- The V-6 Fiero hit .84-.86g on the skidpad (4-cyl was roughly .80-82g)
Porsche 911 Carrera -> .85g (the Carrera 4 was at .83g)
Ferrari Testarossa -> .84g
Lotus Esprit Turbo -> .86g
Lamborghini Diablo VT -> .87g
Acura NSX -> .87g
Acura Integra GS-R -> .82g
Pontiac Firebird Trans Am/Formula (’93+) -> .82g-.85g
Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX -> .86g
- The Fiero ran the slalom at 63.4-63.9 mph (about 61.5 for 4-cyl.
Pontiac Firebird Trans Am -> 59.7 mph
Lotus Epsrit S4 -> 60.6 mph
Porsche 911 Carrera -> 61.9 mph
BMW M3 -> 62.8 mph
Corvette ZR-1 -> 63.6 mph
Ferrari 348 -> 62.8 mph
Acura NSX -> 62.3 mph
Dodge Viper -> 62.7 mph
Ford Mustang Cobra (1994) -> 61.1 mph
Nissan 300ZX Turbo -> 63.0 mph
- The V-6 Fiero consistantly accelerated from 0-30 in 2.2 seconds.
The Lamborghini Diablo manages 0-30 in 2.2 seconds.nds.
- Best 1/4-mile time for a stock V-6 Fiero: 14.7 @ 92 mph
17.0 @ 80 mph
Both Fieros were GT’s with manual transmissions.
- Best top speed for a stock V-6 Fiero: 135 mph
Worst: 115 mph
Both Fieros were ’85 GT’s, the latter with an automatic
* Pontiac purchased Ferrari 308′s for handling engineering and
* Many V-6 engines in Fieros dynoed at between 150 and 160 bhp.
* The Fiero turned in a profit every year it was sold (including 1988).
* Fiero prototypes were running in 1980.
* Most foreign auto magazines raved about the Fiero’s superior
handling, its nimble response and excellent road feel.
Most American auto magazines criticized the Fiero’s handling as being
numb, heavy and not responsive.
* The decisions to kill the Fiero was made on February 29, 1988.
* The Fiero had nearly 3 times as many sales as the MR2 during any
given year in its lifetime.
* Pontiac spent over $300,000,000 to produce the Fiero, yet cancelled
the car on a “hunch” they would lose a maximum of $20-million between
1988 and 1995.
* Several factory prototypes were made of a Fiero convertible.
* Two prototypes were made in 1986 of a Fiero with an aluminum frame.
One of the aluminum Fieros had a 190 bhp Quad-4.
* Car & Driver called the Fiero, “One of the best cars in America” and
gave the Fiero a slot in their top ten best category.
* The Los Angeles Auto Expo gave the Fiero their Design of the Year
* The Fiero accounted for nearly 1/4 of all Pontiac sales in 1984.
* Spectators at the unvailing of the fastback Fiero mistook the GT
version as a new Corvette.
* GM was struggling with the problem of employees purchasing Fieros
before the public had an opportunity. Never before had this been a
problem with a GM car.
* Even though the highest sticker price for an ’84 Fiero was about
$10,000, one Michigan buyer paid over $15,000 for an ’84 SE.
* The Fiero was the first American car to win in IMSA GTU.
* In 1985, the Fiero won at Sears Point (one of 3 straight victories),
beating such successful competitors as Chevrolet’s Corvette and Ford’s
* A 4-cylinder Fiero belting out only 370 bhp took the NHRA’s
Competition Eliminator title at the Keystone Nationals on September 15,
1985 with a best 1/4-mile time of 9.72 seconds at 134.41 mph.
* The Fiero won well over 40 races in the 36 months it raced.
Final drive ratio which improved 0-60 times from about 12.5 seconds to
around 11. Optional Indy edition featured white paint with red trim,
red on gray interior, performance final drive ratio, and “aero” body
work (nearly identical to an ’85 GT’s). Most common year for engine
fire problems. Causes were insufficient oil capacity, flawed
rods shipped from the Saginaw factory, and improper placement of some
engine bay components. Recall issued, all ’84 Fieros have been
and corrected according to Pontiac Motor Division.
4-cylinder renamed Tech-IV and received minor improvements. GT model
added featuring a revised body, WS6 suspension, and new trim options.
