1984 Pontiac Fiero: Pace Car Special

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Pace cars through the years have been a mixed bag. Some, like the late Monte Carlo pace car, were disappointing. Others had a bit more bark to their bite, but the sad fact remains the dealer dress-up versions of the real thing are often far tamer versions of the car that hustles around Indy. This 1984 Pontiac Fiero pace car here on eBay is a little bit of both, since it’s at least equipped with a manual transmission – making it one of 200 so equipped.¬†

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With just under 34,000 miles, there’s plenty of life left in this Fiero. At the heart of it, you still have a survivor-grade example of Pontiac’s mid-engine sports car, thankfully with the row-it-yourself option. The one obvious blemish is the burn in the driver’s seat fabric, but the sale includes a replacement seat insert in the correct colors.

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The trouble with these replicas is that the actual pace car was so darn sweet it’s hard not to be bitter about driving the watered down version. In addition to improved mechanical specs, the on-track car also wore a set of sharp Centerline wheels and custom side and rear skirts to give it better aerodynamics and pleasingly chunky proportions. Oh, and it also had a custom ram air-style intake with the cowl induction above the roof to feed the engine. It was, quite simply, bad to the bone and one of the fastest pace cars in Indy’s history.

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This engine may be a venerable GM powerplant, but it falls well short of what ran at Indy. The actual pace cars enjoyed 234 bhp and could hit 136 mph on the track, revealing the true potential of the platform (and possibly making GM nervous at the prospect of pillaging Corvette sales.) This car looks like a fair alternative, with the preferable transmission option and sub-40K miles. But I sure would be tempted to turn it into the real thing. Would you?

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Comments

  1. randy

    I would absolutely turn it into the real thing.
    If my memory serves me correctly, there were 4’s or 6’s available in at least some of these. These made a great platform for cool kit cars as well.
    For the most part, the Fiero was a real turd though.

  2. Jake crawford

    Real GM history here: neither a sports car nor a econo car
    Sold wonderfully first year, motor trend ride of year, new styling for GM, loads of upfront r and d, development costs, gone by Bush election
    Better choices for an eighties purchase

  3. hhaleblian

    Meh, I’d rather have a roached out 356. For the same money of course. Didn’t these things like to spontaneously combust?

  4. Steve

    Burn baby burn

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    Fiero, Mustang II, Bricklin. Back to reality please. Thank you.

  6. jim s

    only driven 1200 miles since 2004, i wonder why. i like the look of the car, manual transmission, and low miles. i drove some fieros and liked the V6/5 speed the best. loved the sound the V6 motor made. i found all the manual transmission car to be fun and the automatics to be a pain. for SCCA autocrossing some of the fieros were classed in CS with the miatas. nice find

  7. SEAN C

    356 for the same money?

  8. Tom Hall

    Why only 1200 miles since 2004? My guess: they’re reducing their risk of having to change the plugs – or, worse yet, the steel tube exhaust manifolds that crack.

    I don’t recall the V6’s catching on fire – unless the owner attempted to change the plugs themselves.

    And, to be fair, I also don’t recall another car that created so much buzz/traffic at the dealership in the 15 years I was there.

    What might have been……

  9. Keith

    Here we go with the fire comments……………

  10. Dave Hollen

    The Fiero’s were not nearly as bad a car as they were blamed for being. While it’s true some of the 84 four bangers had oiling issues that did let them run very hot and they did combust – the V-6 cars were fine – and by 1987 they had a lot of the suspension issues ironed out and the cars were quite acceptable. I have a 1986 with a ZZ-4 Chevy small block in it with the 1988 suspension components – and it’s a very respectable automobile. Most folks who knock these cars never owned one or if they did it was the four cylinder early cars which, indeed, were dismal.

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  11. piper62j

    When I was a GM service manager at the time these Fieros came out, the dealer sent me to the GM training center in Dedham, MA. There sat a brand new Fiero that we took completely apart, down to every nut and bolt to fully understand the concept of Pontiacs’ mid engine compact.. I actually like these cars and overall design. Granted, they didn’t take off like other models, but for a puddle jumper in its’ day,, not to shabby..

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  12. Brakeservo

    I worked for a Pontiac dealer when these came out – typical GM rubbish! The owner of the store drove, or rather, attempted to drive our first one around the block. The “Iron Duke Four” threw a rod .. .. ..

  13. Keith IH

    I had a regular 1984 2M4 with a manual gear box. I bought it as a 2-year old used car. Mine never caught fire (had a friend with one that did). Mine, however did have its own issues. Two cracked exhaust manifolds, two broken alternator brackets and a cable gear linkage that wouldn’t allow me to shift into 2nd if the temperature dropped below freezing. Luckily, the warranty and subsequent recalls covered everything except for the shifting problem. That never got any better. It was umder-powered, didn’t handle all that well and was poorly built. It was still kind of fun though. The best thing was the stereo (speakers in the head rests seemed really cool at the time).

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  14. Bryan

    A friend of mine bought a new 84 Fiero with the standard 4 cylinder “Iron Duke”. The car was recalled because of fire hazard; the result of the engine throwing a rod and splashing oil on the hot exhaust pipes or manifold. At least that’s what he told me all those years ago.

    • Mark Burich

      I had the 88 model. The fires in the earlier models were supposedly caused by leaves Etc collecting below the hood just below the windshield. There’s an exposed resistor coil on the firewall that would get hot and catch leaves and Pine needles on fire. The later models had a modification made to minimize the collection of leaves etc

      • Bryan

        That makes a lot more sense to me, Mark. I was always under the impression that Pontiac’s 4cyl was reliable, so it was a hard to believe the fires were caused by a thrown rod!

  15. charlie

    A friend had one with the 6, and it was, for the time, a really great small car. In the last year, GM got it almost right, sort of their story all around – the late Corvairs, the last Allante (’93), the last Riata’s, were all much better cars than the early ones. With the Corvette they didn’t give up on the ’54 which was not a great car, I owned one, but GM kept on making it better and worse and better. I used a friend’s ’62 a lot, it was great, but a friend’s ’83 was a noisy, rattle trap, dog. By ’96, another I had experience with, they were great again. So a late Fiero is really fun, just don’t get hit by an Escalade.

    • John b

      You must mean ’84? Corvette did not have a model in ’83

  16. charlie

    right

  17. Brandon Racine

    I worked for a Pontiac dealership and loved the Fiero from first sight. I own three two 1986’s a GT and a SE. I also own a 1984 Pace car Fiero. The 1986 SE I turned into a 1985 GT and is a daily driver in the summer. The 86 GT I have stored in the air for 30 years. The Pace car has never been left outside and all are original paint and in excellent shape. Only modifications are on the SE sporting a 3.4 with comp cam and original fuel injection. Used 3.1 cylinder heads and blue printed and balanced. All have the Manual four speed trans. People today don’t even know what a Fiero is for the most part. The Fiero is so easy to work on and parts available which is nice. I have bought out dealership new old stock parts and used parts for years to stockpile and am set for life. The issue with oil leaks and the burning issues are not an issue as long as the heat shields and deflectors are installed properly and the vehicles are maintained. Only thing I find lacking on the Fiero is the plain flat hood. That issue I modified on my 86 SE when I converted to a 85 GT.(used original 85 GT parts). I prefer the v6 myself and have build Fiero’s for over thirty years. My first car was a new 1981 Triumph TR7 Victory edition and that’s what drew me to the Fiero. The WEDGE the shape of things to come!

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