A 1983 Pontiac Fiero sports car model with a red paint color option parked near marble pillars
1983 Pontiac Fiero | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

The Pontiac Fiero was a mid-engine sports car coupe model produced and sold by the Pontiac division of General Motors (GM). Although initially well-received, the Fiero eventually earned a reviled reputation, drawing unfavorable comparisons to the infamous Ford Pinto.

Pitched as an affordable and efficient sports car in contrast to the more performance-focused Chevrolet Corvette and muscle car models, the Pontiac Fiero (meaning “wild” or “fierce”) first released in 1983 with high expectations. While initially receiving good reviews and sales, the Fiero later earned criticism for its subpar performance as a sports car. Later, its bad press ballooned after defective connecting rods caused many Fiero models to be at risk of catching fire. At least 260 instances of Fieros bursting into flames have been recorded. This made the Fiero poor competition for its main rival, the Toyota MR2.

Oddly enough, the poor reputation of the Pontiac Fiero has made it a collector’s item, as well as a favored vehicle for modifications. Additionally, the failure of the Fiero helped lead Pontiac to design the Grand Am and Sunbird models.

About Pontiac

  • 1988 Pontiac Fiero (Starting MSRP $13,999)
  • Pros: The Pontiac Fiero sports car coupe was the first of its kind in the U.S. and caught eyes for its handsome design and fun performance behind the wheel.
  • Cons: The Fiero had numerous problems, including poor handling, an underpowered engine, a shaky chassis, and frequent reliability issues. Additionally, a large number of Fiero models had a defect that put the cars at significant risk of catching on fire.
  • See Also: Solstice and Sunfire

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