2.8-liter V-6 introduced as an option for the GT and SE models. 4-speed
manual or 3-speed automatic available for V-6 engine option, 5-speed
manual added for 4-cylinder engine only. V-6 engine features multi-port
fuel injection and tubular exhaust manifolds, produces over 50% more
power than the 4-cylinder. Suspension is revised to reduce bump
harshness and pitching behavior. Decklid hump replaces vented plate.
GT model receives fastback bodywork. 5-speed manual transmission
introduced on some late ’86 V-6 equipped cars, 4-speed still most
common. SE model receives ’85 GT style bodywork. Gauges are revised
for V-6 cars, featuring vivid backlighting and wrap-around tachometer.
3rd brake light added. Headrest stereo speakers are deleted. 15-inch
wheels with offset tire sizes are found on the GT. Weave style wheel
introduced. Suspension is recalibrated, improving rough road behavior
5-speed manual standard on V-6 models. V-6 engine receives
to combustion efficiency, counter-weighting, and lubrication.
receives substantial improvements to lubrication system as well as the
addition of balance shafts and a small power increase (about 98
vs 92 for the previous engine). Suspension is again slightly revised.
Speedometer limit for V-6 cars is increased to 120 mph. Improvementsare
also found in the hydraulic clutch and braking systems. The headlight
motors were also upgraded to more reliable and quieter units
Monochrome paint is an option. T-top option added. Vented discs
come standard. Suspension is revised to reduce scrub radius and rough
road behavior. Lotus actually had nothing to do with the suspension
improvement as most Fiero fans would like to claim, it was merely a
media rumor. The suspension is completely unique. V-6 engine is
again improved to increase longevity. Fiero cancelled.
Pontiac Fiero Model Specifications
Year Weight Axle Trans Engine BHP@rpm Torque@rpm 0-60
1984C 2464 3.32 4-spd 4-cyl 92@4000 134@2800 12.5
1984C 2464 4.10 4-spd 4-cyl 92@4000 134@2800 10.86
1984SE 2480 4.10 4-spd 4-cyl 92@4000 134@2800 10.9
1985C 2505 3.35 5-spd 4-cyl 92@4000 134@2800 10.8
1985SE 2560 3.65 4-spd 6-cyl 140@5200 170@3600 7.4
1985GT 2572 3.65 4-spd 6-cyl 140@5200 170@3600 7.5
1986C 2504 3.35 5-spd 4-cyl 92@4000 134@2800 10.8
1986SE 2575 3.65 4-spd 6-cyl 140@5200 170@3600 7.4
1986GT 2696 3.65 4-spd 6-cyl 140@5200 170@3600 7.5
1987C 2546 3.35 5-spd 4-cyl 96@4800 135@3200 10.5
1987SE 2567 3.61 5-spd 6-cyl 135@4500 165@3600 7.6
1987GT 2708 3.61 5-spd 6-cyl 135@4500 165@3600 7.8
1988C 2547 3.35 5-spd 4-cyl 98@4800 135@3200 10.5
1988FM 2580 3.61 5-spd 6-cyl 135@4500 165@3600 7.4
1988GT 2735 3.61 5-spd 6-cyl 135@4500 165@3600 7.8
C = Coupe SE = Special Edition GT = Grand Touring FM = Formula
[ From "Pontiac Enthusiast", March/April 1995, Volume 1, number 6. ]
Fiero: The Little Car That Could
by Jeff Denison, GM Design Center
Pontiac’s first and only production two-seater was a revolutionary
automobile in many ways. It pioneered an all-new two-seat
commuter/sports car market segment, and it also was built in a whole
different way from cars before it. Different not only in the exotic
method of construction – a drivable metal space frame with Enduraflex
exterior panels precisely mated to it – but also in terms of how the
people themselves worked together to build it.
