Last One Built: 582 Mile 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT

If I had a dollar for every car manufacturer across the globe that has collapsed in the last 100-years or so, I wouldn’t be a rich man. However, I would have a reasonable deposit for something desirable that I could park in my workshop. The industry remained relatively stable from the 1960s to the new Millenium. Then the Global Finacial Crisis struck, and many struggling brands finally said goodbye. For a lot of people, Pontiac was one of the hardest losses to bear. This was a brand that had produced its share of exciting cars, and the thought of not seeing their latest offerings gracing showrooms hit many enthusiasts hard. Long before the final curtain fell, the Pontiac Fiero disappeared. Its life was short but sweet, and one of its main claims to fame is that the company managed to lose a substantial amount of money on every car sold. This 1988 Fiero GT is a significant car because it was the very last one to roll off the production line. It was initially given away in an employee raffle and has remained with that person ever since. He has decided that the time has come to part with it. The Fiero is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, and has been listed for sale here at GAA Classic Cars. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Mitchell G for the tip!

The Fiero represented an adventurous approach by Pontiac, which was nothing new for the company. It was the first mid-engined sports car to be produced by an American manufacturer. It also made use of composite panel technology, which was in its infancy in the motor industry. The use of composites was something that only emerged in Formula 1 a few short years before, so the Fiero could rightly be considered to be a ground-breaking vehicle. Its styling drew comparisons with Ferraris of the period. It was also unlike anything that had emerged from an American manufacturer in the past. GM’s only other 2-seat sports car at the time was the Corvette, and comparing the pair was like comparing chalk and cheese. The motoring press loved its appearance, and so did the motoring public. In its first year of production, 136,840 people decided to give a Fiero a home. This Fiero is finished in Bright Red and given the life that it has led, it is no surprise that it presents perfectly. The paint continues to hold an impressive shine, and the wheels are free from stains and damage. The composite panels show no signs of cracks or fatigue, and the tinted glass appears to be perfect.

General Motors was initially reluctant to give the Fiero project the green light. They feared that it and the Corvette would steal sales off one-another. However, the designers pitched the Fiero as an economical alternative, which is why its engine bay never housed anything larger than a V6 motor. The engine in the 1988 Fiero GT has a capacity of 2,828cc and pumps out 135hp. In this case, the power finds its way to the road via a 3-speed automatic transaxle. This transmission is considered by many to be one of the car’s significant weaknesses. The lack of an extra ratio compromised acceleration figures and didn’t help fuel economy. With relatively little power on tap, the Fiero did well to achieve a ¼ mile ET of 16.8 seconds. However, the slippery shape meant that it was capable of winding its way to 126mph. This Fiero has a genuine 582 miles on the odometer, so it is a long way from being broken in. It isn’t clear whether it receives regular maintenance, or when it was last on the road. What we do know is that it comes with a vast dossier of paperwork, including the original Window Sticker, Build Sheet, newspaper clippings, production line photos, and other documentation.

Opening the doors of the Fiero reveals an interior that still wears all of its original plastic protective covers. Below this is an interior that is in as-new condition. There is not a mark to be seen anywhere, and all of the plastic is perfect. The car does come nicely equipped in a 1988 context. As well as air conditioning, it features power windows, power locks, power mirrors, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, cruise, a sunroof, and a premium AM/FM radio/cassette player with a subwoofer.

In that final year of production, only 6,848 Fiero GTs rolled off the production line. The last dance. The last lap. The final Fiero. There’s something poignant about the end of something. That makes you wonder just what this Fiero GT will eventually sell for. If this were merely a regular Fiero GT, then I would expect that it would probably sell for around $10,000 as a low-mileage survivor. However, the fact that it is in as-new condition, most of the protective plastic is still in place, and that it has a genuine 582 miles on the clock makes it a different kettle of fish. I’m not sure what it will eventually sell for, but I will guarantee that there will be a Pontiac enthusiast out there who will simply have to own it. Will it be you?

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Comments

  1. Rick

    Well.. the 6 cylinder helps here. No rocket, but the best of the bunch from what I understand from other owners. Would I bid? Yeah, if I had the room. Why not? Nice little cruiser here… just change every single rubber item out, flush the gas tank and change the oil..

    Like 4
  2. Jim

    Wow. How often do you see a 30+ year old car with the plastic still wrapping the interior! Doesn’t really matter what kind of car it is, this is cool!

    Like 10
    • P

      I’m Italian. I see plastic on furniture over 30 years old

      Like 36
      • Jim

        Is your mother Marie Barone?

        Like 9
      • Stephen Miklos

        🤣🤣🤣 and in summer it sticks on you!!😂😂😂

        Like 10
      • P

        Saw a funny cartoon once that said, “The reason your Italian grandma and aunts covered their furniture in plastic was because they were squirters.”

