Final Act: 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT

Pontiac’s Fiero debuted in lackluster fashion, saddled with the long-derided “Iron Duke” four-cylinder motor that couldn’t cash the checks the racy body wrote. Like all things General Motors, they finally got the recipe right and then torpedoed the Fiero program, leaving cars like this ’88 GT here on craigslist the best and last editions of Pontiac’s mid-engined contender. This example is listed for $6,500 near Los Angeles. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Miguel for this find. The Fiero GT shown here is effectively blacked out, with color-matched mesh wheels and Nightshades-like trim on the taillight panel (which actually came from the factory like that). The meatier V6 was a welcome upgrade by the time this iteration rolled around, along with significant suspension improvements.

Inside, the biggest disappointment is the presence of an automatic transmission. These Fieros really are most desirable with the 5-speed manual, so I suspect the auto ‘box will keep some buyers on the sidelines. Still, everything else looks good, from the deeply bolstered sport seats to the map storage pockets on the door panels. T-tops were an option and not present here.

The seller says mileage is low at just over 54,000 and that the Fiero runs well. A clean title is included with the sale, along with that handy-dandy Haynes manual. Thankfully, these aren’t overly complicated cars to live with, and the GT-spec trim is the one you want if a Fiero has been on your project car short-list.

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  1. Howard A Member

    California pricing. A guy on my bicycle route has a bunch of cars, he had a car just like this, only a 5 speed and needed a clutch. He wanted $900 bucks for it. I suppose one that drives might be worth $3g’s in the real world. Pretty limited appeal here.

    • Quincy

      Yea, ‘limited appeal’ is right. There is a reason these things are cheap. And if you buy one have a fire extinguisher handy!

      • brianashe Member

        Ugh, please. The problem with fires only affected early cars for the first few months of the first year. This late V6 is as safe as anything else on the road.

    • James Schwartz

      I’ll agree that his price is high, but not by as much as you think. A low mileage ’88 GT brings decent money in the Fiero world. There is a premium price on the ’88 model due to the new steering and suspension system that was introduced for that one year only before the plug was pulled. I would say this car could sell fairly easy for around 5g’s. 3g’s is way too low for one of this condition. If you can find nice ’88 GT’s with this low of miles for 3 grand, let me know where they are, I’ll buy them all.
      My ’88 GT is even lower miles (33k original and documented), and I’ve turned down 8k offers for it. Part of that is because it’s in the very rare yellow color (241 made).

  2. Steve Cook

    Very nice looking car! I’ve owned 3 Fieros. An ’84, and 2 ’86’s. Very comfortable cars that really get the looks going down the highyway. Most “younger” people mistakenly refer to is as a “back to the future car” :)
    Just a heads up on your description above…….no Fieros came from the factory with T-tops…….only removeable sunroofs that stored above the spare underneath the hood up front. You’re welcome :)

    • Stinger

      I guess the two factory T-Tops I own must not be real then…lol

      There was 1252 factory T-Top cars made in 1988. You can verify the factory option by looking for the RPO code CJB on the inner fender tag.

      The T-top production breakdown is as follows:
      Base Coupe 339, Formula 299 and GT 614

      So yes, they did make them.

      • Gerald F Schoone

        Its subjective, but I’d put an 88 gt t-top very near the top. Seems not to rust (yeah body is fiberglass but frame isn’t) unlike say an 83 280zx, another fave which has all but disappeared

  3. irocrobb

    Canadian prices are a lot more but I would think that this car should command $5000 US money. Some young kid will buy one that is rough and needs tons of work for a thousand bucks and spend way more money and time than it is worth. Heck a decent paint job is 3000 bucks here.

  4. boxdin

    Stop slamming the Iron Duke! When Pontiac went racing w the Fiero they chose a version of the Iron Duke, not the enemic 2.8 V6. I’ve had plenty of each and the fastest on our local track is the 4cyl lowered w a bunch of Rodney Dickman access like his short shifter and more.

    • James Schwartz

      I think when most people slam the iron duke (which by then was actually called the “Tech 4”) they are referring to the engine in stock form, without any performance mods. In stock form, with proper maintenance the Iron Duke was a fantastic little engine for what it’s market was. My step father had an ’84 Citation II with the 2.5 and 4 speed. He sold it to his daughter and son and law with over 200k miles on it, and they had it until over 300k miles. A sturdy little engine which was great for that type of car.
      But in stock form, it was no performance engine. The Iron Duke that Pontiac raced with was FAR from stock. It COULD be made very powerful. But a stock Iron Duke was just a good basic economical durable four cylinder, not meant for high performance.
      The 2.8 wasn’t exactly a performance beast either, but if given a choice (again, in stock form), the 2.8 was much quicker than the 2.5

      • Dave

        I always wanted to see an Offenhauser engine in one of these.

    • Jerry

      I had the 2.5 auto in my ‘87 and to this day I think it was the quickest from a dead stop, not sure what the torque level on that was.

  5. Stinger

    It was so “lack luster” it sold more cars in 1984 than the base Camaro (not including Z28’s) 136,000 Fiero vs 127,000 Camaro. After all these years maybe a lil Fiero hating still going

  6. Hitch

    Took my iron Duke out for a1970 LT1 350. HANG ON!

  7. AzCuda

    A girlfriend had one of these hoopties. It was always breaking down and expensive to work on. Not worth messing with. Just my opinion.

    • theGasHole

      Really? So it was the opposite of most all other cars made in the 80’s then huh?

  8. CanuckCarGuy

    Bought one as a project last year…a lady-owned ’85 SE in very clean and solid shape. Problem was the components are so old, they disintegrate as you work through them…I got out of it quick without losing money, as you’ll always find someone who “just has to have one”. Great nostalgic car for many folks.

  9. Gary Numan

    The 88 V6 Fiero GT or Formula is the one to have! Yes, especially with the 5-speed.

    It is comical to read comments folks make about “fires” and Fieros when that issue is really so overblown. As is often in forums like this, everyone is entitled to their opinion but it is easy to figure out who really knows the truth about a particular vehicle or not or if they have really ever driven them.

    The V6 Fieros were a really neat car with a great factory sounding exhaust system. The 88’s with the manual trans were truly fun to drive. The 80’s was a resurgence of performance and in its day, the V6 Fiero was part of that wave.

    • Pat O

      Are you the Gary Numan who wrote the cool, synth-pop, song ‘Cars’?

  10. theGasHole

    The lumbar seats were quite a rare option on the Fiero.

  11. Brendon

    Wow, and here I thought this was so cheap the ad might be a scam. I just came back from Barrett-Jackson last weekend and there was an ’87 Fiero there (yes, with a 5 speed, and 20k miles) that sold for 9.5k. An ’88 is supposed to be the best year, if a solid/ clean example in a desirable color combo can be had, it’d be worth swapping the transmission, imo.

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