The Fiero was built in accordance with many of W. Edwards Deming’s
then-revolutionary ideas on industrial management. Deming had spent many
years in Japan, where his ideas of white collar-blue collar teamwork and
cooperation were a central part of what would become known as “Japanese
Adhering to these concepts, the Fiero team made product and product
quality the first priority. Anyone in the plant who saw a problem could
push a button and stop the assembly line – something never before seen
in an American production facility. Since that time, Saturn, for one,
has built a reputation on this approach to customer-driven quality
The roots of the Fiero run deep at Pontiac Motor Division. Back in the
mid-1950′s, when Chevrolet was producing the new Corvette, Pontiac
yearned to produce the two-seat Bonneville Special and the fabulous Club
de Mer. And in the 1960′s, John Delorean’s XP-833 two-seat prototype and
the 1969 Fiero show car both failed to get the nod for production,
although the staff at Pontiac longed to build some two-seat driving
In the late 1970′s, in the face of uncertain oil prices, Pontiac’s
planning staff looked into the future and perceived a niche for a small,
economical two-seat commuter car. The 13th floor at GM was intrigued,
but would only provide a budget of $400 million to produce the car. This
may sound like a lot of money, but GM spends this much on a major
facelift for a single car line. The Fiero was to be a brand new car.
Pontiac accepted the challenge. Hulki Aldikati, a mechanical engineer
whose career spanned the Bunkie Knudsen, Pete Estes, and Delorean years,
was put in charge of the preliminary phase of the project. He made some
of the tough decisions that would make the Fiero such a unique vehicle.
Hulki took his small budget to GM’s Advanced Vehicles Concept Group,
where the basic engineering guidelines for the new P-car platform were
established. The next move would be to bring the two-dimensional
engineering drawings to life.
The project was turned over to Jack Humbert at GM Design Staff. Jack was
the executive in charge of all production car design. He headed the
Pontiac styling studio during the 1960′s, when it turned out many of the
cars we admire today.
The P-car program was assigned to the Advanced Three design studio,
where Ron Hill and his team of designers, scupltors, and engineers began
to put the pieces together. The proportions specified by Advanced
Vehicles were exciting, and one of the chief criteria of the space frame
construction was that the lower and upper plastic body panels would be
fastened at the center of the body side. This created a line that would
run the entire length of the midsection – a line that would thus be a
major design theme. It became a black rub strip that rose slightly at
the rear of the car, giving a “wedge” shape that lends a suggestion of
The Fiero’s wheel wells were designed large from the start, so as to
accomodate the fatter rubber the sports car enthusiasts would soon
The basic wedge-shaped, mid-engine design was accepted by management,
and a running prototype was soon built and approved. Pontiac got the
go-ahead to proceed to production. The Fiero moved into the studios of
John Schinella in Pontiac Two and Bill Scott in Pontaic Interiors.
The exterior design team felt the clay model still needed some
brandcharacter – its own Pontiac identity. So they shortened the nose
and moved the greenhouse forward for a rakish mid-engine look, and they
added split bumper pads front and rear for the distinctive Pontiac look.
They also integrated the side-marker lights, front park and turn
signals, and door handles into the bodyside rub strip.
Meanwhile, the interior group pursued a floating-pod aircraft look for
the instrument panel. The wide, armrest-high center console housed the
shifter, ashtray, and power accessory switches, and swept back into a
second pod in the center housing the radio and climate controls. The
steering wheel started out as being a Formula wheel, and ended up being
a cleaner, three-spoke sport wheel design.
Inside of just six weeks, the base 2M4 Fiero was released from Design
Staff, and a special aero Fiero was already being designed to pace the
upcoming 1984 Indianapolis 500. This car received new front and rear
fascias, a lower ground-effects treatment on the body sides, and a rear
spoiler. In 1985 this design would receive a V6 engine to become the
Fiero GT. A year and a half later, the 1986 GT got a new semi-fastback
flying-buttress roof, along with wraparound taillights. In 1987, the
base car received new fascias front and rear, then in 1988 there was the
new suspension – and the rest, as they say, is history.
This is where the Fiero’s production history ends, but not where Fiero
design ends. Although production ceased at the end of 1988, a reskinned
Fiero was waiting in the wings, waiting to take its turn on the dealer’s
As you may be aware, it takes some three to five years to tool up to
design for production, so when the announcement came in March 1988 that
Fiero production would end, the design studio had the next-generation
car already finalized for production tooling.
The basic proportions of the base 2M4 car remained the same in this new
design; remember, since the plasic panels bolted to the space frame, no
major deviations were possible without changing the space frame itself.
The glass and upper structure remained unchanged, except for the fact
that they would become a design element and would be painted black,
separating the upper from the body color. The rear sail panels extended
past the more vertical rear window, producing a buttress effect similar
to the 1966-67 GTO design.
