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Hemming's write-up on 1988 Fiero by fkossegi
Started on: 01-20-2015 09:56 AM
Replies: 24 (1422 views)
Last post by: Raydar on 02-14-2015 09:05 PM
fkossegi
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Report this Post01-20-2015 09:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fkossegiClick Here to Email fkossegiSend a Private Message to fkossegiEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Noticed this in Hemming's, although need a subscription to read:
http://www.hemmings.com/hcc...01/hmn_feature3.html
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Report this Post01-20-2015 11:24 AM Click Here to See the Profile for a_bartleClick Here to Email a_bartleSend a Private Message to a_bartleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I purchased the magazine just for that article. It was well written and the author gets the facts right (which is cool). Good to see our cars getting the much deserved press time! I've been searching the Internet to see if that article could be viewed in it's entirely, but thus far I've only found the same link you came across, which is only a teaser. If anyone finds it, please post a link so we can share.
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Report this Post01-21-2015 04:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for firebossClick Here to Email firebossSend a Private Message to firebossEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
could you copy and paste the article.....
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Report this Post01-21-2015 06:53 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The author is an ex Pontiac Enthusiast writer and editor so he should have his facts correct.

The guy who over sees Hemming's today also is an ex Pontiac Enthusiast editor.

Keep an eye on this magazine as well as the other Hemming's magazines as this is the second story this year in their publications.
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Report this Post01-21-2015 01:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for a_bartleClick Here to Email a_bartleSend a Private Message to a_bartleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here is the article, less the photos...

Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car
March, 2015 - Thomas A. DeMauro

Perfecting Pontiac's P-Shooter - 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT

Arguably the best year of the breed, the 1988 Fiero was a styling and performance delight

The latter part of the 1970s ushered in a second energy crisis and high inflation. What better time, then, to propose a lightweight, two-seat commuter car with a sporty appearance, miserly fuel consumption and a relatively low price tag?

Those were the attributes presented to GM management regarding what became the 1984 Pontiac Fiero. With no obvious threat to the Corvette's performance reputation, and having a concept that was in line with the times, the "P-car" (P-body) was approved. Of course, Pontiac neglected to mention the fact that the original intent of the entire project was a lot more sports car than commuter car.
Though high fuel mileage figures, spine-compressing acceleration and glue-like stick in the curves are not always mutually exclusive goals--especially when considering the lightweight yet stiff P-car chassis, drag-cheating wedge-shaped body and mid-engine layout (a first for a U.S. production car)--in the 1984 Fiero's case, Pontiac was trying to play both sides of the equation by attempting to market it as an economy car and a sports car at the same time.

Evidence of this tactic is revealed in Pontiac's 1984 dealer brochure: "Fiero can be described as an economy car. It can also be considered a practical and durable car. And by its technical specifications alone, Fiero may legitimately be called a sports car." Problem is, some sports car people don't want to own a vehicle that is also referred to as an economy car, and to others who are trying to squeeze every possible mile from a gallon of gas, the term "sports car" has a wasteful connotation attached to it.

This two-pronged approach led to high expectations on both sides and inevitably resulted in some compromises. Budget constraints ultimately ended up combining a sports car appearance and technological, design and assembly innovation with a commuter car heart and chassis. The space-frame body structure, mill-and-drill construction and dent-resistant and no-rust Enduraflex body panels were state of the art, but the 92hp, 2.5-liter, 151-cu.in. Tech IV "Iron Duke" four-cylinder engine and chassis were derivative of existing economy car platforms to save money.

None of this was lost on road testers, many of whom applauded the build and styling attributes, but pointed out the acceleration and handling shortcomings to potential buyers. Regardless, the Fiero sold 136,840 units in its first year, well above its initial estimates.
Over the following four model years, Pontiac would continue to tip the scales in favor of the sports car side. In 1985, the new GT employed the smooth front and rear fascias and the side aero-skirts from the previous year's Indy Pace Car; it had WS6 suspension and offered the Pace Car's rear spoiler optionally. More important, it gained a 140hp 2.8-liter (173-cu.in.) V-6 engine (also optional on the SE). Additionally, suspension revisions were made to improve handling.

In 1986, the late-introduction restyled GT featured fastback-type sail panels and other visual upgrades. It also received a Getrag five-speed gearbox late in the model year for its V-6 engine, since the five-speed that had become available with the 2.5-liter engine in 1985 didn't have the torque capacity for the larger powerplant. Sports car leanings were becoming more obvious with each revision.
Mostly a carryover year, 1987's notable changes included an increase in fuel tank capacity to 11.9 gallons, from 10.2, in order to extend the driving range between fill-ups, and the ignition system was upgraded for the four-cylinder standard in the lower models.
For 1988, the Fiero's suspension was completely redesigned, ultimately delivering the sports car handling and braking that had been anticipated since the 1984 model. The street fighter notchback Formula was also introduced and featured the WS6 suspension and V-6 of the GT, but fewer standard creature comforts in order to keep the price down and performance up.

