It's been 15 years since I completed my 308 kit (1992-1996) and have been enjoying it ever since. Recently, a few members have asked me what kit manufacturer created the molds since it is different from the Meras and the Mera knock-offs. I started this thread to have a place similar to what the Mera folks have done under the "A Real Mera in Paradise" thread, to bring together all those of you out there who might have an original Stinger kit. Who knows, there may be none left or possibly as many as two dozen or so still floating around. We won't know unless someone asks. So here's my invitation for anyone with a Stinger kit to make yourself known and post pictures of your ride to make those Mera guys jealous!
A little background first: The Stinger was originally crafted by Luc Chartrand from the Montreal area and the molds later turned over to Mario Cournoyer to be manufactured in a town north east of Montreal called Drummondville. Mario's business partner Peter Simorjay marketed the body through Fiero Plus, a small home-based mail-order business originally operated out of Ottawa, Canada. Luc Chartrand was the magician behind the fiberglass, having splashed the molds off a real 308. The primary differences he had to account for were the straight rear glass, the flatter Fiero windshield, and the 3" increased body width of the Fiero space frame. The rest though was made as authentic as possible, such as the rear decklid split line and high mounted hinges, narrow front hood, deep door scoops, further forward and wider spaced headlight pods, hidden gas cap and a host of other small details like Ferrari door handles. As a result, it wasn't a simple bolt-on body package, in fact, pretty much everything had to be installed by making whatever changes were necessary to the space frame, rather than making any styling concessions for ease of fitting. Due to the complexity of the installation, the kit was only sold as a turn-key kit for the first two years, 1990-1992 I believe. In 1992, I convinced Peter Simorjay to sell me the first body kit as a do-it-yourselfer, and in exchange for them providing me with a free interior kit as well, I wrote them a tech manual including all the instructions and photos necessary for the home-builder to complete one on his own.
Enough of a history lesson for now. To grab your attention, here's a few pictures of my Stinger kit. Let's see if there are any others out there.
(Edited to add Luc Chartrand's contribution)
[This message has been edited by Bloozberry (edited 04-07-2011).]
I had a real 308 and that is very close in looks well except for the windshield and of course that rear glass but to a casual observer its a very close match ..beautiful car! BTW how is the targa configured, it looks like you have a removable panel but kept the roof frame
the door glass would look cool with the parting line that real 308s have but might not look as well due to the Fiero mirror mount
[This message has been edited by Erik (edited 10-08-2010).]
Thanks Erik! My in-laws have a new neighbor from about a month ago that has a real 308 GTSi. He had already seen mine drive by and knew it wasn't an authentic one by the sound (SBC TPI). He said it looked Italian but sounded all Detroit! He's invited me over to take side by side phtos of it before we both put them away for the winter. Nice guy. I'll post some of these later.
About the targa top, I took a drive in the Stinger "show car" which had the true targa where the roof pillars had been cut, and the floor reinforced with an X frame. I came away quite disappointed with chassis flex. Perhaps there have been improvements in the way people stiffen Fiero floor pans on convertibles since then, but at the time I decided I wanted the function over form in this area. I opened up the sheet metal hole in the sunroof area leaving only the pillars to give the largest possible hole though. The top itself uses a modified Nissan Pulsar targa top locking mechanism. Here's a close up of the top area with the targa on and off:
I really like the roof mod it is unique. I always wanted to do a targa on a Fiero without having to stiffen the frame. My idea would be to use the stock Fiero roof panel cut and install a ttop frame with the stock Fiero roof panel modded to fit. kind of the same idea as your but having the roof "pillers" being the ttop center section
BTW the sound of a 308 is great but its deeper sounding than a 355 or 360 stock for stock exhaust which is kind of confusing to me due to the fact that its less displacement. But then again the stock exhaust on the 308 is a pig as compared to the 355 or 360. If I could have afforded it I would have bought a tubi system or a capistrano for my 308. One way you could get the "sound" would be to install a N* and have me build some 180* headers for you or do them yourself I think the 5.7 would be more diffucult to get the sound due to the displacement
[This message has been edited by Erik (edited 10-08-2010).]
very nice car!!! and i like your thread!!!! my mera was crashed pretty hard when i got it. i bought it for that reason/wrecked so that modifying it would not hurt my feelings. i have put a non sunroof roof skin on it so it looks like a 308 gtb, and i changed my qtr sails to that of a gtb as well. currently am modifying the front headlights so they will be very similar to the f308 as well. my car too has a sbc in it now. i built 180 degree headers, and am running a tubi muffler. anyhow keep up the good work and happy motoring. mike in oklahoma
Since you asked Synthesis: The first thing you should be aware of if you decide to do this mod to your Mera, is that the rear edge of the top horizontal section of the windshield frame has an integral up-turned duck-tail wind-deflector on the acctual 308 GTS. If your Mera has a solid roof, then you’ll need to do more than just cut out a targa panel from your fiberglass roof. You’ll also need to form the top of the windshield frame with some fiberglass to get the duck-tail. I didn't have to do this to mine since this was a design feature of the Stinger from the get-go.
