1986 Pontiac Fiero

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It is not Ferrari or Lamborghini, this car is generally made in the USA, but it has a center-engine layout. Yes, – since 2019 the Corvette C8 center-engine is produced, and back in the early 90’s the Vectror W8 center-engine supercar was produced. Besides, SSC, Saleen, Mosler and Hennessey center-engine cars are produced in America. The Fiero is unique in that it was the first center-engine car from the United States. And it is not a supercar, which all of the above-mentioned cars are.

This 1986 Pontiac Fiero was conceived as a mass, sports car, and later it became that. Many people can be surprised, but in Europe it was possible to buy Volkswagen Golf for comparable with Fiero price. The Americans had an opportunity to buy a beautiful sports car with a central location of the engine. By the way, this Pontiac was the first postwar two-seater model of the company. It was produced two years earlier than the most similar to Fiero car – Toyota MR2. This is the car you may have seen in the movie “Blood and Sweat” where it was driven by Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo. Later, the exotic Zimmer Quick Silver was built on the basis of the Fiero. The latter was produced only 170 cars.

Development of the 1986 Pontiac Fiero began at the end of 1979. It was allocated an amount of 410 million dollars, which was not much even by the standards of that time. But due to the efforts of the people involved in the project serial production began in ’83, and with some modifications the car was manufactured until the ’88. During the development, GM expected to sell 30 000 Fiero a year. But only in ’84, 135 000 of such cars were produced in Michigan.

It was a success that was simply not expected. No other two-seat American sports car had such good sales figures in a single year. Despite the small, four-cylinder engine, which nevertheless produced a decent, by the standards of the “sick era”, power of 92 horsepower, the Americans were very happy to buy this car. By the way, the Fiero was comparable in power to the Dodge Daytona, which was produced during the same years, and despite the presence of rear seats, it exceeded the circulation of the center-engined Pontiac by only 17,000. As early as ’84, the Fiero became the official pace car in the Indianapolis 500 mile race. In honor of this, 2,000 Indy Pace Cars were produced. This modification received new bumpers, side skirts and spoilers.

An unpleasant incident for Pontiac was a spontaneous fire in the engine compartment. By ’86 there were over 100 fires, most of them being ’84 cars. And it was these incidents that greatly affected the Fiero’s idiom. In the future, despite the introduction of a more powerful V6 (in ’85 the GT version), and other interesting modifications, sales were falling. Probably, if GM had taken measures concerning spontaneous fires, the Fiero would not have received such a reputational blow. In ’85 alone, 30 million dollars have been invested for works on modernization of suspension. But even such large-scale works couldn’t fix image of the new model. By the time of withdrawal from production in 1988, 370,168 of such cars were made.

1986 Pontiac Fiero for sale and price.

In ’84, you could buy a basic Fiero for $8,000. The most expensive modification of the Mira, the unique, body panels for which were produced by a third-party company, cost $24,000 to $28,000. At that time, for $28,000 you could own a Corvette.
Today, you can buy a 1986 Pontiac Fiero with about 60,000 miles on it for $12,000. The best examples with the lowest mileage can be close to $30,000.
Due to the significant series, becoming a Pontiac Fiero owner is still quite realistic today. Many people appreciate this car not for its good dynamics, or handling, but for its uniqueness.

Exterior and photo.
The center-engine layout, especially for a not expensive sports car, is a very unusual decision. But Fiero is interesting not only because of the engine layout. For example, all the body panels are made of plastic. It will read strange, but such a body is not lighter compared to if it was metal. But plastic is not susceptible to rust and damaged plastic panels are quicker and easier to replace than metal panels. All of the Fiero’s body panels could be replaced by a single handyman within five hours. More importantly for the manufacturer, the plastic body panels are easier and less expensive to produce. The Fiero’s body panels are mounted on a metal, galvanized frame.
The Pontiac Fiero was originally produced in Notchback type bodywork. There are air intakes in the rear fenders, and this is not an imitation – the air is supplied to the engine through them. The Indy Pace Car also had an upper air intake, which resembled a race car air intake.
Exterior door handles almost merged with the side moldings. The headlights were raised during all years of production. The drag coefficient is 0.37. On the left headlight you can see the Pontiac lettering. The hood doesn’t have a Pontiac nameplate, but Fiero emblem in the form of a phoenix. Another Pontiac inscription is located between the rear lights, it lights up when the headlights are on and serves as a parking light. The more powerful version with V6 can be recognized by the GT designation on the rear, side window.
Base Fiero had 185/75 R14 and 195/70R14 tires. In the first case, the width of the wheel is 5.5d, in the second – 6d. It is very interesting that the wheel bolts are covered with plastic bolt caps. This solution is often seen on trucks, but not on cars. The Fiero Indy Pace Car was equipped with Center Line rims, 16*7 in the front and 16*8 in the rear.
In 1986, a fastback was introduced. Since that time all powerful Fiero GTs were produced in this body. In ’87, all modifications received new bumpers. The machine with a V6 engine has a curb weight of 1405 kg.
In ’88 the base model received larger wheels with the size 15*6 in front, and 15*7 – in the rear. The same year the base model received a new version Formula, which was painted in yellow.
On the Notchback trunk lid plastic plates can be seen, which serve as an additional platform for luggage.
In the ’87 model year the rarest modification Mira (the one that cost from 24 to 28 thousand dollars) appeared. Only 247 of these trucks were made during two years. In this modification Fiero was very similar to Ferrari, and I read, that the Italians have even appealed to the court about it. The wheel rims on such Fiero came directly from Ita

