Can a Pontiac Fiero Be Cool, or Is It Doomed?

The Pontiac Fiero, like many other sports cars and muscle cars of yesteryear, didn’t achieve the impact that the marque wanted. The ambitious little sports car is the butt of many jokes and the donor car for many homage kits to celebrate more beloved rides like Ferrari 308s. However, beyond silly jests, can a Pontiac Fiero be cool with a V8 swap? Or is the little Pontiac model doomed to just Fiero kits?

What killed the Pontiac Fiero?

The Pontiac Fiero died after its short five-year tenure. However, the little sports car didn’t succumb to changing times in the way that the oil crisis killed the golden age of muscle cars. Instead, General Motors (GM), the parent company of the now-dissolved Pontiac, discontinued the Fiero in 1988 after it “decided not to spend enough money to make changes as basic as adding power steering,” the LA Times reported. 

1983 Pontiac Fiero | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images via Getty Images

However, the result of the Fiero’s demise is a five-year run of an accessible mid-engine sports car for collectors and builders to descend upon. Moreover, the Pontiac model presents an exciting prospect for kits, custom builds, and cheap projects. Unfortunately, issues like an underpowered V6, faulty clutches, and steering system problems are common in the 1980s sports car. 

What is a Pontiac Fiero worth?

The Pontiac Fiero is a cheap option for enthusiasts who want an affordable sports car project. According to Classic.com, the Fiero has an average value of around $12,103. However, built or restored examples can fetch much more of a premium. For instance, one of the highest recorded sales was $90,000. 

Can you put a V8 in a Fiero?

A popular way to up the Pontiac Fiero’s cool factor is a V8 swap. One popular selection is the GM LS package, a fuel-injected V8 often included in cars like the C5 Chevrolet Corvette. Moreover, the LS1 has an aluminum block and 350 horsepower, making it a powerful, light mill for the diminutive Pontiac sports car. However, you’re not limited to V8 swaps. 

If you would rather transform the Pontiac Fiero’s aesthetics to make it cool, there are many body kits to change the mid-engine sports car inside and out. For instance, this Ferrari F50 replica is a cool, if also silly, departure from the more common Ferrari 308 and Lamborghini Countach builds. Of course, overachievers might V8 swap and kit their Fieros for maximum effect. 

The hilarious Pontiac Fiero from Fast 9 is a spectacle.
Pontiac Fiero from Fast 9 | Rodin Eckenroth, Getty Images for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Can it be cool?

The Pontiac Fiero can be cool with restoration, modification, or customization. Even the original’s underpowered “Iron Duke” mill has charm, if also a lack of reliability compared to a 5.7L LS1 or 6.0L LQ4 V8. Moreover, if you can own it without taking yourself too seriously, a Ferrari or Lamborghini Fiero kit can be an excellent and fun sports car. 

Popular media like How I Met Your Mother, and Fast 9 make jokes at the Pontiac model’s expense. Still, the little car features in movies and television shows because of its charming strangeness. If you want a tried and true American sports car, buy a C4 or C5 Corvette. However, if you want a fun little 1980s experiment with lots of potential, consider a Fiero for your next project. 


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