Mitchell Bell, a teacher from Winter Park, Florida, knows the history of the Fiero all too well. Back when he was preparing for college in the summer of 1998, his girlfriend, Samantha (now his wife), drove a 1988 Fiero GT. That led to meeting a fellow Fiero owner and the purchase of our feature car.

One afternoon, when Mitchell and Samantha were out, the driver of a C5 Corvette noticed her car parked in front of the house. He stopped and spoke with Mitchell's father, Michael, about Samantha's Fiero GT and explained that he had a Bright Red 17,000-mile 1988 Fiero GT for sale, which was in new condition. Coincidentally, Mitchell had been looking for a car to serve double-duty as a spirited daily driver for work and school, yet be interesting and clean enough to participate in shows with his dad. He had been considering the Buick Grand National, but decided that this Pontiac would be an excellent choice.

The following list of standard GT features leaves little doubt that the Fiero had grown into a real sports car by 1988. They include the 135hp multi-port fuel-injected 2.8-liter V-6 engine with 165-lb.ft. of torque; five-speed manual transaxle; Eagle GT+4 tires on aluminum wheels; four-wheel disc brakes; monotone Aero Package; tinted glass; body side moldings; reclining bucket seats; convex rearview mirrors, left-hand remote; lamp group; Delco AM/FM stereo with seek and scan features, a clock and a cassette deck with auto reverse; tilt wheel with leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel; controlled-cycle wipers; instrument panel gauges with a tach; power windows; remote deck lid release; remote-release fuel-filler door; dual map lights and tuned dual twin-port polished exhaust.

Purchased from Courtesy Pontiac in Longwood, Florida, this particular Fiero GT included the three-speed automatic transaxle, sunroof, rear deck lid spoiler, floor mats and an option group that was comprised of A/C, cruise control, power mirrors and door locks, and visor vanity mirror. Said three-speed automatic featured a lock-up converter and a 3.33:1 final drive ratio. Base price for the 1988 Fiero GT was $13,999. With options and destination charges, this one cost $16,558.

"It was the first really cool sports car that I ever owned," Mitchell confides. "My parents helped with the down payment. I had to keep a job to make payments on it, as well as stay in college, to keep the car." He also cites his Pontiac as being a major force behind his completion of college, as knowing that he was responsible for paying for it kept him focused.

More satisfying than paying it off, was, of course, spending time behind the wheel. The Pontiac had a way of even making the daily commute pleasurable. "I love the way my Fiero GT drives. With the sound of the engine running behind you and the complete connection to the road, there is nothing like it. I liken it to a large go-kart with A/C and a radio," Mitchell quips. "It has no power steering, so at slow speeds it's hard to turn, but it handles like a dream. I have participated in Run For the Hills, which is a weekend of driving switchback roads at a high rate of speed in the mountains. My GT showed me what its capabilities really were."

Undoubtedly, Pontiac chassis engineers would be pleased with Mitchell's sentiments, as the suspension revisions for 1988 were extensive and expensive--to the tune of about $30 million. According to Pontiac, it began with combining "reduced spring rates with higher damping control shocks and struts...[to increase] wheel control, while maintaining ride quality...."

In front, overall suspension travel was increased. Wheel spindles were 30-percent shorter: scrub radius was 30-percent smaller; anti-dive was increased by 40 percent; upper control arms were 20-percent longer and lower control arms were 25-percent longer. Revised pivot points improved steering, and the turning radius was cut by 12 percent. In the rear was a new tri-link layout with struts that improved anti-lift and anti-squat qualities, and the rear wheel travel was increased to better absorb road imperfections.
Additionally, the GT was enhanced with the WS6 Special Performance Suspension, featuring a 16:1 quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering rack; added 22mm rear anti-roll bar to complement the existing 23mm front bar, reducing understeer and body lean in cornering; specific springs, shocks/struts and bushings; 15x6 front and 15x7 rear Diamond Spoke aluminum wheels; and 205/60R15 front and 215/60R15 rear Eagle GT+4 tires enhancing all-weather performance. The four-wheel disc brake system was improved by using upgraded calipers and vented rotors.

While driving his GT has provided years of satisfaction, Mitchell has also enjoyed showing it since 1999, and it continues to win awards today. "I like the fact that every time I go to car shows or cruises, I am the only one with a Fiero," he says. "It seems like everyone once owned one or knew someone who did. I always have a great time talking with people about the car and how different it really is."
The problem with exclusivity is that parts can be difficult to source. Because 1988 was the only year of production for the suspension, stock replacement parts for it and other one-year-only items can be a challenge to find.

