If you’re going to fake it until you make it, you could do far worse than to engage in your fakery in car like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fiero Mera. Let’s see if this clever re-body’s price can make it the real deal.
Old, slow, and questionably modded were all incriminations thrown at yesterday’s 1992 Mercedes Benz 300D. None of those however, stuck to the classy—and seemingly teflon-coasted—sedan, as it merited a respectable 55 percent Nice Price win for its $4,500 asking.
Hey, have you ever worn a disguise? Maybe for a halloween party or because you needed to infiltrate an elite foreign cabal in the attempt of pulling off an impossible mission? How did that go?
Today’s 1988 Pontiac Fiero Mera is a car in disguise. It’s intended to look like a Ferrari 308 GTB, right down to the prancing horses residing respectively on its nose and tail. This is not a kit car though, the Mera was only available as a dealer-offered conversion for the then-new Fiero.
Back then it was intended to give its owner a Ferrari experience at just about half the cost of the real deal, and with far lower operating expenses. About 250 Fieros were converted into Meras over the course of the 1987 and ’88 model years before the Fiero’s untimely death and the inevitable lawsuits from Maranello spelled the end. In its last year you could even get Cromodora-cast alloy wheels to extend the illusion, which was probably not the best decision considering the legal issues already facing the car’s existence.
This one lacks the Cromodoras, but instead wears a set of innocuous five spoke wheels under its handsome if counterfeit fenders. This being an ’88 it features all of the suspension and braking improvements GM finally allowed the Fiero to wear.
Along with those, this Mera maintains the most desirable drivetrain, the rock solid 2.8-litre OHV V6 and Getrag 282 five-speed transmission. Power here should be 135 horsepower and 160 lb-ft of torque. No, those aren’t stellar numbers, but when you look like a Ferrari, who’s to complain?
The interior lets down the Italian illusion, being box-stock Fiero. It all looks to be in decent shape though, with grey cloth on the seats and like-hued plastics throughout. The severely squared-off styling is an odd contrast to the Pininfarina-aping lines of the exterior, but it should hold up without too much trouble.
The ad notes that the car comes with a clean title and only 18,000 miles on the clock. That’s a phenomenally low number of miles, but that doesn’t mean the car hasn’t seen its share of age. The central tunnel-mounted fuel tank has had to be replaced, as has the sender and pump. That would indicate years of disuse, which means this Mera may have been a museum piece for a time—like, a long time.
Regardless, the fuel system has been renewed from that tank to the injectors and now it is claimed that the car “Runs GREAT!!!!” The clutch has a new master and slave, and the shifter has had new cables installed. The latter seems to need to be adjusted, however.
Sloppy shifting isn’t this Mera’s only black mark. I’ve left the worst for last, and that’s a bit of body damage in the front-right corner. The fiberglass there has seen a shunt and is now cracked across both the corner and at the edge of the headlight bucket. This has also left the front bumper looking a little wonky. We see the car in other pictures in its before condition, but only a close-up of it after the fact.
The bodywork needed doesn’t look to be extensive, but that’s as long as it’s just simple fiberglass work, and doesn’t require any Mera-exclusive parts underneath.
There’s another thing to keep in mind here. The Mera was made possible by the Fiero’s unique design and build. The basic chassis of Pontiac’s mid-engine two-seater was a full, but fully skeletal, uni-body upon which plastic body panels were screwed and bolted.
This made for easy updating of the car’s styling, or, as was the case of the Mera, changing it entirely. The issue with the Fiero’s design however is that it could hide accident damage. A minor front corner shunt could cause the entire chassis to rack and the pliable plastic bodywork would mask the damage.
That likely isn’t the case here, but I’d take a tape measure and check the distance between wheel centers just the same. I’d also take $12,500 as that’s the asking price. I wouldn’t necessarily spend that much, and it’s now your job to weigh in on how much someone should spend on this interesting bit of Fiero history.
What do you think, could this ultra-low mileage Mera be worth that $12,500 asking with its damaged bodywork? Or, does that price feel like too much for a flawed fake?
H/T to Keith E for the hookup!
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