Storage for 20 Years: 1985 Pontiac Fiero

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Although the Fiero is still on the cusp of becoming a modern classic, there’s plenty of enthusiasts who would clamor at the opportunity to own a survivor-grade example. The only trouble is, some of them are so nice that they sell for big bucks. This low-spec example here on craigslist looks to be in great shape and comes with the desirable manual transmission for only $3,500. 

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Located in Moorhead, Minnesota (hey – is that Scotty G. territory?), this Fiero is said to have been stored for upwards of 25 years, which helps explain its great cosmetic condition. My Subaru XT6 was also stored for 10 years, but it didn’t survive in nearly as nice of shape as this Pontiac. The seller claims he took it for a 100-mile drive recently and it did just fine.

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One thing I’ve always loved about the Fiero are the excellent bucket seats, and these look to be in fine shape. 73,000 miles isn’t ridiculously low mileage, but this car is surviving quite nicely despite not being locked in an air bubble since new. Plus, with working air conditioning, it’s a nice place to spend some time racking up the miles, which you won’t be afraid to do in this car.

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Although the V6-equipped Fieros are a bit more compelling in the performance department, these smaller-engined models still offer all the sensations a mid-engine vehicle can provide. I might upgrade to the black-painted mesh wheels found on the later models, but aside from that, just leave it alone and drive the tires off of it – which, coincidentally, are said to be in great shape.

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Comments

  1. Billy

    Drove one of these off a dealer lot on a test drive (did a lot of that, quite a tire kicker, too poor to buy) when these were new. Had a stick and the Iron Duke 4-popper, quite a nice little car, more than enough pep.(though he Quad-Four would have been better) Also drove a Toyota MR2 about that time. Same concept, two totally different cars. The MR2 was zippier, and revved well, rode harder, handled better in the corners.. The Pontiac was smoother, more refined, nicer interior, and oh those seats, awesome. I felt the Pontiac was a more handsome car, and yes, I do like those wheels on it, a lot. If I could go back and pick one new today, not sure which one I would choose, but prob. the Pontiac in this color and wheels. My younger self might have picked the Toyota, but this old man today sees how comfortable the Fiero would be on a trip. Its a shame they didn’t last, lots of theories as to why, but I heard that the insurance companies tried to make buck on them by charging Corvette like premiums due to them being a two seater. Anyone else hear that, is it true? Also, the price was steep for a supposed commuter. If GM had made them a better fiscal value, they might have turned into the VW Bug of the 80s.

  2. Jumping g

    I’ve see n a few of these at E town dragstrip with sb 350 shoehorned.into them they were like a rocket on wheels.

  3. JW

    Not a lot of Fiero’s around my hometown when they were new but what few I saw the owners seemed very happy with what they bought. This one looks great and not a bad price.

  4. Howard A Member

    I’ve always liked the Fiero, but many don’t. Pontiac built cool cars, and the Fiero was no exception. 10 years ago, my daughter was looking for her 1st car, she spotted a Fiero just like this for $750. It wasn’t bad, automatic, rear wheel bearing making noise, but it was a cool car. I was just about to say, “we’ll take it”, when just for the heck of it, I opened up the coolant overflow tank( looked a little dark) and it was full of oil. Well, needless to say, we passed on it. Couple years later, I was trucking on Hy. 61 in Minnesota. Just north of Red Wing, there was a gold Fiero for sale, only the newer one, ’88, I think. It looked sharp, and had a $2,200 sign on it, but was in a spot where I couldn’t park the semi, so for several weeks I went by it, and the price gradually dropped, $2,000, $1,800, $1,600. I said, that’s it, this week I’m stopping, well, you guessed it, it was gone. I bet $1,500 took it. Once again, it showed, America could indeed build a car equal to most foreign mid-engine cars. A little hard to work on, and sitting 20 years won’t be kind, but one of the coolest Pontiac’s made, I feel.

  5. 67coopers

    The fact that there are virtually NO Fieros around yet you still see MR2s trudging on tells me the US wasn’t quite ‘keeping up’ with the imports. That said I did like the GT version with the swept rear and V6 engine. I only liked it based on looks though. This looks like quite a deal at mid $3000 range. Wonder if the engine was replaced? I thought there was a significant engine failure problem with these. Ah yes, read it here.

    “More alarming were the reports of engine fires. In October 1983, two Fieros caught fire during test drives at the GM proving grounds — one in front of Hulki Aldikacti himself.”

    http://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/pontiac-fiero/

  6. rmward194 Member

    The fact that they didn’t have power steering didn’t help them sell well either. I worked at a Pontiac store when these were introduced. Just about the time they were ready to add power steering as an option, Pontiac killed the car. The engine fires didn’t help either. They were fun to drive though!

  7. Thom M.

    Less than 1% of Fiero had engine fires and almost all were first year ’84s with the Iron Duke 4 cyl. motor. “Engine” didn’t catch fire itself but a heat tube between the firewall and manifold. Just bad placement by some engineer. Anyway car used so many cheap bin parts from Corp. GM like it’s Chevette suspension that buyers caught on after the initial excitement of the car. The sad part is Pontiac’s plan all along was to reinvest profits from the project in improvements in engine power, suspension, and transmission linkage, however, buyers waned just when Pontiac started to productionalize those upgrades in ’88 due to people already thinking the cars weren’t as good as many hoped. At least, not good enough soon enough. There just weren’t enough Fiero buyers willing to continue buying while Pontiac worked on improvements. That’s the trouble with GM for a long time, executives not willing to risk real development money forcing divisions to build less than optimal and then play marketing games hoping to buy enough time to convince top brass to let them spent more R&D. Idiots. Fiero was a great concept and still the first and only mass produced American mid-engine. No Ford GT doesn’t qualify as mass production.