        Like 13
      • Grey

        I’m Jewish. Not only do we have plastic on the furniture we have doilies on top of the plastic to protect the plastic Then we have plastic on top of the doily to protect the doily. Then we put a final doily on to protect the final layer of plastic.

        Like 20
  3. Classic Steel

    Nice preservation but not a performance car. It missed its chances to get serious.


    The sluggish performance seemed to be solved by adding a 140 hp 2.8-liter push-rod V6 in 1985 and then a 5-speed manual gearbox for the V6 in 1986. Combining them improved 0-60 mph to 8-second range and raised top speed to 125 mph. Nevertheless, the low-revving character of the V6 might work fine in GM’s sedans, but in a mid-engined sports car it left something to be desired. Moreover, by 1986 Toyota MR2 had been added with a supercharger to raise the performance standard again to 132 mph and 0-60 in 6.4 seconds. Fiero always lived under the shadow of its Japanese rival”

    Like 5
    • Johnny turbo

      Good points all, just a minor correction: the MR2 Supercharged debuted for 1988, not 1986. I know, I had one and it was a blast!

      Like 2
    • John

      The supercharged version of the first-gen (1985-1989) Toyota MR2 debuted for 1988, not 1986. I had one and it was so much fun! I wish I kept it.

      Like 1
  4. Brick Member

    The Fiero was on a fairly long list of GM cars that because of stupid corporate mandates were miserable compromises when first released, but evolved into pretty darned good cars by the time they were cancelled.

    Like 13
  5. Steven Stanford

    I toured the factory a couple of days before Fiero production ended. The last of the yellow and black cars were on the line mixed in with red ones. It was going to be nothing but red cars the last two days of production.

    Like 7
  6. angliagt angliagt Member

    Those 582 miles couldn’t have been much fun,
    with plastic covering everything.

    Like 9
  7. Jason

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why GM gave Pontiac and Oldsmobile the axe, while choosing to keep Buick. The first two at least still had some potential for excitement, while Buick by that time had a solid image of being Grandma’s car, and I think they’re still a very long way from shedding that image.

    Like 21
    • Bruce Turk

      This is a guess on my part. Buick has strong sales in China and the potential for sales to increase dramatically is tremendous.

      Like 20
    • dave

      Ok, then let’s not mention the 1970 GSX Stage 2

      Like 6
      • dave

        This was meant for Jason…

    • JoeNYWF64

      What 2 door excitement remains at Buick? Or Caddy? Not even a 2 door suv or crossover – from ANYBODY, domestic or overseas.
      Much less anything affordable.
      I bet Buick goes away in 5 yrs.

      This Fiero should be in the GM heritage center.

      There were plenty of cars in the 80s with 4 speed autos & performance rears & still were slow. While there were many
      cars in the 60s with 3 speed non lockup automatics & carbs & pts & condenser that were fast.

      Like 1
      • boxdin

        Buick sells more cars in china than the USA, until the virus. So does BMW and others.

    • Jay

      I agree…how stupid. “Ok let’s not sell cars to young buyers that want flash and speed….let’s focus on Buick…the next generation will want them” Stupidest move GM ever made was to kill Pontiac

      Like 1
    • Mr.BZ

      Pontiac was Chevy’s main in-house competitor, and was in Chevy’s crosshairs for decades. Chevy basically ran GM, to the detriment of all involved. Olds and Buick were fighting for the same slice of pie, so one had to go when the fake-equity economy collapsed, and as BT mentions Buick had an audience overseas.

      Like 1
  8. Charles Sawka

    Bury it next to the first one

    Like 1
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Okay, so what do you do with it? It may
    be the last of the line and have 588 miles on it but I’d be terrified of even
    driving it in public for fear someone will
    hit it–especially the way folks drive in
    Florida. Right now, I’m teaching my neice how to drive. She’s almost ready to solo and I think I’ve taught her well.
    And while she’s an excellent driver, I’m
    often concerned about the the other
    yo-yos and the way they drive. No matter what, at least our Hyundai Accent could be replaced but this car
    needs to be in a museum where it could be well cared for and driven far from the idiots I see on the freeway every day.
    Say! Here’s an idea for you, let’s open
    a museum for low mileage cars.

    Like 3
  10. Leland

    Always liked these, drove a four four speed once. Liked it a lot, but never practical for me. I thought the power was more than enough too, if GM would have been able to make it just a little cheaper, then the commuter car BS would have maybe even worked as that. I have heard the insurance companies were unkind to it as well because of it being amid engine two seater, is that true?

  11. rcinphill

    I heard from some Fiero collectors that they finally got it right in the final year with the Lotus designed suspension, etc. Apparently, this is the year to buy.

