At $2,500, Is This 1988 Pontiac Fiero A Future Classic With A Yesterday Price?

Nice Price or No Dice: 1988 Pontiac Fiero
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Fiero is from the last — and many argue best — model year. It may be a little rough around the edges, but we’ll have to decide if its price smooths off those edges.

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Consider this: Porsche currently offers the Macan crossover with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes an impressive 248 horsepower. As laudable as that might seem, the 2002 Honda S2000 we looked at yesterday makes 240 horsepower out of that same displacement but without the need for any sort of compressor. And that was 20 years ago!

That amazing engine, along with a gloriously stock presentation, put the S2000's $12,900 price in contention. What resulted was an incontestable 64 percent Nice Price win.

Honda really seemed to get the S2000 right straight from the get-go. That’s not always the case: When Pontiac was still around and selling the midengine Fiero sports car, it didn’t seem to get the car dialed in until it was in its very last model year.

Oh look, here’s a Pontiac Fiero from 1988, the car’s very last model year.

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Photo: Craigslist

What made the 1988 Fiero different from earlier models was its upgraded and much more competent suspension. This alone makes the ’88 model year the one to buy if you’re looking to get into the Fiero lifestyle.

Should you want to get into this particular Fiero, you’ll need to know how to drive a stick. The seller makes it clear in both the ad’s title and its body copy that this is a manual Fiero. The ad goes so far as to warn: “No test drives unless you know how to drive a manual vehicle.” Admittedly, that’s a sad indictment of today’s automotive landscape, but it is what it is.

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Photo: Craigslist

Since we all can drive stick — you can, of course — we should be on the shortlist to see what this Fiero can do. So far it’s done 117,000 miles and, according to the Carfax provided, has been accident-free its whole life. The title is apparently just as clean.

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The little Pontiac does show its age and those miles, however. The plastic bodywork is a little beat-up looking in places. That’s mostly noticeable in the nose, where it appears someone has tried to unsuccessfully mount a license plate two or three times. Out back, the entire rear bumper cap looks like it’s been rattle-canned in a color that’s a mere approximation of the car’s factory white. On the plus side, most of the trim appears intact, and this is a moonroof-equipped car.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Not so nice are the 18-inch aftermarket wheels the car currently wears. Those are way too big, something the seller apparently acknowledges by noting that the factory wheels can come with the car.

The interior is another mixed bag. Everything looks reasonably clean and tidy in there save for the driver’s seat which is in need of recovering. Fortunately, reupholstery kits for the Fiero are readily available. Other cabin issues include a poorly installed aftermarket stereo and something unidentifiable that’s been stuck on the side of the instrument pod.

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Photo: Craigslist

The cherry on top of this Fiero sundae would be if it were a V6 car. It’s not, having instead the base 2.5-liter Iron Duke/Tech IV four-cylinder. That only made 98 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque, so this is very much like the similar Fiat X1/9 in being a slow car that’s fun to drive fast. The Muncie-built Getrag five-speed gearbox goes along way in bringing that fun.

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The question, of course, is whether you’d be doing much driving in this Fiero. It does seem to be a solid running example, and the ad notes the addition of a new battery and some reasonable engine maintenance. The seller even goes so far as to claim the car to be “Ready to daily drive!” The thing is, the Fiero is a dead model from a defunct brand out of a company that really isn’t looking backward. That means parts availability can be sketchy and model-specific stuff like tail lamp lenses and bumpers are pretty much nonexistent. Is Fiero ownership worth that kind of hassle? I guess it is if the price is right.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The price on this Fiero is $2,500 and it’s now up to you to say how right that might be. What do you think, is that a reasonable cost to get a Fiero experience with the best model year there is? Or, does the four-cylinder and the aesthetic issues make even that small amount seem like too great an ask?

You decide!

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Reno, Nevada, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

Nice Price. These are really nice little cars, as long as you pay close attention to the tortuously-laid out cooling system. And while the ‘88s had that much-improved Lotus tuned suspension, replacement parts are a fiar bit more expensive.

Don’t sweat that this has an Iron Duke/Tech IV powerplant. That’s just the perfect excuse to pop it out and replace it with a supercharged Buick V6 ... or Cadillac 4.1/4.5/4.9 ... or LS4. Or, if you just want a little more git, throw a header/cam/intake at the Iron Duke and get it up to 200-ish HP.

I repeat, Nice Price.