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Lotus Fiero? by formulaWA
Started on: 05-15-2020 04:25 PM
Replies: 16 (319 views)
Last post by: Patrick on 05-17-2020 05:05 PM
formulaWA
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Report this Post05-15-2020 04:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for formulaWASend a Private Message to formulaWAEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Always wondered how the Fiero would be perceived by the average car enthusiast (and how much it would be worth today) if the Fiero in an alternate timeline (still exactly as it was designed and engineered by GM) was instead conceived, designed and built by Lotus and rolled off the Lotus assembly line in England looking just like our beloved GM Fiero with a Lotus badge with no connection to GM.

I am guessing the car magazines would have been a lot more positive esp with an 88.....
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longjonsilver
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Report this Post05-15-2020 05:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for longjonsilverClick Here to visit longjonsilver's HomePageClick Here to Email longjonsilverSend a Private Message to longjonsilverEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
`Yes, the average guy just knows a little about the engineering of a car, but has a whole lot of opinions on brands. Thats why Toyota, Honda and Nissan had to make another brand to sell their luxury cars for what the going rate was for Lincoln, Caddy, MB etc. You still just get a Toyota, Honda or Nissan but you pay a whole lot more for your Lexus, Acura or Infinity. Just shows how stupid some people can be.
jon

------------------
Astronomy says we will find a coded signal from outer space. Then we'll KNOW that life exists there, for coded signals aren't by chance.

Biology says there are coded genetic signals in every cell, but we KNOW that no intelligence created life.

I'm the original owner of a white ' 84 2M4 purchased Dec 10, 1983 from Pontiac. Always garaged, no rust, 4-wheel drifts are fun!

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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-15-2020 06:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
To be honest the Lotus of this era is not really looked upon as classics.

The Elite was a cool looking car but a money pit with a 4 cylinder Turbo. Not till much later was the V8 used.

The Elan was a total mess with FWD.

The quality of this time was just one notch above a kit car too. The cars used Firebird airbags and Toyota tail lamps.

In comparisons of the era the Lotus was always last.

Lotus were always great performing light crude low quality cars up till 20 years ago. They took a lot of work and paid for lightness with flimsiness. My first ride in a Europa was not what I was expecting. Great handling car with a really bad body and very small Turbo Renault engine.

Incredibly even with the few bugs and added weight the Fiero Is really the better car.

Lotus engineering was the gem not the part of the brand.

Many forget Lotus was really three companies. The auto mfg, the engineering arm and the F1 team that were three separate companies that worked together. GM never owned the F1 team. They did own the car and engineering but sold the cars and later sold the engineering as the buisness dropped off when GM owned them. Other MFGs refrained to use a mfg owned by GM.

Note the 1988 Fiero suspension was designed by GM but Porsche Engineering did some tuning on it for feel and Turn in. This is why they removed the Porsche eater tail lams from the 2.9 Turbo GT’s.

Pontiac had to keep low key as the Corvette guys were racing against the Porsche cars in showroom stock racing.
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cvxjet
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Report this Post05-15-2020 07:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The actual 1985 Fiero GT tests in Motor Trend and Road & Track were very good....Car & Drivel was in an "Anti American" kick at the time; David E. Davis (CD editor) liked the Lincoln Mk VII but the owners of C&D wanted only negative reports on US cars! He complained and finally left to create Automobile magazine.

In 1987 Peter Egan tested a 87 GT/ 5 Spd in R&T and liked it; "What more can you ask of a real sports car than you get from the Fiero GT? It looks racy and exotic, sticks to the road like glue, sounds good and gets you from one side of the mountain to the other quicker than all but a few cars on Earth- for $13,489."

A year later R&T compared the 88 Formula to a SC MR2 and admitted the Fiero was improved- But it was no comparison to the great/perfect MR2......(Were they actually talking about the same car...?!

There are three reasons the Fiero died; 1) The engine fires- Talk to most people and they think that half of all Fieros burst into flames as they left the dealer (Only 260 caught fire due to manufacturing problems)

2) The Corvette people did not want any car even suggesting competition for the Vette.

