Chevy’s mid-engine Corvette was an instant sensation, but this wasn’t GM’s first mid-engine sports car. Back in the 80s, GM introduced the Pontiac Fiero, a mid-engined sports car that was supposed to be a unique and cool innovation for the time. Although the Fiero didn’t survive long due to some poor manufacturing on GM’s part, we think it definitely deserves a comeback.
An ambitious car
When it came time to design a sports car, GM wanted to wow the world. The Fiero was a very small and light car, but it was armed with a powerful engine for its time. People didn’t want four-cylinder engines anymore, according to Doug DeMuro, so Pontiac gave the Fiero a V6.
Its V6 could get 140 hp and although that doesn’t seem like much today, it was a lot for its size. DeMuro mentioned that many tuners have upgraded the Fiero’s engine and that those cars probably drive like what Pontiac originally intended.
On top of that, DeMuro complimented the fact that the Fiero handles well and was actually very fun to drive. He also thought the steering and the suspension were also pretty good considering the age of the Fiero.
Pontiac’s ambition, however, did lead to the Fiero having a 3-speed automatic transmission, which DeMuro didn’t like. Overall, DeMuro thought that the Fiero wasn’t perfect, but it was a fun little car to drive around in.
DeMuro thought it was impressive that Pontiac was able to make a car that was totally different from the other cars that GM was making at the time. Rather than a large and overpowered vehicle, the Fiero was smaller, lighter, and more exciting overall.
The Pontiac brand
The short-lived success of the Fiero likely catapulted the Pontiac brand into stardom. As DeMuro put it, the Fiero made Pontiac the exciting brand to look out for, as GM and other automakers were making cars that were very different from the Fiero.
It definitely helped that over 300,000 Fieros were sold, and each one was full of Pontiac logos. DeMuro jokingly pointed out how many Pontiac logos were on the Fiero, and depending on where on the car you look, it’s quite a few.
On top of that, the Fiero represented a more stylish and sporty car that Pontiac would eventually be known for. Like DeMuro mentioned, the engine of the Fiero has the Fiero name on it, making it the coolest engine that DeMuro’s ever seen.
In terms of the exterior, its small and sporty frame, including a spoiler, was not only different, but it was also very beautiful to drivers at the time. DeMuro remarked that a lot of people owned a Fiero, which diminishes its exclusivity factor, but despite that, it’s still a very cool looking car.
As far as the interior goes, the Fiero didn’t sport anything truly unique for its time. In terms of features, the Fiero is also lacking, but it’s a car from the 80s, so you shouldn’t expect much.
Improving the Fiero
As DeMuro concluded, the Fiero isn’t really a bad sports car, and it definitely did what GM and Pontiac intended it to do. GM will need to fix and change a lot of things if they ever bring back the Fiero, however.
The manufacturing problem that was causing Fieros to catch on fire was already fixed by GM, but the damage to the brand had already been done. Any new Fieros will need assurances that it’s as safe of a car as it can be.
And like DeMuro said, its interior design was standard in the 80s, but if the Fiero were to be revived, then its interior would need to be stylish and cool for the present day. But with Pontiac dead and the 2020 Corvette already a mid-engine sports car, is there really a business case for a new Fiero? We’d like to think it’s possible.