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Hooniverse Fastback Friday – Pontiac Fiero Formula

I’ve been hunting this Fiero down for some months now. I first saw it way back in autumn when I moved into town, but every time it’s been stationary and shootable it’s been so dark outside I can’t have done much. Now that I finally got it in my sights, it was grimy, salty, slushy and snowy. I proceeded not to care and snapped away.

Running the plate data, it’s described as being a 1989 Fiero. Since there are no 1989 Fieros as production ground down in late 1988, the car’s probably one of the 5,643 Formulas built in 1988 and the year designation is just down to the long travel to Europe. The plates on the car are not 1989 ones, so I do not know when it has been first registered in Finland.

Black on black steelies, it looks very very hoonable.

The Fiero Formula consisted of combining the 2.8 GT mechanicals and better suspension with the simpler-designed, more upright SE body. I like the looks of both, as the svelte GT somehow looks like a mid-’90s Toyota MR2 and the SE/Formula manages to look more like a natural development of the Fiat X1/9.

Especially amongst the bright and light-coloured Finnish shopping runaround hatchbacks, the Fiero looks like a prop from Heavy Metal. I imagine that inside it, cocooned by the tight tan interior, you’re bound to crank ’80s hard rock at full blast and proceed to head everywhere as sideways as the slush gets you. When I ran the X1/9 Turbo post, there were remarks the car probably got good traction as the engine weighed down on the drive wheels; hope the 2.8 V6 lump does the same.

I wonder how the wavy plastic body withstands the -30°C temperatures we got here earlier. Luckily enough, it’s now around zero celsius here and cars everywhere breathe a sigh of relief at the coming spring. I’m just figuring it out in my mind’s eye how a plastic Fiero shatters in the freezing cold when someone slams the door or carelessly reverses into it.


Writing this post, I have the old “Ride Pontiac Ride” ad campaign theme tune in my head. I love those ads, they have all the “sports car as a hero car” sort of neon lights get go about them.



[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

  • Irishzombieman

    I was just now experiencing a sort of "Dude! Where's My Fiero?" moment when I came across this post. Thank you, Mr Kautonen.

    <img src="http://bturn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/darth-vader-face.jpeg&quot; width=400>

  • MattC

    Ahh the Fiero….a prime example of what was wrong with GM at the time. By 1988, GM engineers finally were able to get a proper suspension in it and then GM cancelled the Fiero. GM's rationale was that there was no real market for a 2 seat sports car (Mazda introduced the Miata in 1989 and the rest is history).

    The Fiero had so much potential but was hampered by engine fires in the old Iron Duke 2.5 it its first year. There was an internal battle as to whether it should be marketed as a fuel efficient commuter or proper sports car. I really would have liked to see the Fiero continue with modern engines. (There is a pretty large secondary market for the Fiero now. The car is capable of accepting a large variety of engine swaps. The body panels aslo lend themselves to easy modification).

  • Joe_Btfsplk

    Wonderful, majestic, FIERO….made back in the day by the ancient Pontiac tribe in a beautiful, golden city called Detroit. FIERO translates to "Burning Chariot of the WalMart."

  • pj134

    Ah, fIERO… Its engine was in the middle and its wheels on the ground.

  • smalleyxb122

    If the car pictured is a true Formula, it would have to be an '88, since they only made the Formula for one year.

    Late last year, there was a tauntingly inexpensive Formula on craigslist. I don't need another Fiero, but it was an '88 Formula! I was able to restrain myself long enough for the ad to disappear from craigslist.

    I guess I'll just continue to enjoy my '86 GT, and defending it against the disparagers.

    • julkinen

      "We don't need another Fiero/ We don't need another way home/ All we want is that beyond/ The Iron Duke"

  • karmatose


    The last few years I've been trying to find a decent late production Fiero GT in my area so I could shove this SII L67 3800 I have sitting in my garage into it. I thought it'd be properly fun with the G6 6-speed gearbox. Sadly I couldn't find a good one and gave up.

    …I bought an E30 instead, but I'd still kill for a Fiero GT.

  • hwyengr

    You may have found the last remaining Fiero that can retract BOTH of its headlights. Whether either of them can go back up, though, remains to be seen.

    • ilovemytruck

      Hey, my baby just turned 26 and about 10 yrs ago, one eyelid did not want to open up. Cost me somewhere around $200 (then) for the eye surgery but she has been blinking fine, ever since! And she has never been garage kept, she is driven every day and since I am just a girl ( an older model, by now!), none of the maintenance ( except the basics) has ever been performed before there is a problem! Tiny bit of WD-40 and common sense can keep hinges lubricated, locks from freezing and eyelids working!

      • boxdin

        The delrin headlight bushings only cost a few dollars. You got robbed.

  • tonyola

    I test drove a Pontiac Fiero and a Honda CRX 1.5 on the same day in October 1983. The contrast between the two couldn't have been greater. The Honda was faster, offered one more gear, handled better, had far superior build quality, used less fuel, had a much sweeter engine and gearshift, held a decent amount of cargo for such a small car, weighed 500 pounds less, and – here's the kicker – cost less. I ended up buying a CRX without so much as a twinge of regret for passing on the Fiero. If that wasn't bad enough news for Pontiac, Toyota came along a year later with the sweet MR2.

  • salguod

    The Fiero GT is maybe a fastback, but this is not. Cool find, yes. Fastback, no.

  • Mike_the_Dog

    A Fiero on snow tires is an amazingly capable machine. If the snow's not deep enough to high-center it.

  • Maymar

    Damn it, I'll have that Ride, Pontiac Ride jingle stuck in my head all day, and severely wish there was a full-length version kicking around somewhere. Not that it'd do much good, it just wouldn't have the same effect coming out of the tinny speakers of a Hyundai Accent, especially now you can't drive up Yonge under Sam the Record Man's neon lights.

  • Corvette_Poncho

    And why is there is a lady standing in front of a confederate flag at the end of the video?