One of the Pontiac Fiero's touted features was a plastic body that could be changed for another. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fiero Mera has had its body switched for that of an italian, but is its price lira-cal?

ASCII Art is imagery created from the 95 printable characters in the ASCII compliant character set. Up close it appears to be nothing more than a binary cacophony, but by backing away from the image, coherency emerges. Yesterday's '73 or '74 BMW 2002tii convertible was much like that ASCII art, only made from rust particles rather than dot matrix output. The relatively narrow 64% Crack pipe loss is evidence that backing away from a classic Bimmer still remains a challenge.

But we're not going backwards today, it's all ahead, faux! We've seen Fiero-based homages to Lamborghini, Ferrari, as well as glue-sniffiers' hallucinatory creations before in these hallowed halls, but what makes today's phony baloney Fiero Fauxrrari interesting is that it was once sold as new through Pontiac dealers, albeit without Pontiac's blessing but with a full warranty. The Fiero's un-stressed RIM plastic body over a steel subframe proved a blessing for those who yearned to live the life of an exotic car pilot but whose pockets carried little more than linty Tic Tacs and just enough change to make a local call. The Fiero became more than just a plastic fantastic, it had become the modern equivalent to VW's versatile Beetle platform.

The brain child of Corporate Concepts in Capac Michigan, the Mera re-imagined the 1987 Fiero GT as something Magnum would drive - a 308GTS - or would at least something that would help its porn-stache jonesing owners in needing a Magnum, Sheik, or Trojan after a Friday night trip to the neighborhood Black Angus. This lemon yellow '87 Mera is one of only 88 completed and sold through Pontiac's dealers that year. As with any '87 Fiero GT, the suspension's like a southern cousin to the ancient Chevette up front and the GM X-body in the back. That is, it's got an X-body front that's moved to the. . . to be more precise, what used to be in front of you in the Citation is now behind you in the. . . did I mention it has a 140-bhp V6? Yessireebob, the 2.8-litre L44 V6 sports port injection and sturdy pushrods to keep maintenance costs at Pep Boys levels rather than a real 308's bend you over and let Manny, Moe, and Jack Mapplethorpe-you levels. Backing that up is an Isuzu-sourced five speed stick and the car comes with most of the modern amenities you've grown to love, like ABS, A/C, and powered everything so you can't use the car as an excuse for not hitting the gym.

The seller says the car has but 69,000 miles on the clock, and that odo rests in the bosom of what is unquestionably the most angular dashboard this side of Picasso's Pegaso. Despite the I ass-cones the eighties interior styling, its browness appears to have held up remarkably well. The stick for that five speed does stick up far enough out of the center hump that you could offer your friends cut-rate prostate exams with it, but that's just an added perk. Outside, the car sports Ferrari badges and enough prancing horses for it to star in Equus, off Broadway. The Real 308GTS is a full targa, but as the Fiero base was a Tee-top, so too is the Mera. In back, the resemblance to Enzo's eight is uncanny, but up front is where things start to go south. The 308 had solid covers on its pop-up headlights, and louvered vents behind. The Mera says the hell with all that complexity and merges the two in a louvered pop-up that looks. . . odd.

This car is claimed to have had one owner since '89, and has made the rounds of the Mera club meets ( yes, such things exist) and in fact, you can see a picture of what looks to be this exact same car with Corporate Concepts boss, Bob Bracey leaning against it here.

The Mera was only made available for two years, '87 and '88 (the latter year being based on the cheaper Formula rather than the GT) before Ferrari's lawyers habeased its corpus or something. That makes this Fiero a rare and interesting footnote in the annals of Pontiac's history. That being said, it is a fake 308GTS. THAT being said, it does come with both a pretty reliable drivetrain and a $9,900 price tag. Is that a price that makes it an Am-Mera-can hero? Or, would you only pay that much for this fake Ferrari in funny money?

You decide!

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