    Like 5
  12. Jack

    So, I guess the 582 miles came from keeping the machine running. Wouldn’t be much fun driving with all the plastic on it. Great time capsule, but GM’s fit and finish in these years looked like a Tupperware party exploded on the inside.

    Like 1
    • Mark Johnston

      That’s a great line…but true about interior.

  13. Rusty Trawler

    Weren’t they prone to start on fire? Asking for a friend.

    Like 2
    • boxdin

      Only 1984 caught fire. 1988s never did.

      Like 1
  14. Steven Stanford

    Yes, early models were. I had a co-worker who’s early red 4 cylinder caught fire in the time between the recall being announced and his official notification of the recall.

    Like 1
  15. Lawrence (Larry) smith

    I, had one back in 96 ,it was the V6 ,with std. trans.not the GT great little car, but why would someone buy one with automatic trans,waste of time,

  16. CARLOS GUZMAN

    What a beauty.. but I honestly would drive it.. 588 miles.. Some cars are works of art.. the rest need to be driven.. not museum pieces.

  17. DAVE SCOTT

    i had an ’84 with the 4 cyl and the manual trans. i kept it until a few years ago. the body was fine, the engine was fine,,,it just didn’t bring a smile to my face when i brought it out for spring driving anymore, and that’s what counts!
    under powered, sure, but great gas mileage and you could drive 15 hours straight sitting in those lear jet designed seats!

  18. John Kent

    The reason is China. Buick is a major, venerated brand in China, the world’s largest automobile market. We were there in 2005, and I was shocked by the number of Buicks on the streets.

    • JMB#7

      I was shocked when I took a wheel off of a late model GM car the other day, and saw that “made in China” was cast into the inside of the factory alloy wheel. I am all for world economy, but seriously GM is getting their wheels out of China for use on US market cars?

      Like 1
  19. JMB#7

    I was at (one of the) SAE meetings where a Fiero was unveiled. I was very excited to see how it might progress over the years. Much later I rode in one (my friends Mom worked for GM and she was able to bring one home around the time they were being sent to dealerships). I was very disappointed in the ride, handling and lack of power in the first generation. I have heard good things about the later 2.8 liter V6 with 5 speeds.

    Like 1
  20. Christopher Gentry

    Yeah last one made , less than a grand on the clock. In the words of Dr Jones. This belongs in a museum. And I used to drive a red 85 GT. Maybe not the fastest in the world , but FUN when your 20 years old.

    Like 1
  21. DAVE SCOTT

    i had the ’84 2M4 version. You really had to work at it to get anywhere fast, but it was fun.
    I always wanted to put a quad 4 engine in the thing, but I hear those motors were kind of a dud as far as head gaskets go.

  22. Dale

    3.8 by with supercharger would wake the car right up.

    Like 1
  23. Steve S

    My dad had a 87 fiero with the 4 tech iron duke engine with a 5 speed manual transmission. It had a gold paint with tan interior. That was a fun little car to drive and it was comfortable and had plenty of leg room. But my dad always wanted a fiero with the buick supercharged v6 with a 4 speed manual transmission. A fiero with the buick supercharged v6 was guaranteed to keep up with a corvette until 100 mph. But the 5 speed manual transmission was actually a 4 speed manual transmission with a splitter to make it a 5 speed.

    Like 1
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings Steve S,

      The 5 speed was a close ratio Getrag unit, no “splitter” involved. Can’t vouch for the other unit used though.

      • Steve S

        Ok i heard it had a splitter but i didn’t know for sure.

  24. patrick darrow

    I owned 2 of these Car’s in my past. 84 & 88.. the 84 was a 4 cylinder 4 speed piece of crap. the 88 was the Red Formula Model with the V6 Auto.. Super Nice Sports Car. all i really did to it was remove the Cat/Converter and install a Pipe. WOW! what a Change!! It sounded so BadA## and ran so much better. The Performance was OutStanding! ..Big Difference!

  25. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    I have a last year Fiero. The engine currently installed is a modified Buick Grand National.

    Displacement now 4.1, turbo impeller is ceramic, pre/post oiler installed along with a host of other mods. Clutch is Kevlar with the Getrag 5-speed.

    I’ve had 4 of these in a variety of trim and options.

    Unfortunately, the market was limited. Impressive as it was built from a multiple bins of parts already in house.

    It also did not help that Corvette wanted to introduce a mid engine vehicle and wanted no comparisons made to this vehicle.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I’ll bet that car is FUN!

      (I’d get in so much trouble with speeding tickets….)

      Like 1
    • JMB#7

      From available parts, you built what Pontiac should have and could have. One more example of where Corporate Marketing Management keep their thumbs on top of their Engineers and keep them from having any fun. Thank you for sharing your “build”. For many of us, when you can improve a car in these ways, why would someone want to return one to stock?

      Like 2

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