A member of the Central Florida Fieros club, Mitchell relates, "My wife and I have done so much over the years in this car, including participating in large Fiero shows all over the country and in local events, that it has become a part of our history together as well. The 1988 model was the Fiero that GM should have built in the first place, and like most people say, GM got it right and then killed it."

For that final model year, approximately 26,400 1988 Fieros were built, and a mere 6,848 (or 6,849, depending upon the source) GTs were produced. The sales slide from 1985 through 1988 was likely precipitated by a combination of issues, not the least of which was the fact that earlier models were more commuters than performers. And then there was the highly publicized recall related to some engine fires in earlier four-cylinder models. Nevertheless, the Fiero did not return for 1989, despite the existence of a stunning 1989-'90 prototype.
Regardless of the reasons for its ultimate demise, generally the Fiero improved in some ways with each successive model year. Today, they enjoy very active and loyal owner and club support, and they are a favorite for modifications, which means that the attributes of this 1988 model won't soon be forgotten by those who appreciate Pontiac's precious P-car.
This article originally appeared in the March, 2015 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

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Solid Hex
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Report this Post01-21-2015 08:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Solid HexSend a Private Message to Solid HexEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This was something I had been hoping for for a long time! I subscribe to it so saw this last week. Kind of interesting to see what, if any, letters in recaps will say in a future issue.
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post01-22-2015 12:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Interesting. I was contacted by a local (45 min away) gentleman, Richard Lentinello the Executive Editor, last year about the Daytona show. He wanted to do a full article on the Fiero, and the show for Hemmings Motor News. I talked to him a couple times on the phone, and close to the time of the show he has something medical come up, and would not be able to attend the show. If this guy is the editor now, I have to wonder of he has been replaced or something.

Even though it took a year, it looks like someone picked up the ball and continued on with the article at least.

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Report this Post01-23-2015 09:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sledcaddieSend a Private Message to sledcaddieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
March 2015? So, can you still purchase this issue? Is Hemmings sold in book stores, or must you subscribe?
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Report this Post01-23-2015 11:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I found something interesting in the article that I did not know. If it is accurate at least.

The article states:

 
quote
Originally in Hemmings News:
In 1985, the new GT employed the smooth front and rear
fascias and the side aero-skirts from the previous year's
Indy Pace Car; it had WS6 suspension and offered the Pace
Car's rear spoiler optionally. More important, it gained
a 140hp 2.8-liter (173-cu.in.) V-6 engine


Then a few paragraphs down it goes on to say:

 
quote
Originally posted by a_bartle:
The following list of standard GT features leaves little
doubt that the Fiero had grown into a real sports car by
1988. They include the 135hp multi-port fuel-injected 2.8-liter
V-6 engine with 165-lb.ft. of torque


Is it true the 1988 had a tiny bit less horse power than previous 2.8's?

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fkossegi
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Report this Post01-24-2015 02:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fkossegiClick Here to Email fkossegiSend a Private Message to fkossegiEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by sledcaddie:

March 2015? So, can you still purchase this issue? Is Hemmings sold in book stores, or must you subscribe?


I believe the issue just came out. Here's where the website says the magazine is sold. Just pick your state.
http://www.hemmings.com/newsstand/

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JJFieroFan
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Report this Post01-25-2015 03:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JJFieroFanSend a Private Message to JJFieroFanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It is well documented that due to rising insurance costs GM decreased the listed horsepower output from 140 to 135 to help with rising costs. The engines are virtually the same. What was the other mention this year?? I picked up a couple copies so I think they are still out.

[This message has been edited by JJFieroFan (edited 01-25-2015).]

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Report this Post01-26-2015 01:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JJFieroFan:

It is well documented that due to rising insurance costs GM decreased the listed horsepower output from 140 to 135 to help with rising costs. The engines are virtually the same.


Really? I remember that was also done with old muscle cars, talking 400-500 hp in their heyday.
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post01-26-2015 02:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 2.5:


Really? I remember that was also done with old muscle cars, talking 400-500 hp in their heyday.


Jason, this makes me feel a little better! In all the Fiero stuff I have done, read and been around, I had never heard of this being done with the Fiero either. Out of the TONS of articles I have read on the Fiero, this is certainly the first one that I have see it in. The old adage.... never to old to learn something new

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Patrick
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Report this Post01-26-2015 04:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JohnWPB:

Is it true the 1988 had a tiny bit less horse power than previous 2.8's?


From what I've been led to believe, a more accurate statement might be that the 2.8 in the '85 Fiero GT was rated with five more HP than the later version 2.8 Fiero engines. This was supposedly due to slight differences in the way the PROM was programmed. Don't hold me to this.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 01-26-2015).]

