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Look, we all need a breath of fresh air from the EV vs. gas conversation. What we really need is another type of propulsion to add to the mix. You know, something like a Pontiac Fiero with a rocket engine and afterburner. We have it here, and it’s a lot more engineered than we first gave it credit for. Here’s why.

Turbine-powered Fiero
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook

Now, the $75,000 Facebook Marketplace asking price for any Fiero is a bit much, until you see what’s under the hood, a GE T-58 helicopter turbine engine. Since those normally spin a shaft with helicopter blades attached, that’s what we expected to see, the engine attached to a driveshaft. But no, this setup now produces thrust.

Turbine-powered
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook

But if that’s not enough, there’s more. There is also an afterburner. This is the same as a nitrous shot for jet engines. But more like a nitrous shot on bath salts. 

Looking inside, this looks like it’s ready for track day rather than the straight-shot blasts. That’s because it’s not for that. It is for twisties, corners, and the like. 

Pontiac Fiero
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook

The owner states this project is for a land speed record. That leads one to believe this is, after all, a straight-line dragster of sorts. But no, the record is for one-mile ovals. To confuse you some more, there is no record, so this would have been the first. 

But let’s pull back for a moment. Just because you have massive amounts of thrust doesn’t mean you can harness it to the ground. We can imagine this having so much thrust there is nowhere to go but straight, no matter where you point the steering wheel. 

Turbine-powered Pontiac
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook

The builder says the car incorporates “thrust vectoring.” This is supposed to help with the cornering issue we just alluded to. Thrust vectoring is like a turbine thruster attached to a rubber band. This allows the thruster or nozzle to point in different directions to help steer the thrust of the rocket engine. The process is called “gimbaling.”  

The thing is that this helps the vehicle to steer, but doesn’t do anything about traction. If the vehicle can’t adhere to the track surface, off-the-wall thrust, and steering ability won’t matter. You’ll essentially drive right into the grandstand directly ahead of you when you press “go.” 

Turbine-powered
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook

Beyond this dichotomy, when you see the quality of the tube chassis and components it is impressive, very impressive. It looks like even if the driver’s fate is plowing into the next grandstand after hitting the afterburner, he would, or could, survive. Aircraft hardware and CAD drawings are the origins of many of the parts and brackets. 

But there is more. You get the GE service manuals, a complete photo history of the build, and most important, “the theory of design including engine thrust conversion, chassis geometry, and setup specs.” We’d love to see that as it either reinforces or kills our concerns about traction and afterburners and such.

Pontiac Fiero
Turbine-powered Pontiac Fiero | Facebook
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