Today we have a very special Nice Price or Crack Pipe. Not only are we going to determine if this Fiero-based GT40 is worth its asking price, we’re going decide if it’s worth saving at all.
Have you ever stumbled across a four-leaf clover? Found a golden ticket? How about pulled a satisfyingly huge and annoyingly muffling boulder of wax from your ear? It was your lucky day, right? It was with that sort of sense of achievement that I presented you with yesterday's custom Previa pickup. Unfortunately for its present owner, the prospect of Previa pickup possession was proved unpalatable to 56 percent of the poll participants at his price.
Ford’s GT40 taught Ferrari a thing or two about factory racing. The position many teachers take is in front of the class, and in 1966 Ford’s Shelby-led effort crowded three 7-litre GT40s at the lectern to school everybody else on how to win at Le Mans.
As much as Ford wanted their name in the winner’s circle - and deep were the company’s pockets in funding the GT40 program - it’s surprising how much of the effort to smack down the Italians was shopped out to others.
Eric Broadley of Lola fame agreed to a one-year development contract with Ford, and sold the company a pair of Lola MK6 chassis to serve as development platforms. John Wyer, formerly of Aston Martin Racing, was hired as additional engineering muscle, and eventually development and track stewardship of the cars was handed over to Holman Moody and Carroll Shelby.
The point of all that is make clear that the GT40, while branded Ford, and carrying that company’s V8 engines, wasn’t really so much an all-Ford product. That fact may make it easier to accept today’s Fiero-based GT40 homage. Not only that, but seeing as the GT40 has a history of multiple partners, perhaps we today can determine if this GT Faux-ty is worthy of an engine transplant to make its go a little more evocative of its show.
When it was proposed for production, Pontiac’s mid-engie Fiero scared the ever living crap out of Chevy’s Corvette bean counters. They imagined the lithe sports car would clean the ‘Vette’s clock sales wise as it was cheaper to produce and sell, and possessed the siren's song lure of a behind-the-seats drivetrain.
Because of that, Pontiac was forced by their GM parent to position the Fiero not as a sports car, but as a two-seat commuter, and saddled the Fiero with the drivetrain equivalent of a tremorous albatross around the car’s neck - the craptacular Iron Duke. That two and a half litre pushrod four was universally derided and gained the well deserved sobriquet the Iron Puke.
Now, having only ninety ponies in it may be worth bragging rights for a European Burger King, but it’s shameful for a car that endeavors to carry the honor of one of the greatest racing legends in history. The automatic transmission in this beast doesn’t help any either.
I know, I know, you’re honing your pitchforks and prepping the torches, but it’s not all bad here. The Fiero eventually was made available with not only a more pony-riffic six cylinder but also a 5-speed manual to make the most of those extra pots, and this car comes with both.
All you’d have to do is mate them with the car.
Hell, you’d buy a chest of drawers from IKEA fully knowing there’s Some Assembly Required, why not a car? The GT40 bodywork looks well done if not exactly true to proportion, and the seller says he’s renewed some of the bits on the suspension as well. Inside there’s still all that iconically rectilinear Fiero styling, but it seems serviceable. Mechanically the ad claims that the four banger runs without any major issue, other than it being an Iron Duke.
The seller had plans to drop in the six, but I think that any GT40, even one that’s Fiero-based, really ought to rock a V8. And, seeing as V8 Archie makes kits that enable this to be the case, I’d suggest dumping both the four and the six and investing in an LS1 or the like to sidewind behind this Fiero's seats. That’s going to cost a chunk of change and it’s now time for you to decide is whether or not, at $6,800, this weird GT40-bodied Fiero is a worthy starting point for any kind of engine bay heroics.
What do you think, is that a price that makes this an intriguing base for a little more performance to go with the looks? Or, is that way too high for ANYTHING saddled with an Iron Puke?
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