sell a nice car like yours, that has been taken care of so well!

  11. TGM

    In the end you still have a Fiero with a fake Ferrarri look. It was cheezy then, it’s cheezy now.

  12. Paul

    That’s your opinion and we all know what opinions are like….besides, you just sound jealous of something that has nothing to do with you.
    Would you like some more whine to go with that cheese? Hahaha!

  13. Julian

    I love guys who bash this car. If you had one you may take it personaly. I don’t. I have a dealer option car that does not say Ferrari and yet gets looks. I also get an oil change for under twenty bucks. It’s worth about 10 times a base Fiero goes for and I’m happy. Feel free to bash away. :)

  14. reholmes

    As folklore has it, the name was not a mondagreen for Miura, but rather came from aMERicA.

    A fellow came up to me in a parking lot one day, walked around car several times and said, “I had one of these for five years, and it was a piece of crap. I love the looks, but I’ll never own another Ferrari.”

    In general, Fiero bashers, and Ferrari 308 lovers never owned either.

    • batvette

      “In general, Fiero bashers, and Ferrari 308 lovers never owned either.”

      Great point, and completely true… though I would take exception if the Fiero was an 84. IIRC first year issues included body panels coming off at speed…. only available with a 4 cyl… (probably faster than the Camaro of the same era with a 4 cyl) and the homely notchback roof body. Loved the GT with the flying buttress roof and low, aero front bumper. By 88 it was a pretty respectable machine, which is why GM in its infinite wisdom killed it. Like the Pontiac Solstice GXP coupe, it languished as a mediocre convertible but the last year they made about 1000 of the wicked looking coupes. Had it gone on it they would have sorted the convertible’s gripes which centered around ride quality and body strength. The coupe will be a big collector’s item someday.

    • reholmes

      OBTW, I also own a McBurnie–love it!

  15. batvette

    While I too have the “why try to be something you’re not” sentiment, what Paul said is the absolute truth: real 308/any Ferrari owners NEVER drive their cars, and if more of them did the world would have to concede from all of them on flatbed tow trucks they are just pretty Fiats.

  16. D of Dallas

    I own Mera #82 of 247 made. The fact is I can drive my Mera and enjoy the attention and Italian styling without the high maintenance bills, in fact I maintain it myself, something I couldn’t do with a real Ferrari.
    I have also received FREE services just for letting businesses (window tinting, exhaust shop, steak house etc…) take a picture and post it to their Facebook. Oh, and when I do sell it, I’ll at least break even if not pocket a few grand.
    So, if your one of those people that want the real 308, save up your money for years and years and buy one. Then save even more to maintain it. Soon you’ll enjoy it setting in your garage because your afraid to put miles on it. Meanwhile, I’ll be having the time of my life.

  17. John

    To me the question is sorta like asking, “Would you rather have a real girl or a blow up plastic one.” The Fiero makes me sad everytime I think of what it could have been.

  18. Karl

    Fiero’s are fun, inexpensive and great to have. So a yanko version pontiac ripped of a ferrari design, when people ask I tell them mine is a an american GM version of the 308 like the yanko, most hot rodders are okay with that. The badging is a whole other issue, mine came with ferrari badging, i’ve tried to get some Mera badging and it is very pricey and rare compared to a few bucks for ferrari badges. So reluctently I’ll clean up & replace the ferrari badges with new ones. I hope to put ‘pontiac mera’ somewhere on the car as well.

  19. E.S. Mulder

    haters goin to hate, but stuff a 3800 SC in the back of a Mera and its good night!
    as I type….. this is happening to my 87 Mera. we will let you know how that goes ;] \m/

    stock Mera are fine…..but 240+ horsepower and drivable. gimmie a Fiero all day!!!
    then I race the 308 and smoke ‘em!! race for pinks and own him!!

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