HomePick of the DayGM’s original mid-engine sports car, the much-improved, V6-powered Fiero GT

GM’s original mid-engine sports car, the much-improved, V6-powered Fiero GT


The story of the Pontiac Fiero is often told as an example of squandered opportunity, that of a cool-looking mid-engine sports coupe – a first for a U.S. manufacturer – that arrived at the perfect moment but which failed to deliver the goods.

Although there was much initial hoopla and decent sales at the outset, Fiero was quickly faulted for modest performance from its inline-4 and rudimentary suspension, which went against its racy looks.  Those early cars also developed a reputation for bursting into flames because of fuel leaks, a particularly nasty habit since the plastic-composite body fed the resulting blaze.

But GM engineers were hard at work improving the product, finally producing a credible little V6-powered sports car that looked more substantial and had the power and handling to back up its appearance.


But the damage was done, the Fiero name was tarnished beyond redemption and production was halted in 1988, just five years after inception.  A shame, really, since the updated Fiero models were rather nice sports cars.

The Pick of the Day is one of those much-improved later cars, a 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT, which has been tweaked for added performance from its 2.8-liter V6.

“This is one hot GT,” says the Volo, Illinois, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

“The original 2.8 V6 was rebuilt and horsepower was increased 78% to 250! Only 3,000 miles since done at a performance shop. Runs strong and reliable.”


The Fiero GT is a clean California car, the dealer says in the ad, with a “shiny black paint job,” rear spoiler, ground effects, and pop-up sunroof as well as pop-up headlights.  Cosmetic upgrades include a polished gas cap (also pop-up) and 18-inch alloy custom wheels. The odometer shows fewer than 42,000 miles.

The interior is also in very nice original condition, with sports seats, console, a full set of gauges, custom short-throw shifter and an upgraded audio system, the ad says.

The car is “very clean” underneath with no evidence of rust, the seller notes.  Recent work includes a new clutch and flywheel, new shocks and new brakes, the ad says.  It does, however, need the AC compressor replaced.

FieroThe Fiero looks great in the photos with the ad, and the extra power must make it a hoot to drive.  It’s very reasonably priced at just $14,998.

With Chevrolet coming out with its first mid-engine sports car, the C8 Corvette, this performance-enhanced Pontiac Fiero GT takes on some added luster.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


      • My thoughts exactly. My guess is you can’t find an AC compressor for it anymore since newer systems run off a different coolant.

    • Hey Bob, I’m restoring an 86 GT. Just installed a new engine with 0 miles. The car has 50,000 on the body. When it’s done can I send you pictures? It’s getting painted and I’m doing allot of interior work with many new parts from The Fiero Store. Headliner, switches, center console, anything that was discolored and damaged.

  1. With this car needing A / C worked on, you can figure on spending at least $2K or more and the cost to retrofit to R 134. So at $15K, it’s no bargain, just sayin’………

  2. a bit more info on what has been done to the engine would be nice. that much of a power increase on the 2.8 could take a relatively reliable engine way over the ridge….. comments.??

    • the 86 is a nice car but unfortunately the suspension improvement was not implemented until its final 88 year. i am a owner of a 88 GT and the older cars just do not compare to the 88 in terms of handling and improved overall ride. Im a very proud owner and usually the ones knocking the Fiero stop after a ride in the 88…just a great sports car that does not get recognition because of the earlier cars.

      • I have two 88 Fiero GTs, which is the ONLY year to own because the chassis was finally superb (unto its own, no Chevette parts, etc). Stock 2.8 V6 is ok but not even close to the 3800cc other GM cars were getting (can you say Buick Grand National 3800 turbo?). A previous 88 GT I owned had an aftermarket Design One turbo mated to the stock 2.8 and was a kick in the pants to drive. However, it doesn’t come close to the 3800 supercharged manual 5 speed GT sitting in my garage. THAT is the engine and tranny combo that would have had the Corvette team up at nights and Chevy screaming bloody murder. I love the dash comment ("two shoeboxes glued to the dash with gauges inside! LoL – So true!) Unique vehicles ahead of their time IMO. Don’t have to worry bout parking lot dings with the plastic bodies (technology that Saturn borrowed). 88 Fieros were the safest cars on the road back in the day. A Fiero saved my son’s life. His 88 coupe was t-boned by an F150 doing 65mph. Brian’s car flew up in the trees and came down on its roof. Rescue crew was incredulous the roof hadn’t crushed and the gas tank hadn’t burst into flames. Well, with the roll cage construction the roof wasn’t gonna cave in. And the "fuel cell-like" gas tank located mid section wasn’t going to explode either. I love these little cars! I’ll probably be buried in the stock GT LoL. I’ll leave the supercharged 3800 for Brian to zoom zoom around in after I’m long gone. THANK YOU PONTIAC for making some truly inspired cars (Firebird and Trans-Am, GTO and The Judge, 88 Fiero Formula and GT).

        • Did not get to finish my last remark we also installed quite a fue northstars in fieros almost forgot the 5.7 corvette engs. All you trashers should have driven one of those. I’m sorry ridden I’m sure you could not handle any of these well.

  3. Why even think about a Fiero? For the same money just buy a C5 , you will have over 400 hp, glass body,reliability near 30 hyway, and one of the most beautiful designs to come out of GM ever!
    I admit that 3800 in a Fiero would be a hoot, but the vett would kick its butt! That’s COR vette, NOT CHEvette!😁

  4. They didn’t call it the Fiero for nothing. I got to see five of these burn. One took the house with it. Seemed to have gotten it’s name for that reason. They were crap.

  5. Out of 360,000 Fieros produced, only 260 caught fire- there was a combination of problems including bad rods in the FIRST year $ cylinder engines- and V6 does NOT have that problem. Also, the car had the same performance as mid 80s RX7s and 300ZX (Non-Turbos)…..And if the Chevette suspension is so bad, why did the first gen Lotus use the same basic suspension? MT and R&T raved about the GT in 1985, but then Toyota started buying a lot of ad copy in CD and R&T and for some reason the Fiero wasn’t very good compared to the “perfect” MR2. I have owned my 85 SE V6 since new; rarely had problems, made minor suspension/engine/trans improvements and recently beat a S2000 around a cone course- my first time but the guy in the S2000 was a Miata racer. Stop swilling the Toyopet paid BS…..Read the MT or R&T 1985 GT tests and see what I am talking about.

  6. I have a 85 GT. Brought it new .
    It has a Miller Woods turbo , Bell tech drop spindles, 16 Centerline wheels, not modified ( yes the ones that were modified for smooth disc Indy pace car) . Front and rear sway bars.
    It has Recaro seats with electric power steering, a great fun car to drive
    Next update is the 3.4 with a updated turbo and the update to the Ryan suspension
    Yes I could get a C8 and probably will but the Fiero will stay , it’s the size that’s right , it’s really could be considered the prototype for the Alfa 4C ,which the Fiero could have evolved into 30 years ago
    Yes, my 85 might be viewed as only a great 1985 in 2020. But does well in autocrosses against newer cars. The driver being the weak link.
    That’s what’s the car hobby is about.
    Building Fun as well as Excitement


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