Interior and equipment.
The interior of the Pontiac Fiero consists of rectangular forms. Among all the instruments, only the speedometer and tachometer are round. Among the instruments there is an open door indicator. While in the cabin, you can see a lot of images of the phoenix.

It is applied to the steering wheel, the backs of the seats, in the glove compartment in front of the front passenger, in the area of the door handle and near the gear lever. It is noteworthy that on the sides of the gearshift is placed not one, but two ashtrays.

I do not remember seeing such a thing in another car, but in Fiero under the sun visor on the driver’s side there is an instruction to start the engine. The thing is, at the time when this sporty Pontiac came out, most cars had a carbureted fuel system. And Pontiac decided to provide a small manual on how to start their, injector car. There is no traditional, large glove compartment in front of the passenger.

The main glovebox here is located between the backs of the seats, and you can find the manual for the car itself in it. By the standards of cars with the central location of the engine here is very good visibility to the back. Although it is a compact car, there is enough space behind the wheel for 190-sized drivers.
The lever for opening the gas tank hatch is on the end of the driver’s seat backrest.

If you don’t know about it, you can never get enough fuel. And the Fiero’s fuel tank holds only 30 liters. In the area of the door opening lever there are two buttons to open/close the door. The handbrake lever is located between the driver’s seat cushion and the sill – as it often happens on supercars. With this location, a raised parking brake lever will interfere with getting out of the car. Therefore, after raising the lever, you can simply release it without pressing the button. This will lower the lever, but the parking brake will continue to hold. To take the car off the parking brake, you must raise the lever and then hold the button and release it again.

The sunroof is manually raised. In the back, behind the engine compartment there is a rather deep luggage compartment. At the front there is no luggage compartment at all, although it is not uncommon on expensive, center-engine exotics. At the front you can see a large, vacuum booster brake, spare tire in the form of a dock, jack and radiator cooling system.

Engine and Specifications 1986 Pontiac Fiero.

Initially, the Fiero was powered by a 2.5L Iron Duke four-cylinder engine behind the seatbacks. The power unit was mounted transversely and at 92 horsepower, along with a four-speed automatic, the rear-drive Fiero was able to break through to 100 km in 11.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 165 km per hour. Not a great performance, of course, but it’s worth remembering that this was the era when even the Chardger had 90 horsepower! At that time, 90 horsepower for a car which did not have the image of a muscle car, could be considered as quite enough. As an option was offered a three speed automatic gearbox.

In ’85 the Fiero GT was presented. It was equipped with a gasoline V6 L44 of 2.8L. With this motor Pontiac had a significant power of 142 hp and 231 Nm of thrust. The car was able to accelerate to 100 km in 8 seconds. By the standards of those years it was quite a fast car, which already by rule had the name of a sports car.
At the end of ’86 a five speed manual Getrag gearbox was available for the V6. In the same year the power of the V6 was reduced to 135 horsepower.
In ’87 the power of the base four-cylinder engine was increased to 98 horsepower. The same year the fuel tank capacity was increased to 45 liters. This greatly increased range, which some customers had some questions about.
Significant modifications were made on the ’88. There was a new suspension and new brakes for V6 trucks. The ’88 Fiero has a new steering.
Despite all, in fact, significant improvements, the image of the model has been spoiled, the confidence in the car, which was so warmly received initially, has been undermined. Sales were going downhill, and the top brass at GM decided not to produce a second generation Fiero. It is very possible that if it were not for the fire incidents, this car could be in its 6th, or 7th generation today.

Pontiac Fiero in spite of the central location of the engine was not distinguished by fine controllability. And this was the essence of such arrangement of the engine. Exactly for the sake of optimum weight distribution and drivability, in due time the Italian supercars’ creators came to this arrangement. Fiero did not have an excellent for its time handling, but the use of such a layout made this Pontiac special. In addition, the price of this car was not expensive, which means that a large number of car enthusiasts had the opportunity to feel like a supercar owner. Moreover, that with a V6 car had even very decent, technical specifications.
Today, even on U.S. roads, these cars are not seen often, and outside the States is as exotic as a Ferrari, or Lamborghini. As noted above, these cars were used as Pace Car in the races at Indianapolis. And despite the use of a four-cylinder engine, with the turbocharger their power was increased to 232 hp.

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