It seems that every decade had one car that stood out among the rest, and the same could be said about the Fiero of the 1980s. Combining a mid-engine/rear-drive layout with an attractive, aerodynamic, lightweight body seemed like a sure winner on paper. But unfortunately, the little Pontiac never earned its due; with engine fires, poor build quality, finicky electronics and cheap components. The car could have been so much more if General Motors allowed for a bigger budget to manufacture a properly built vehicle.
It wouldn’t be until the 1988 model year, where most of the bugs had been worked out and the Fiero was a very decent car to be had – especially in GT trim. The stillborn 1989 second-gen Fiero would have been quite the performance machine, based on what we’ve seen, but that’s irrelevant now with Pontiac long gone.
While the Fiero largely faded away from the public spotlight, only living on in modern movies with retro stereotypes attached, enthusiasts still pull them out of junkyards, barns, fields and budget car lots with the sole intention of building a race car.
Thanks to the 21st century aftermarket and hot-rodder ingenuity, we can now take these forgotten sports cars and turn them into serious performance machines.
One enthusiast certainly is, by ditching the boat anchor engine his Fiero had originally left the factory with, and instilling it with a 3800 V6 later found under the the hoods of the late ’90s-era Grand Prix. Unlike the popular supercharged L67 swap, however, the owner decided to turbocharge and nitrous inject his 3800.
Off the bottle, the car is deep in the 11s, posting an 11.1 at 129 mph. Once that button is hit, however, the little pocket rocket comes to life, and the timing board lights up with a 9.87 at 142 mph! You can laugh at it for being a Fiero all you want, but you wouldn’t want to race him in your C7 Z06 for pink slips, that’s for sure!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.