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JJFieroFan
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Report this Post01-26-2015 06:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JJFieroFanSend a Private Message to JJFieroFanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Page 31 enthusiasts Guide to Pontiac Fiero. Almost a direct quote to my post. This is well known.

[This message has been edited by JJFieroFan (edited 01-26-2015).]

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dratts
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Report this Post01-27-2015 06:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for drattsClick Here to Email drattsSend a Private Message to drattsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Totally unfamiliar with this line of logic, but I don't see how 5 hp could make any difference in an insurance rate.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post01-27-2015 06:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well I was around back then and the differences were small on the engine. Injectors and I think one of two internal changes that I can not remember. I think it was the material the rods were made of I would have to look it up.

The insurance one is one I never heard off and I really don't buy as the high cost of insurance affected the 4 cylinders too.

As I recall it was just the way GM calculated the power on the dyno for that year is why. It was never really explained and GM has often taken engines with little of nothing done and changed the advertised power. The V6 in the present Camaro gained power and the truth is it had the power all along since the first year to the first power gain. GM just underrated the power to start with.

Either way there are better things to argue about than 5 HP as it really made the 88 neither faster or slower.
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Report this Post01-27-2015 09:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sledcaddieSend a Private Message to sledcaddieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Went to Barnes & Noble to get Hemmings. They still were selling February issue. March issue must go to subscribers first (early).
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Report this Post01-29-2015 06:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ChuckLS1Send a Private Message to ChuckLS1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The issue that the article is in is Hemmings Classic Car, not Hemmings Motor News.

------------------
Chuck
88 Formula W/fastback
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Report this Post01-30-2015 09:08 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JJFieroFanSend a Private Message to JJFieroFanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The hp thing might be an urban legend, who knows? I had an 85 2m6 I bought new, that's why I remember about it.

FYI if you google hemmings fiero, you will find some older articles they have posted from their blog and mags, including pix.

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Report this Post01-30-2015 09:43 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ITALGTSend a Private Message to ITALGTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thought I'd share... I've had this issue since early January (we get advanced copies of all sorts of automotive magazines where I work). I couldn't believe my eyes when I randomly picked this one up and "BOOM" there's a bright red '88 Fiero GT a couple pages in. That was the last thing I expected to come across... well, maybe not the last, but you get my point.

Seeing another Fiero featured in a Hemmings publication gets me even more excited for our little 2-seater car. This article is a full four pages in length, and features some great pictures throughout... even a big one on page 4 that sits above the table of contents. This is one of those featured articles that didn't get stuffed into a little corner of a page at the back of the magazine, that's for sure.

I think it's petty cool... definitely worth waiting for (and looking for). That's one clean, magazine-worthy '88 GT.

EDIT: For those who are looking for this March 2015 issue of Hemmings Classic Car in stores... the cover features a white/coral-red retractable hardtop Ford Skyliner, and is titled "RETRACTABLES!".

...too bad they didn't put the bright-red Fiero on the cover.

[This message has been edited by ITALGT (edited 01-30-2015).]

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Report this Post02-11-2015 08:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sledcaddieSend a Private Message to sledcaddieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks, ChuckLS1 for clarifying between Hemmings Motor News and Hemmings Classic Cars. I bought the Motor News by mistake. I'll have to find the Classic Cars. Any suggestions on where that is sold?
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Report this Post02-11-2015 08:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zzzhuhSend a Private Message to zzzhuhEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
For those wondering about the HP:

The 2.8L might have produced 140HP but by the time it goes to the wheels it was making 115HP when it was brand new. Even tho the HP was slightly changed, by the time it got to the wheels it was pretty much the same.

If you do an engine swap from a 2.8 to a 3.4 it seems drastic when your use to the old because the 3.4L produced 160HP. By the time it got to the wheels it was more like 140HP (from what I could gather.)
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sledcaddie
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Report this Post02-14-2015 08:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sledcaddieSend a Private Message to sledcaddieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
For those interested in getting a copy of the March 2015 issue of Hemmings Classic Cars: you can go to Hemmings web site to order "back issues". The cover photo is about "retractables"- cars with self storing roofs. Anyway, the issue costs $6.95 with free shipping. Might be a nice issue to add to your Fiero collection.
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Raydar
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Report this Post02-14-2015 09:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

From what I've been led to believe, a more accurate statement might be that the 2.8 in the '85 Fiero GT was rated with five more HP than the later version 2.8 Fiero engines. This was supposedly due to slight differences in the way the PROM was programmed. Don't hold me to this.



Heh... And I've heard that the engines were essentially identical.
It's just that they were rated at a different RPM, due to noise considerations. They're clever people.
(Hey... I read it on the internet. You know the drill. )

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