3) Toyota bought a lot of (INVISIBLE) ad copy in R&T and C&D magazines.

The Fiero was a much better car than 90% of the mid-engined cars before 1990- the only car that was decent was the BMW M1......You could sit comfortably in it, it usually worked well and the ventilation system actually blew cool air.

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 05-15-2020).]

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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-15-2020 08:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The Fiero died due to.

#1 the Corvette people feared lost sales that would hurt their business case for a C5 that was already in jeopardy.

#2 Pontiac knew they were going to only sell about 20k to 30k Fieros in the future per year at best. They banked on the GM 80 program to fill the capacity of the plant. When the F body fwd replacment was canceled it gave the Corvette people the excuse to cancel the car. The plant was way under capacity with no model able to fill the void.

#3 More competition hit the market that were not bad cars. It split a small market into even smaller less profitable slices.

The media and fires did not help but they themselves did not kill the car.

The reality is the damaged GM cutler internally killed the car with a Chevy and Pontiac competing vs completing each other’s product.

Pontiac also new it was dangerous to flood the market with 200k 2 deat cars in two years as most people who wanted on already bought one. Large numbers like that were unsustainable for a limited market car. Two seat cars are generally limited in volume to keep demand up.

The reality was a Pontiac was on the verge of closing down. Pontiac did the 3rd gen Trans Am and Fiero to drive peop,e into the dealers to see the other cars. That it did as Pontiac was saved by the massive increase of sales of the new Grand Am. Olds replaced Pontiac as the brand on the bubble.

This is the story I got from people with in Pontiac and the Fiero program.

There was a lot more to this than just some stories you disagree with.
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Patrick
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Report this Post05-16-2020 04:01 AM 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 formulaWA:

...designed and built by Lotus and rolled off the Lotus assembly line in England


It's not a Lotus, but it's a British built mid-engine sports car designed in the 70's and sold in the 80's. Has familiar looking lines. If you haven't heard of the AC 3000ME, you might enjoy having a look at this video.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 05-16-2020).]

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olejoedad
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Report this Post05-16-2020 09:05 AM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If Lotus had built the Fiero, you can bet it wouldn't weigh in at 2700#. It would have been a lot lighter.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-16-2020 09:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by olejoedad:

If Lotus had built the Fiero, you can bet it wouldn't weigh in at 2700#. It would have been a lot lighter.


This is true. But it also would have been much more expensive for a GT than $12,500 in 1985.

Might also ask an Original Elan owner about cracked chassis.

There is a yin to every yang

[This message has been edited by hyperv6 (edited 05-16-2020).]

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cvxjet
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Report this Post05-16-2020 12:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Colin Chapman once said "Add lightness".....One of the greatest statements about car performance ever. The problem was, he was in Britain and Britain had Socialized everything....So quality went down the tubes, and led to the collapse of the British auto industry.

I know a guy who has an ALL aluminum 60 V6 in a Europa.......Not sure how that works- the predecessor to the Pantera, the Mangusta, had a backbone frame also, which does ok with 4 cylinders, but with a 302 Ford, the chassis would twist and the handling was spooky.

Lotus really knew how to tune a car's chassis for good handling- too bad that Pontiac didn't have the Fiero tuned by Lotus- would have really made the car better.



A bare Mangusta frame (With engine)

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 05-16-2020).]