    • Billy

      Read a little bit last night. Many people say part of the problem was in fighting between divisions at GM. Chevy did not want a competitor for the Vette. Some say they even sent bent connecting rods to Pontiac to use in the Iron duke, not sure if I believe that one. I still say, Pontiac needed to make these cheaper. Also, if people wanted a great suspension, hopped up engine, they could pay more. Its a pay to play kind of world, is it not? I am tired of having to buy cars that are loaded, let me have an affordable base level, and I will order the extras I want.

  8. DVS

    My first new car was an 84 Fiero. What a pile it was!! I drove it less than a year before I had to get rid of it to preserve my sanity! Needed a total engine rebuild after about two months. Needed a new throttle switch about every other month. AND the frosting on the cake was when the starter froze solid after a freezing rain. (That’s how you can tell an 84 from the other years… they moved the venting from the middle of the trunk lid to the outside.) It was cute and different, but it put me off American cars for about 20 years.

  9. motoring mo

    Theese have not aged well. On the bright side – time will be much kinder to the Sky / Solistice. Snap them up now while you can.

  10. CelestialGryphon

    I’m a huge fan of the Sky’s lines.

  11. Car Guy

    I have owned three 88 Fiero GT 5-speeds over the years and used them as daily drivers. With proper maintenance not one ever left me stranded, caught fire, or fell apart. Being from the southwest rust has never been an issue. My current 88 GT is an actual Mera, and has been a blast to drive. The stock V6 Fiero exhaust note is one of GM’s best.

    Too bad GM won’t consider a modern version using the current 335 horse Camaro V6 with a six speed manual, or 8 speed auto transaxle. Price it in the BRZ to 370Z range and it would sell.

  12. Chris N

    Good idea that was not executed very well but the technology was not really there yet and build quality in that era was not really that great. The 2M6 was a little better as far as power (I have driven both of them). Would have been a real screamer with the 231 Buick V6 Turbo and a 5-speed.

  13. Tim

    History will be kinder to the Sky/Solstice because its basically a Lotus! Engineered by Lotus for Opel/Vauxhall in Europe and then warmed over in the US a couple of years later for American tastes. Personally I hate the Solstice Grille myself, but otherwise fantastic little cars. Vauxhall’s VX220 Turbo was a firm favorite for most fun car with many journalists in its day.

    What most people fail to realize about the Fiero was its unique modular build. All the panels bolt on/off – very smart engineering. Very popular in the 90’s as the basis for Ferrari kit car knock-offs.

    • Billy

      Nice cars, but no usable trunk for traveling, that was part of its downfall. That, and of course, GM wanted to flood the market with outrageously huge over priced SUVs.

  14. Bruce Best

    The general style of the Fiero has held up well in comparison with most others and I include the MR-2 in that group. Not as well as my Lotus but to my eye it is close and even more practical.

    If they can lighten up the design, have Lotus do the suspension, put in a good turbo or supercharged 4 banger or as was suggested a 300HP six they would have a real winner. I heard that part of the reason that some of the more advanced features we left out in the beginning and all thru the production was the worry from Corvette that the Fiero could take a good batch of their sales. I think they were right.

    I have driven three and consider purchasing two of them. Not as sharp, as fast accelerating or as fast in top end but for going back and fourth around town it was a delight. Easy to drive, nice size, felt great in side, The sun roof made it feel really open and it seemed to have no vices. Now these were cars that had been taken care of from day one. As my local dealer took extra time with each one making certain there we no flaws and in my city I do not think I hear of a single fire.

    They said it was to be a commuter car and for that it was very good, just a little bit more refinement, detail work and engineering it could have been a real contender. But all that is in the past for now you see a good one going down the road and I bet most of us will smile and wish we had one for ourselves.

  15. 67coopers

    If they made it with Lotus handling and a more powerful engine, it’d be a Lotus. I just don’t think you can make a contender and a conservative car in one.

    • Keith

      The 88 Fieros had the lotus suspension😉

  16. Philip

    We had 2 bought them together mine was a 2M6 stick hers was a 2M4 automatic. Both were fully loaded and a ball the drive. Had extended warranties on both. Balls out fun cars to drive especially the V6 which we fought over who was going to drive it from week to week. I ended up in the 2.5 half the time, and I loved it, especially in workers traffic. Excellent sound system with a factory subwoofer and amp. Everything about them was great, both were 87’s. I sold mine with 89,000 miles she sold hers with 103,000 miles. Both bought by private owners in the 90’s, both were still on the road up to the 2010’s appearing in the driveway or street of the current buyers. Both wear factory red paint. The fire upgrade was a shield or exhaust manifold recall, our cars were dealer maintained, other than motor mounts and a CV boot and normal wear and tear/ maintenance both were the best overall new cars we ever bought. Both were unbelievable in snow which I did not expect. Both handled and were peppy and a lot of good memories were had in both. We didn’t have kids and an overnight bag fit fine in the rear bumper or under the hood, when we went away to the ocean over the weekends,.. we even took them grocery shopping, we took them everywhere. I never see MR2’saround, anymore but Fiero”s yea, quite often and still chugging down the road.

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