The Story of My Fiero
The Story of My Pontiac Fiero
Most people love and fondly remember their first car. I'm no different. My bicycle had been my only transportation through high school and college. I finished school in mid 1983, and ordered a Pontiac Fiero without even having seen so much as a picture of it. I just knew I wanted small and affordable. I had college loans to pay off afterall, but my parents both worked for GM and ordering a new car was the thing to do.
I'm dedicating this webpage to my first car, a Pontiac Fiero, that was sometimes difficult to get along with but always a great deal of fun.
Fiero Love At First Sight
I ordered my car just a few months before moving away from home for the first time. I had seen a line drawing and some of the basic statistics on the car, but that was it. in mid-1983 there were no Pontiac Fiero's anywhere.
A month or two later, while standing in the garage area at the dealership, my new car came around the corner for me to approve. Red and black, low to the ground, and very sleek; I hadn't expected it to be so "cool" looking. (You laugh now, but this was late 1983)
Flipping on the stereo with the speakers in the headrest and just enough room for me and a friend, it was very personal already. This wasn't a mom car or a sensible car, it was the perfect car for me.
I wasn't the only one who fell in love with it either. For the first several weeks people would stare, invite themselves to sit in it, and I would find large groups of them gathered around when I'd return to it in a parking lot. I had a car that no one had seen before and it was different than anything else on the road at that time.
My Fiero quickly became my best and most trusted friend. Sounds odd I know, but in addition to being a very personal car just based on it's tiny stature, it played an extremely important role in my life at the time.
I had moved several hundred miles away from my home to start my first job. I was a home based therapist who traveled through central and eastern Tennessee spending much of my time driving. To the tune of up to 290 miles a day. Yes, often working 6 day weeks and 15 hour days. My Fiero was there the entire time.
Unfortunately, as some had warned me, a car that is completely new to the market sometimes has "kinks" that have not yet been worked out. My Pontiac Fiero was indeed "kinky" in this manner. The worst of these problems seemed to be issues with the computer. Despite probably 10 to 12 trips to the dealership for various repairs, I suppose it is only fair to say I still managed to put over 60,000 miles on it in about 9 months.
It's symptoms varied. For a few weeks, the engine simply seem to cut out for a second or two while driving at highway speeds. Repeatedly. At other times it seemed it could barely run. Sputtering and limping along. On another occasion it simply would not shift out of lower gear (it was an automatic).
Needless to say, my Fiero spent a great deal of time at the garage.
The Fiero Allure
My Fiero wasn't the ultimate sports car, but it cost me just over $8,000 as I recall. Even back in the 80's that was pretty affordable. I loved driving it; so easy to maneuver around slower vehicles on the backroads in Tennessee. For a person who drove a great deal, the fuel efficiency definitely held expenses down. I can't swear to it, but I recall 34-38mpg on the highway in my 4 cyclinder. It didn't seem to have the tightest turning ability (or perhaps it was the lack of power steering at the time) but it would fit in any parking space. It wouldn't hold more than a couple of bags of groceries but it was a car for driving not hauling.
I sold my first Pontiac Fiero at the end of the year, and despite my troubles, got a GT because everything else I drove seemed far too lumbering to tolerate. My experience with my second Fiero was flawless and although it's not my style now, to sit behind the wheel of one again, manuevering a winding road, or sailing along a highway would be a hoot.
The History of the Pontiac Fiero
The Pontiac Fiero started out as more of an economy car which defied the boxy look, but evolved into more of a respectable sports car from the time of it's introduction in 1984 until it's final year of mass production in 1988. It was the first mid-engine two seater by a US manufacturer and offered a number of other innovations.
There were plenty of sports car enthusiasts that were critical initially due to it's failure to be a true sports car. It did evolve over it's four year existence however but lagging sales and reported safety concerns put an end to it's existence.
There are entire communities of Fiero enthusiasts who restore these cars and others who merely want them to use as kit cars.
For the millions of people who have never driven a Fiero and live in today's world of tall, somewhat boxy, and heavy vehicles, a test drive is recommended for the fun of it. If that's not possible, at least check out the videos below!