I found however that the stock sunroof hole in the space frame was considerably smaller than the targa panel so I started by removing as much material as I dared to make it larger. It’s a bad picture made even worse by the fact that I had to scan it in for you… after all, there were no digital cameras back in 1995 when I did this! But it does show you how much I removed from the front edge. I also removed an equal amount around the sides too, then closed up the space between the inner and outer sheet metal layers with some hammer-formed steel.
To make the targa panel rigid, I bondo’ed aluminum angle to the underside of the top. I had planned on using the stock rear epoxy “mill & drill” roof mounting pads on the Fiero chassis to secure the top’s rear corners of the targa panel, so I also bondo’ed some 5/16” bolts to the underside of the top at that time. Never mind the front mounting pins in this photo since I changed the design early on. Finally, I bondo’ed the fiberglass headliner into place which made it very rigid. My kit came with the pre-formed fiberglass headliner, but you can buy virtually the same thing from The Fiero Store… you’ll just need to trim it to shape and upholster it.
Since my kit didn’t come with any instructions at all (let alone how to mount the targa top), I discovered after scouring the junkyards that the old Nissan Pulsars had a T-top latch mechanism that would work within the available space. I ended up bolting the mechanisms onto the aluminum angle I had installed earlier, and even using the trim panels from the Pulsar after a modest amount of trimming and shaping. They're not perfect, but they do the job. In these two pictures you can see how operating the handle retracts the pin at the front, while the rear is held down by a big plastic red nut at each corner to draw it down onto those rear mill & drill pads.
After the work was done on the roof panel, I glued some headliner material to the inside, and some landau top vinyl on the outside.
By having cut the sunroof hole larger, it also gave me the space to install the Pulsar’s cast aluminum eyelets to catch the retractable pins between the two layers of the space frame steel near the top corners of the windshield. The eyelets have a plastic bushing to minimize rattle.
Here you can see how I installed the eyelet at the front, and the mill & drill hole I used at the rear. When you cut off the weld flanges around the sides of the stock sunroof sheet metal, just be sure to leave the rear mill & drill pads.
Lastly, the Stinger targa panel was only just long enough in the trunk area to allow the top to be stowed in the rear compartment, but not before cutting down the rear-most trunk wall down to the level of the uppper rear cross member (about 8” down). That allowed me to lay the top flat inside the trunk. I don’t have any pictures of the way it used to be because I was rear-ended two years ago and did a complete redesign of the rear compartment sheet metal, moving the entire rear wall and cross member back considerably, like this:
Here's what it looks like upholstered...
… and how the targa top sits in there. Again, if you decide to install a targa top, it should fit with just the top 6” shaved off the rear trunk wall. Just make a few critical measurements before you decide on how wide the targa panel should be before you start cutting it from the roof panel!
After a bit of experimenting, I found the right combination of rubber weatherstrips in the right areas to keep the top from letting water in, so that worked out well. My only gripe is that it’s a bit squeaky over rough roads. I have to keep spraying silicone lubricant on the seals every now & then to minimize the noises, but then again, I don’t usually drive with the top on anyways! Just post any questions or if you want a better photo of something (it was raining cats & dogs so I was forced to take most of the pictures inside today).
Here's another nice feature of the Stinger... a gas cap in the correct location under the three quarter window grill. The grills that came with the kit were made of very thick fiberglass which didn't have the correct compound curvature and fit very poorly. When I built mine, I ran with plexiglass for the first year rather than try to fit those horrible louvres. Eventually, I fabricated the grills out of curved aluminum slats brazed to formed aluminum frame. Finding the right hinges was not an easy task either. The gas door has to pull backward while pivoting to prevent the rear edge of the louvres that are fixed to the car from contacting the front louvre on the door while it's pivotting. Thank God for the geniuses that created every type of cabinet levered door hinge imaginable because I needed to try them all before finally finding one that worked.
