Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

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Thread: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

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    News Contributor Premium Member EJD1984's Avatar
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    Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero
    A cautionary tale from America's first mid-engine production car
    Motor Trend
    Scott Evans
    July 5, 2019



    Chevrolet's soon-to-be-revealed mid-engine Corvette has nearly 70 years of Corvette history to contend with and learn from, but there's another history lesson hiding in the halls of General Motors. Thrity-five years ago, Pontiac introduced the Fiero, America's first and only mass-production mid-engine car (until the mid-engine Corvette gets here).

    The Fiero's story is long and complicated, but it contains a number of important lessons for the mid-engine Corvette. Here are the three biggest, straight from a former owner.

    BUILD THE RIGHT CAR THE FIRST TIME
    When the Fiero debuted in 1984, it was a cheery little economy car with a 92-hp four-cylinder engine and Chevy Citation and Chevette suspension parts. It wasn't the car Pontiac wanted to build, but it was the car GM's management would approve. It took years of work and untold millions to make it a proper sports car. By the time that happened, sales had plummeted and the car was canceled.

    Chevrolet, thankfully, has never had to lie about what kind of car the Corvette is, but there's still a lesson here, and it's a classic: You only get one chance at a first impression. The car that debuts on July 18 needs to be awesome. It can't be the cheap one or the one with the wimpy engine. It doesn't have to be the almighty ZR1, but whatever model it is needs to impress and set the stage for future higher-performance cars. There are a ton of expectations for this car, and Chevrolet can't afford to blow the intro, or the better cars coming later will never get the chance.
    *Full Article at Link

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    I remember reading an article back in 1985 (Popular Mechanics I think) "P Dazzle" it was named. All about the making of the Fiero. Which started out as a 2 seat Commuter Car for Pontiac, and wound up trying to be a Road Car, that failed at both.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    I have always wondered if the Fiero had been marketed and sold in other world markets if it's story would have been vastly different.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Once they "fixed" the Fiero I think it was one of the best looking cars of the 1980's.

    There will be howls of over-reaction on GMI if the volume declines; I do expect a price increase and a corresponding decrease in volume. But, as GM noted, the front engine configuration was pretty much at the limit of physics. If they kept it front engine, where could future generations go? There'd be no room for real performance improvement. Though the switch to mid-engine just bumps the same problem out a generation or two. How would GMI react if a C8 or C9 Vette came out and the performance was little changed?

    All the big sports car makes are bumping into physics - there isn't much more room left for performance improvements.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by EJD1984 View Post
    I have always wondered if the Fiero had been marketed and sold in other world markets if it's story would have been vastly different.
    Ask Opel.


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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    BUILD THE RIGHT CAR THE FIRST TIME
    When the Fiero debuted in 1984, it was a cheery little economy car with a 92-hp four-cylinder engine and Chevy Citation and Chevette suspension parts. It wasn't the car Pontiac wanted to build, but it was the car GM's management would approve. It took years of work and untold millions to make it a proper sports car. By the time that happened, sales had plummeted and the car was canceled.
    That's kind of how I saw it too. I had a fondness for these especially after they came out with the GT version.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Poor little guy. It was knee capped out of the gate and just as its full potential was just starting to be realized...dead.

    I wonder where the Fiero would be today if GM had just continued to build on it.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Buttons View Post
    Poor little guy. It was knee capped out of the gate and just as its full potential was just starting to be realized...dead.

    I wonder where the Fiero would be today if GM had just continued to build on it.
    Thought provoking post It's sad that GM had to sort of half-ass it from the beginning. It could have been so much more. Another prime example of why Pontiac disappeared.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Buttons View Post
    Poor little guy. It was knee capped out of the gate and just as its full potential was just starting to be realized...dead.

    I wonder where the Fiero would be today if GM had just continued to build on it.
    I'll get ripped apart for this, but I always thought Pontiac should have discontinued the Firebird (as cool as I thought the Firebird was) and made the Fiero its sport car. This would've given Pontiac something truly different than Chevy.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    It did not feel like an economy car to me, but it wasn't a sports car either the first year. The V6 was a lot more fun to drive.

    If it had had a half inch more headroom, I'd have bought one in 1984, but I had to lean the seatback so much that it was difficult to turn the manual steering. I was also doubtful about first year reliability, which proved correct. Instead, I got the first year of the Turbo Sunbird, stupidly with the 4 speed manual, went through 2 clutches in 4 years, then sold it to my brother, who promptly blew out the turbo in a year (I'd been careful!).

    I'd been driving a 74 Fleetwood for several years, so either car was going to be a YUGE change.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Buttons View Post
    I wonder where the Fiero would be today if GM had just continued to build on it.



    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyDiablo View Post
    Ask Opel.


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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyDiablo View Post

    I don't count *og***t Opels as vehicles. Especially as one I would want to drive if they were cars.

    So let's stay in the U.S about this topic...please,kind sir.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Buttons View Post
    I don't count *og***t Opels as vehicles. Especially as one I would want to drive if they were cars.

    So let's stay in the U.S about this topic...please,kind sir.
    It's nearly the same size, weights less, has a bit more power, same skeletal superstructure construction, same composite style body panels. It doesn't get more applicable to the conversation, just sayin.

    Does it help that it was developed as a joint venture with Lotus? Also the basis for a Tesla roadster.


    Now imagine she's got an LS4/F40 drivetrain

    Last edited by JimmyDiablo; 07-06-2019 at 11:10 PM.

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by 1958carnut View Post
    Thought provoking post It's sad that GM had to sort of half-ass it from the beginning. It could have been so much more. Another prime example of why Pontiac disappeared.
    You have to go with your strength. And if half-assing it is a strength, then you go with it.

    Another car that missed the spark from John Z, who'd departed the GM scene a decade before.
    2017 Soul &, Titanium

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    Re: Mid-Engine Corvette: What it Can Learn from Pontiac Fiero

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyDiablo View Post
    It's nearly the same size, weights less, has a bit more power, same skeletal superstructure construction, same composite style body panels. It doesn't get more applicable to the conversation, just sayin.

    Does it help that it was developed as a joint venture with Lotus? Also the basis for a Tesla roadster.

    And I am Super Sayin that,Nope..it gets no passes from me.

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