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bjc 350
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Report this Post05-16-2020 01:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for bjc 350Send a Private Message to bjc 350Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I owned a 69 Lotus Europa back in 1973 or so. It was a fun and agile car that was really light. There were compromises for that lightness. Like when you opened the engine cover, it was best to use two hands,one on each side of the cover so it didn't flex precariously. Body work was not much thicker than Chapmans race cars! With the Renault engine, power was adequate and reliable enough. But I always figured his quest for light weight really equated to "light and simple" but in reallity allowed Lotus to make cars cheaply, though they didn't sell for cheap. Lotus was a brand that was always on the verge of insolvency until GM and other investors rescued them. Later, around 1982, we bought a 79 Esprit. By that time, they were "trying" to go more upscale. Well, when I bought the Esprit, it had 13,000 miles on it and had a new engine installed , already! The defrosters never did work correctly, and the air conditioning was perhaps installed aftermarket. The air did work, but I found the evaporator was supported by a flashlight reflector/bulb assembly! Go figure? Guess it was what they had in hand when they needed to shim the unit up. We owned that car until about 2000. It was a joy to drive, but required constant fiddling and maintenance. When we were parked in public with the Esprit, my wife would not get into the car until I successfully started the car. Why, well that mid engine would heat sink when parked hot, and boil the fuel in the carbs. So it would flood the engine. I finally learned that holding the throttle to the floor while cranking would clear the flood and it would start right up. Only then would the get into the car. She was embarrassed by the attention of this car, looking so sporty, but not really wanting to run. Interestingly, my V8 Fiero does the same thing. But once the new Fitech fuel injection gets in there, perhaps that problem will disappear. I finally sold it when the water pump started to drip, and the valves and timing belt needed attention. Just ran out of enthusiasm.
Fast forward to around 2004, and I finally bought the first Fiero so I could install a V8. I 've had 11 Fieros since and still own three. I always say they are the only mid engine car I can afford in retirement
The Fiero was built in such volume, that the refinement, though not very good by todays standards, was much better than the Lotus was during that era. The Lotus was light and agile and a bit on the crude side, while the Fiero steering was always heavy, even the 88 steering was heavier than the Lotus. But in the end, I still miss that Esprit and the nearly 50% loss in value from the time I bought it until I sold it nearly 20 years later. Of course now, the Esprit values are finally coming around for the Series one and two.
Two entirely different car personalities. Think I'll stick with GM, and put aside any thoughts of another semi "exotic" Unless, a really nice Evora came knocking on my door!


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fierojp
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Report this Post05-16-2020 01:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierojpClick Here to visit fierojp's HomePageSend a Private Message to fierojpEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I saw "Lotus" and "Fiero" in the same subject line and got REALLY excited.

I started out with Fieros as my first 3 cars. An 88 Formula (purchased in Feb '96), 86 GT with Archie installed V8, and an 88 Coupe with Quad 4. I built the Quad4 Coupe with inspiration from the original S1 Lotus Elise. I sold my last Fiero in 2004 and have always thought of buying another.

When the S2 Elise came to America, I got one. I felt like it could be a modern day Fiero.

I know GM had made a couple of aluminum space frames for the Fiero and was testing the quad4 in there. That would have been even more like a Lotus. Would have been unbelievable back in 1989.

One of the best upgrades to make the Fiero feel more like the Lotus is to get a smaller steering wheel. Then get the stickiest tires you can. Lose all of the weight you can on the car too (spare tire/jack, light battery, trunk carpet delete, etc).

I upgraded to an Exige in 2011 and still have it today:



Regarding the OP's question: I will say that the Exige gets a lot of attention, but people who don't know cars have never even heard of Lotus when I tell them what it is. So it wouldn't matter if the Fiero was made by Lotus or GM to the average Joe. To the auto mags, maybe???

It is hard for me to justify buying another 88 Fiero because the cost to fully restore it and put in a good engine ends up making it fairly expensive. The Exige has been the perfect sports car for me for 9 years now and I'll probably never sell it.

The Exige is made with no compromises - it is all about the handling. The Fiero is easier to get in and out of and has much better air conditioning. I'll always like Fieros and have great memories of owning them. That's why I check in around here from time to time.

[This message has been edited by fierojp (edited 05-16-2020).]

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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-16-2020 07:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by bjc 350:

