On the Acquisition of a Fiero. Again Again

Back in 1989 I bought a Fiero. Actually it was my sister's car and she had gotten tired of it. I had driven a rental for a week back in '84 when they came out and enjoyed the idea of a car you wore. Her Fiero was like that rental - red 4 cyl automatic with a/c, radio, and a luggage rack about the only options. Everything else was manual. It did have "Rally IV" wheels of which the less said the better.

Even so I really liked that car (but then I cannot think of a car that I did not like, just some fit me better than others) and drove it until son turned 16. Original plan was to give him the Sunbird but decided it would be a better idea if his first car was an automatic. He had it for about a year before a lady ran a red light and totalled it. Fortunately there were witnesses.

Aferwards I still liked Fieros but there have been times when they just did not fit my life. In 2001 I bought the 88 Reatta when the D.A.R.E. car purchased at a police auction became a size too small.

Since then I have had some serious life changes and resulted in my losing about 40 lbs. Late in 2008 I had disposed of the Corvair and with son then driving the TranSport found myself without a spare. Since the 92 TranSport was the "new" car, this was a concern and the Judge (12 mpg of premium which was then over $4/gal) was not something you would want to drive regularly.

Meanwhile I had discovered CraigsList which is sort of a local "For Sale" site for things which do not belong on eBay. Coupled with the economic downturn and a major surplus of late model used cars, the prices of older cars were being pushed down also and many cars of the eighties and early nineties were not selling at all.

I think it was the fresh white and black paint that did it, or maybe the R-134a converted a/c that worked well, but when I first saw the 1986 Fiero GT advertised, interest was kindled. The manual transmission was to me a plus, the four speed (rather than five) a minus but I seem to attract these. Had some electrical issues but I know how to fix those and the typical headlamp droop but again I had the parts and expertise and when a few weeks later the price had dropped about 40% (owner really needed to sell), it was enough.

The only real issue was an exhaust leak that took nearly a day to fix but is now quiet. It also developed a radiator leak but fortunately I had a spare.

A well optioned GT, there was a surprise a few weeks later when I replaced the faceplate for the radio which I thought was an 80's am/fm/casette (all of which worked) and found reference to a CD. What I had missed in my inspection (which was mainly under the car making sure there was no rust) was that behind the passenger seat was a ten disk CD changer that plays my home made CDs nicely.

GTs come with 15x7 snowflakes and I have always liked that wheel. Two of the 205x60x15s on the car were very good so I replaced the rears with 215x65x15s with the concept that a little taller wheel would make up a bit for the lack of a fifth gear and it helps. Would still like about 500 rpm less at 65 mph so looking (not very hard) for an Isuzu (NOT Getrag) five speed and changeover parts..

So a nice 4 speed V-6 Fiero GT with working a/c and nice sound system took up residence and once a few things were repaired and replaced (turned out I already had most of the spare parts) cosmetically nice. Something easy to park, inexpensive to drive, not ashamed to take to local car shows, and a two seater Pontiac. A perfect spare.