On the Acquisition of a Second Generation Fiero.

The period from 1992 to 1998 (what is that about seven years bad luck ?) was not the greatest. Things were accomplished but mostly because one cure for depression is hard, full-immersion work.

During that period I came to the conclusion that I would never be able to properly restore the cars I had and sold several - the '72 GTO wagon and the '70 Grand Prix 4-speed.

Others left by less benign means - the Fiero was totaled by a lady running a red light but it took almost a year to prove it. In late 1997 the Sunbird suspension failed (or perhaps lasted just long enough).

In February 1998 the last of the debts incurred by a mistaken belief in justice in the civil court system (goes to whomever can afford the most "experts") was paid off and things finally began to look up.

Bottom line was that we needed a new(er) car. I wanted something to drive to work that would allow me to see over traffic rather than looking at license plates as in the Fiero. We needed a "trip" car as the wagon had been, something that would permit Linda to lie down if the pain got too bad (had a '67 Cadillac Brogham for several years that she could lie down in the back seat but a bit to large for today).

Second factor was more troublesome: I do not believe in air bags. I do believe in GOOD restraint systems - have worn seat belts since 1964 - but not anything which might take control away from me while the accident is still going on - and I have had some accidents go on for a loooong time. This limited the search somewhat since the gov made it hard for automakers to not put in airbags around 1990.

However these laws were for automobiles and for a few years did not include "light trucks". GM minivans (the modern station wagon) were "light trucks". So started looking for these, but not just any, did have a few other requirements such as low milage, optioned out, 3.8 engine with 4 spd OD and such. Just the 3.8/no air bags limited the search to 1992-1993 model years.

This really started in April 1998 though had mentioned to a few people earlier. We were planning a long road trip in June, the first in many years. The intervening time was spent looking at more junk than I would have imagined existed. Typical for 5-6 year old vans was 90,000-110,000 miles with few/no options. Most were 3.1s and over 50 miles away. Almost none had a power driver's seat. Expanded search to Chevvys and Oldsmobubbles. More of the same. Finally found a Lumina a week before we were to leave which seemed acceptable but just was not right. Got disgusted. Linda suggested we stop at a 7-11 where she proceeded to make one (1) phone call & gave directions to a local Oldsmobile dealer

What we found there was a Jade Grey Metallic (I know it looks grey in the picture - it is green. Trust me 8*) 1992 TranSport SE with less than 70,000 miles. Nearly every option (and a few I did not notice until later), even the rear inflator and ALS. Good windshield (for some reason nearly every GMini van we looked at had bad windshield scratches caused by the monster wipers - seems to be endemic). Needed tires but not a problem & a negotiating point as was the modular seat that did not fit properly.

After the mandatory hour of haggling (know it should be at least three over several days but never saw any point to that), a price I thought appropriate was agreed upon and we had a van.

One week and a set of 205/70s later we were on the road for a circle trip - Orlando to DC, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and home. Such confidence.

Have found that the best configuration for two people is to remove three of the modular seats and keep two in line on the driver's side. This provides seating for four if necessary while maintaining a twin-size area for a futon so Linda can lie down if necessary. Also acquired a "console" that sits between the two front seats. Makes a better armrest, adds larger/closer cupholders, and keeps things from the back from getting underfoot during hard braking.

Of course some are probably asking "but what makes this a second generation Fiero ?" Is simple: Fiero was a plastic car with a steel frame that used front drive components. Transport is a plastic car with a steel frame and front drive. Even some of the same machines used to make the Fiero are now used for these small GM vans. True, the Disney Monorail nose and windows take some getting used to but the driving position is confortable and cruising, even considerably above the 70 mph limits now popping up, is comfortable and provides 25 mpg of 87 octane exactly the same as my '86 Fiero V-6. What more do you want ? 8*).