Hmmmm.... I can see whereby this is not going to be easy keeping this thread on the top page. I never realized how much activity there is here in General Chat. Here's a shameless bump with a new picture:
Thanks Dan and VelociJuris! My next post will include a close-up photo of the rear pan just for you Dan. As far as the transmission, I've been running with the same Isuzu tranny since the beginning... I know, I know... it deserves better. But it has worked just fine, though it doesn't get a lot of abuse. I figure that the day it or the clutch calls it quits, I'll upgrade to either to the spare polished Getrag I have sitting in my shelves, or spring for an F40 if they're still around!
The louvered pan is actually a piece of sheet metal that I had a machine shop punch the louvers into, then grafted to the plain rear fiberglass panel and feathered the edges with body filler. It definitely is an improvement over the original Stinger panel in my opinion. Mera owners could easily do the same if they weren't too concerned with keeping their cars unmolested.
For Doc John: I have no idea what happened to the molds. As I recall, Mario Cournoyer ended up marketing the cars himself after a few problems with Peter. I believe he is still in the Drummondville area and may still be in the fiberglass business. You could always try looking him up under www.canada411.ca if you were ambitious.
Skuzzbomer: It's a date.
For James_GT and Mera7, thanks for the compliments! I'm still hopeful there are other PFF members with Stingers that have yet to come out of the closet... but I'm losing confidence.
Great car Blooz, but I think you may be one of the few people who have been "Stung". I love my Mera for what it is and plan to keep it all Mera. Your car however is a very good replica that you have made much better. How does the TPI engine sound with the exhaust system you have?
[This message has been edited by Rick 88 (edited 10-13-2010).]
Thanks Rick! It's like I've said elsewhere... the car looks Italian but sounds all Detroit. I am running a dual 3" system with 3-way cats (A.I.R.) and the Monza tips you see. No mufflers, but the cats quiet things down by about 80%. It's quiet at idle but barks to life with a tip of the accelerator. Not obnoxious or too loud, but definitely alerting people there's more than a 2.8L under the hood, but conversely, it announces it's not an Italian 3.0L engine either!
I have heard 180 degree headers and they make small blocks much more exotic. Does anyone make them for a transverse set up?
I am interested in the exhaust system made by some Taiwan Fiero Guys for my 3.4 Mera. That system really sounds the part on these motors. Only thing is, no one here can quite figue out how they did it.
Excellent! Thanks ferrobi and batousai. It's definitely a Stinger kit on both the video and the pics. The rocker panels look different than mine though. Maybe it was an earlier version or something. It also has the roof wing which I didn't get for mine because it didn't really follow the lines of the car (well, that and I was already tapped out for money at the time!)
For Mera7: Have you got any pics of your 180* headers both installed and uninstalled?
The front end looks noticeably longer on the Stinger than the Mera. Have you ever parked them side side to see the difference in size? I don't like the funky side skirts on the other Stinger. Were they some kind of option?
Blooz, I'm finally getting back to my computer after not having been online since last Monday night. Thanks for posting that picture. The vented pan looks every bit as authentic as what is on an actual 308. You have done a great job on this car! Seeing workmanship like this is inspirational.
Thanks again! ~~Dan
------------------ Gold '87 GT, Black '87 GT, Black '88 Mera, 64 Stingray coupe, '01 Corvette coupe, '03 Corvette coupe & caretaker of son's Yellow '87 GT, & Other son's Red '86 GT, General tinkerer and doer of mechanical deeds
Rick, I haven't ever had a Mera side by side with mine to compare. I can post some dimensions of mine from say, the center of the front wheel to the front edge of the nose (not including the bumper). Maybe someone with a Mera can do the same to see if the nose of the Stinger is longer.
For Dan: Thanks again.
Here's today's picture to bump this back up to the top. The Stinger kit doesn't use the stock headlight buckets, nor are they in the stock location. They're moved forward and outboard necessitating a modification to the upper front, side frame rails. The motors stay in the stock location so it's left up to the builder to figure out a new pushrod mechanism to bridge the gap (nowhere near as simple as it sounds). The pods are all-new pieces, using round 7" dual filament lights and the mounting/aiming mechanism from a first generation Mazda RX7. In the picture, it only looks like the outer shell of the pods are made of several pieces when in fact they're just one piece.