I owned a 69 Lotus Europa back in 1973 or so. It was a fun and agile car that was really light. There were compromises for that lightness. Like when you opened the engine cover, it was best to use two hands,one on each side of the cover so it didn't flex precariously. Body work was not much thicker than Chapmans race cars! With the Renault engine, power was adequate and reliable enough. But I always figured his quest for light weight really equated to "light and simple" but in reallity allowed Lotus to make cars cheaply, though they didn't sell for cheap. Lotus was a brand that was always on the verge of insolvency until GM and other investors rescued them. Later, around 1982, we bought a 79 Esprit. By that time, they were "trying" to go more upscale. Well, when I bought the Esprit, it had 13,000 miles on it and had a new engine installed , already! The defrosters never did work correctly, and the air conditioning was perhaps installed aftermarket. The air did work, but I found the evaporator was supported by a flashlight reflector/bulb assembly! Go figure? Guess it was what they had in hand when they needed to shim the unit up. We owned that car until about 2000. It was a joy to drive, but required constant fiddling and maintenance. When we were parked in public with the Esprit, my wife would not get into the car until I successfully started the car. Why, well that mid engine would heat sink when parked hot, and boil the fuel in the carbs. So it would flood the engine. I finally learned that holding the throttle to the floor while cranking would clear the flood and it would start right up. Only then would the get into the car. She was embarrassed by the attention of this car, looking so sporty, but not really wanting to run. Interestingly, my V8 Fiero does the same thing. But once the new Fitech fuel injection gets in there, perhaps that problem will disappear. I finally sold it when the water pump started to drip, and the valves and timing belt needed attention. Just ran out of enthusiasm.
Fast forward to around 2004, and I finally bought the first Fiero so I could install a V8. I 've had 11 Fieros since and still own three. I always say they are the only mid engine car I can afford in retirement
The Fiero was built in such volume, that the refinement, though not very good by todays standards, was much better than the Lotus was during that era. The Lotus was light and agile and a bit on the crude side, while the Fiero steering was always heavy, even the 88 steering was heavier than the Lotus. But in the end, I still miss that Esprit and the nearly 50% loss in value from the time I bought it until I sold it nearly 20 years later. Of course now, the Esprit values are finally coming around for the Series one and two.
Two entirely different car personalities. Think I'll stick with GM, and put aside any thoughts of another semi "exotic" Unless, a really nice Evora came knocking on my door!



You were kind on the Europa body work. I remember the panel flex. It was just there to cover the chassis nothing more.

The Super 7 was a cool car but I would never want to crash one as I think a motorcycle has more protection.

Colin had a good of making things as light as possible and durability was a secondary thing. He never worried about saving money it was all about light and he had to rely on suppliers for parts a he could not afford his own engines etc.

One can only imagine what he would have done with Carbon Fiber he was gone about the time it was entering racing. It was too soon for rstreetvcars.

Now if you ever have a chance look at one of his original F1 cars. They were light but if you hit anything you were dead, drivers literally had and engine and fuel cell bolted to them.

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fierojp
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quote
Originally posted by hyperv6:
Colin had a good of making things as light as possible and durability was a secondary thing. He never worried about saving money it was all about light and he had to rely on suppliers for parts a he could not afford his own engines etc.

One can only imagine what he would have done with Carbon Fiber he was gone about the time it was entering racing. It was too soon for rstreetvcars.

Now if you ever have a chance look at one of his original F1 cars. They were light but if you hit anything you were dead, drivers literally had and engine and fuel cell bolted to them.


If one of his F1 cars made it 1 foot further than the finish line, it was too heavy/durable/etc. Not optimized yet.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-17-2020 01:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierojp:


If one of his F1 cars made it 1 foot further than the finish line, it was too heavy/durable/etc. Not optimized yet.



You for sure understood Colins thinking.


You look at the F2 car Jimmy Clark died in and you wonder how more we’re not lost.

I remember Gurney said that he and others did not belt in as they hoped to be thrown out in a crash vs trapped and burned in the cars. Win first survive second was the thinking.
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85fieroguy
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Report this Post05-17-2020 02:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85fieroguySend a Private Message to 85fieroguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The video of the AC 3000 blew me away. Amazing how it looks like the Fiero.
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Report this Post05-17-2020 02:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85fieroguySend a Private Message to 85fieroguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
' LOTUS FIERO" ..... Best posting I've seen in a long time about the Fiero and Lotus. Just..WOW
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Patrick
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Report this Post05-17-2020 05:05 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 85fieroguy:

The video of the AC 3000 blew me away. Amazing how it looks like the Fiero.


A very good article on the AC 3000ME here... AC 3000ME development story

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