Fiero Enthusiasts Give Dying Teen Last Wish

Tyler Shipman loves Pontiac Fieros so much he posed for his senior picture with one he bought for $150. Weeks later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He'd need a miracle to finish his project car.


After two failed chemo and radiation therapy treatments Tyler decided to return home to die on his own rather than die in a hospital. He hoped he'd be able to finish working on his Fiero. But, running short on strength and time, he turned to the forum for help. It was there where he connected with Andrew Weigel, who quickly worked with other members to assemble a team of fellow Fiero lovers and $4,000 in parts to restore and customize the car. Weigel was not only a fan of the mid-engined sports car, he was also a father with a son one year younger than Tyler.

Less than three weeks later an entire community of car enthusiasts assembled at a local shop in Frazee, Minnesota where Tyler lives. This group created the yellow car, dubbed Tyler's Toy, in just 24 hours. Weigel, who is serving as a Sergeant in the Pennsylvania National Guard in Iraq, watched the entire process from a web cam.

The part that'll really make those tears drop? When it was all done Tyler's dad was supposed to take his son around for a ride, but Tyler was able to summon the strength to drive it himself.

[KARE, TaylorsToy] (Hat tip to Zeeboid!)


The brilliant chassis design makes it possible.

The chassis is stamped in the factory, and the whole thing went into a gigantic mill-and-drill rig that trued up all the mounting pads to each other and the chassis simultaneously, then drilled panel mounting holes into those selfsame pads. At a time when GM build quality wasn't great, the Fiero was actually superior to good Japanese and European products, and the last one off the line was as identical to the first as the mill rig's tolerances could make it. So if you have a few wrenches handy and a stack of new body pieces, you can reskin a Fiero with a bunch of helpers very quickly.

For not having a lot of time to finish his project, Tyler's favorite car was a fortuitous choice.