Here's a close up of the trailing edge of the front hood (along the base of the windshield). Notice how it's carved out to clear the wiper arms as on the real Ferrari. The real 308's wipers are about 3" closer together than on the Fiero, so in order to have the driver's side wiper in the correct place, I had to chop and re-weld one of the pushrods, and relocate the stub shaft assembly that sticks out from the cowl too. The reason is because of the narrower width hood. If the driver's wiper wasn't relocated, it would fall under the fixed horizontal part of the LH fender and would be impossible to service.
Blooz, I will measure my Mera and post the length. I was just talking about the lenght of the fender area in front of the tire to the leading edge of the body work. It could just be the way it photographs. The stock Mera bumper looks like a "drooping tongue" according to my wife. A Rodney replacement is a future project. Does your car use an actual Ferrari front bumper?
The headlights look great. I know it is correct, but the hood notches for the wipers, will take some getting used to for me. Really nice work on your part. How long did it take you to complete it?
Thanks Rick... I'll measure my front end tomorrow and post the results too. As for the front bumper, it's just a fiberglass reproduction that covers a 2" X 1" rectangular steel tube that replaces the stock Fiero structural bumper. The fiberglass bumper cover came as part of the kit. I preferred the recessed Euro-look over the US tongue-wagging 5 MPH bumper look, so when I fabricated the front structure I moved it inboard about 2.5".
Another nice touch to the Stinger kit is that if you paid the extra couple hundred bucks, you got the raw fiberglass dash and center console to replicate the 308. Luckily my wife has her own automotive upholstery business and was able to create the patterns necessary to cover everything up with leatherette. She reupholstered the seats and crafted some door panels as well. Considering the interior is now 15 years old, I'd say she did a remarkable job. I originally installed toggle switches on the center console like the 308, but changed them to low profile illuminated rockers when I kept accidentally turning things on while reaching for the shifter. You can see them in the dark much better too.
Rick, I measured the distance from the spindle of the front wheel to the leading edge of the body (less the bumper) and came up with 37". How long is this on the MERA?
Here's another picture to bump this to the top again... this time it's of the front compartment. It's pretty clear from this image that the front hood constitutes only about half of the width of the car, unlike the Fiero and MERA where the hood spans the entire width. That's because the MERA uses the stock Fiero body panel mounting points for ease in construction. The Stinger kit on the other hand forced the builder to adapt the Fiero space frame to maintain the Ferrari's lines more closely. To clear the lower profile of the hood near the front, I also had to rake the radiator an additional 10* - 15*. Can anyone say whether the MERA's radiator mounting is the same as a stock Fiero?
I took a different measurement. Along the bottom of the black body line from the wheel opening to the leading edge of the body using a tape measure was 24 inches. I will check the measurement from the center of the wheel forward. The Mera uses the factory radiator mounting points. I also owned a stock yellow 88 GT 5-speed, and it was identical on the 88 Mera.
Well, if I measured correctly, then they are exactly the same length as I also got 37 inches from the center of the wheel. To me it appeared the bodywork ahead of the front wheel opening was longer on the Stinger. Maybe it's because you car sits lower than mine.
On the red painted areas below the rear bumper, are those openings functional or just blacked out?
[This message has been edited by Rick 88 (edited 10-23-2010).]
James_GT: The tach and speedo are stock '84 Fiero that I painted over and recalibrated with rub-on numbers (Lettraset) to make them look like Veglia Borlettis (well... at least a little like them anyways!) The fuel and water temp gauges are again stock Fiero with new metal faces I fabricated from the bottom of a couple juice cans of all things! The ones on the center console for oil pressure and temp are VDO's. As for videos... I don't have a camera that's capable, sorry.
Rick: I didn't see your update until now. So I guess the cars are similar in length up front, but I'd like to see how a MERA was done in the trunk. The trunk opening on the Stinger comes quite a bit farther back than the rear Fiero trunk weather strip. When I modified my rear trunk metal, I just extended the trunk wall backwards. So on the MERA, is there a filler panel in the area between the rear Fiero trunk seal and the rear fascia, or is the car shorter in this area? As for your question about the openings below the rear bumper, they're actual openings not panels painted black. They don't vent anything though, they just lead into the cavity behind the wheel well liner.
For today's picture, I decided to throw one in that wasn't technically Stinger-specific. I just thought it was a cool picture. I installed the Grand AM brakes on the front of my car many years ago so that's what the caliper is that you're looking at. I just painted them yellow and used a little machine I have here to make Ferrari decals. They'd look better on big brakes, I know, but all my fun money is going into my F355 kit now. Maybe someday I'll upgrade (or take skuzzbomer up on his offer upgrade a bunch of things )