1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, With Bonus Fiero Judgment Poll

Illustration for article titled 1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, With Bonus Fiero Judgment Poll

When we had the Detroit Malaise Poll (which, by the way, was won by the beautiful T-top-equipped '78 Eldorado), I realized that I had no Late Malaise Detroit cars in this series. In fact, other than the '80 IHC Scout, we haven't had any 80s American vehicles here. To remedy this situation, I grabbed my camera and started walking, intending to shoot the first DOTS-worthy 80s Detroit car I found... and I didn't have to go far before I spotted an example of GM's coulda-been-a-contender mid-engine car...


1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, With Bonus Fiero Judgment Poll

I should have known I'd find a good car on this block, since so many other DOTS cars live on it. You can see the '80 Porsche 911SC in the background here, and the '66 Beetle convertible, '78 Civic, and '73 Plymouth Scamp live on the same block as well.

1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, With Bonus Fiero Judgment Poll

I can't believe this huge mirrored trim panel was a factory item... oh, wait- it was 1985!

1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, With Bonus Fiero Judgment Poll

Thinking about the Fiero always makes me feel a bit sad, because it was under development during my formative teenage car-geek years and looked like it was going to be something incredibly cool. The first ones hit the street when I was 17, and the realization that they had been bean-countered to death was a heartbreaking one (had I been old enough to remember the Corvair, I'd have been more cynical about The General and the way he tends to fumble the execution of great concepts). By 1988, when the Fiero actually got the V6 and good suspension it was supposed to have had all along, it was too late to save the car, and nobody cared. But perhaps the Fiero wasn't a failure- maybe I'm just bitter because the whole Fiero fiasco episode came at a time when my expectations were unrealistic. Let's have a poll and see how the readers feel about this incredibly important issue!

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First 150 DOTS Cars


Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker

The Fiero is yet another example of GM introducing a half-baked car, then scrambling to getting it right just in time to pull the plug. The aforementioned Corvair is a perfect example. By the time GM replaced the swing axle suspension made famous in "Unsafe At Any Speed" the plot was already purchased and the hole dug. Same for the Vega and its many iterations.

Once they replaced the Chevette-front and Citation-rear suspensions, the Fiero was a pretty good handling car.

Image a world were a further refined Fiero was offered with one of the high horsepower Quad4 engines...