The body itself was a smoothed-out revision of the 1984 model, with
fresh front and rear fascias. The most noticiable difference was
the bodyside rub strip, which in the new design flared wider at the rear
to house the taillights.
Styling had never been a problem with the press since day one, but the
new Fiero GT would have pushed the envelope even farther with a shape
that looked like it came right off an IMSA race track. The Fiero GT was
a truly aggressive design with no nonsensical add-ons. The rear buttress
on the upper canopy, which extended further back than on the base car,
faded from black to clear at the rear. The body side was more a
combination of a “body shoulder” running the length of the car, and
below it a slab side that pulled out the rockers and firmly planted the
body on a set of 16-inch cross-laced wheels. A sculptured air intake ran
the length of the door, tapering down toward the front.
The hood and front fascia were similar to those on the ’88 GT, except
that the fascia pulled out the top corner with a shoulder that ran down
the opt of the body side. The fascia also integrated the side marker
light and front turn signal into a recessed pocket.
The rear end got more aerodynamic, as the rear edges were squared off,
allowing the air to leave the vehicle more cleanly at high speeds. The
spoiler remained unchanged. The engineers must have devised a better
better way of mating the panels to the space frame, as the GT has no
black rub strip or parting line in the center of the car.
The interior group had not made any great changes. The new interior
would have featured new colors and fabrics, ad well as redesigned door
The Fiero planners were on track with the suspension changes in 1988,
with the power steering not far behind. But this was only Phase 1 – with
the fresh styling, the new H.O. Quad 4, and the possibilities for a 3.8
or even 4.3 Tuned-Port V6 to follow. A GT Fiero would have been an
unbelievable machine. And just think – a GT roadster might have made the
Miata a flop!
Consider this: The GM Proving Grounds had a 1988 Fiero GT running around
with a built-up Quad 4 H.O. and all-aluminum space frame, with all the
updated suspension pieces and power steering. This car was not only
lightweight, it had great handling and all the power any sports car
enthusiast would want.
- – - – End of Article Text – - – -
Variations on the Fiero
The Fiero has become the basis for many independent versions of what
various people think the car should or might have been. Perhaps the
nicest of these was achieved by a group of GM engineers, who built the
fantastic Metra GT coupe at the right. The workmanship of this car is
second to none.
More recently, a British company called Candy Apple Cars developed the
Finale, which it says is intended to portray the Fiero as it might look
today. It’s indeed a pretty contemporary shape. The car is available as
a kit or turn-key, and is marketed in the U.S. by Domino Cars of
Milford, CT. Contact Peter Cameron at Domino Cars U.S.A., 203/877-0076.
There are several engine upgrade kits for the Fiero. While no one yet
makes a swap kit to put a Pontiac V8 under the bonnet of one, we’ve
heard it has been done by adapting the V8 Archie small-block Chevy kit.
Right now, there are kits available to install a Chevy small or big
block, an Olds Quad 4, or a GM Twin Dual Cam V6, in the Fiero chassis.
Unless otherwise noted, the following kits are for a GM corporate
small-block Chevy: International Motorsports, Inc. (IRM), 18100 Cachell
Road, Rockville, MD 20853, 301/848-3301 (Quad 4 conversions); Corson
Motorcar Co., P.O. Boxs 41396, Dept. PE, Phoenix, AZ 85080,
602/375-2544; V8 Archie, 1307 Lykins Lane, Niles, MI 49120,
800/331-2260, 616/683-3227 in MI (small-block V8 and ’92 and up
LT1-to-Fiero kits); Fiero Conversions, Inc., 3410 Walker Road, Windsor,
Ont. N8W 3S3, Canada; Ron’s Mechanical, 4845 Oaktree Court, Burnaby,
B.C. V5G 4K9, Canada; Heritage A&F, 14141 South Harrison, Posen, IL
60469, 708/385-0031 (small- and big-block Chevy conversions); Pisa, P.O.
Box 15088, Phoenix, AZ 85060 (GM Twin Dual Cam and small-
block V8 kits).
And if you want to run with the very big dogs, you can drop an Iron Duke
SD Four into a tube chassis and turn 9.20s, as seen here at Tri-Power
Sunday in Norwalk, Ohio.