The idea of making and selling a small, powerful mid-engine car is certainly not new, but it can be a fun and profitable venture, if it’s done right. Enter the 1984 Pontiac Fiero. The American manufacturer really went all out in the design of this car, both inside and out. The simple, streamlined silhouette was an instant hit, while the engineering design, particularly how the car was put together, was nothing short of groundbreaking, which is a reason why the Fiero is, to this day, a favorite of kit-car enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the car was plagued from the beginning with reliability and handling issues that seriously compromised its success.
Those were not the only problem to plague the Fiero; it seems that Pontiac had bet the farm on design and style, and forgot about the engine and drive-train. The car was powered by a inline four-cylinder engine with a 2.5-liter displacement, producing an embarrassing 90 horsepower. It could manage a top speed of 110 miles an hour, but considering the handling issues, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Acceleration to 60 was an underwhelming 11 seconds.
It’s almost as if Pontiac assumed that nobody would care if it drove like a horse-cart, as long as it looked good. They finally got to their senses in later models, fixed the handling issues and put in a bigger engine, but the harm was done. The 1984 Pontiac Fiero was a great-looking little car that deserved much better than it got from its manufacturer.