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My Fiero was tested by a professional driver by cvxjet
Started on: 01-06-2021 10:20 PM
Replies: 9 (273 views)
Last post by: Australian on 01-09-2021 01:37 AM
cvxjet
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Report this Post01-06-2021 10:20 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
I have done a bunch of stuff to my Fiero since I bought it in 1985 (Se V6/4spd and WS6 suspension)...I will list those changes at the bottom. A good friend of mine, Mike Maier, grew up racing cars (Midgets) and then started working at his Father's Mustang Shop. Maier's Racing in Hayward, CA started out making Shelby body parts and suspension kits....But when the 1979 Mustang came out, he started making Hoods, Flares, and spoilers for them- this helped the Pony car revival in the 80s, and Ford was actually grateful, even inviting Bill and Mike to new Mustang releases in Detroit.

Mike opened his own shop where he makes specialty suspension parts for older Mustangs- but will help with almost any car (Never seen a Ferrari in his shop...) He also has been racing "Old Blue", a 1966 Mustang coupe...But this ain't no stock Mustang; He designed his own suspension front and rear; The front is a coil-over with adjustable A-arms, along with cutting down the spring towers for more room (Come to why soon), and a 3 link rear with rocker arm spring setup that mounts the coil-overs horizontally in the trunk. Why did he need more room in the engine compartment? Because he has a Roush NASCAR 355 racing engine in there- with almost 800 HP! This car is stripped down and weighs around 2800 lbs. He has competed around the country in the Ultimate Street Car Challenge....One year he came in 12th, and then a few years later he came in 5th against Z06 (Prepared) Vettes and a highly modified Evo.



I have wanted a real driver to evaluate my Fiero for a while- You can believe that you are doing good mods to your car, but it is nice to have someone evaluate and give feedback. So I finally convinced him to take it out for a drive- making clear that I wanted the truth (Gulp!)

We drove approx' 3 miles including a bit of Mines road- he did a lot of twisting and throwing it around....When we got back to his shop I installed my ear plugs and THEN told him I was ready to hear his opinion....

He stated that he was pleasantly surprised with how the car worked- especially considering it is a 35 year old car. Very good seating position, controls well placed. The handling was good with a couple of caveats; The steering was a bit heavy and slow-geared, and the rear shocks were a bit weak on rebound. He was really impressed with the Turn-in and also liked how tossable the car was (Most mid-engine cars are not tossable)

As I walked out to the car to get something he turned to another friend who was there and laughed but I did not hear the joke....(I'm just kidding on that (I hope!)




1985 SE V6 w/4spd and WS6; Getrag 5spd + 3.4 F-body long block swap, 88 rear subframe/suspension and brakes with 12" rotors up front, aluminum front hubs, 16 x 7 38 mm wheels with 205/55 and 225/55 G-Max tires, plus 88 GT rear quarters/decklid, 88 base car nose (But no ground-effects), Battery moved up front, and of course my Stabilizer bar mounting set-up which helps Turn-in while also cutting down on DTO.

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 01-07-2021).]

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Spadesluck
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Report this Post01-07-2021 12:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SpadesluckSend a Private Message to SpadesluckEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
For the most part that is all good to hear right! ha I mean he did not just tell you to sell the car and purchase something else, so that is a win!

I am not professional car driver but the Fiero just does not feel like any other car I have driven in my lifetime modded or unmodded. I like the way it drives and handles it to say the least. Mostly for it's "uniqueness".
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cvxjet
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Report this Post01-07-2021 12:33 AM 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
Well....He did want to bring a BIG fire extinguisher...Until I told him that "Only the GREEN Fieros catch fire!"

Then he asked "Are you sure?"

And of course I replied, "Have you ever SEEN a green Fiero? The reason you haven't is that they all burned up!"

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 01-07-2021).]

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Frenchrafe
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Report this Post01-08-2021 02:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FrenchrafeClick Here to Email FrenchrafeSend a Private Message to FrenchrafeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
My Fiero is green. And it hasn't burned totally yet!




No but seriously, you were brave to ask a pro to drive your car. It always makes me cringe when I hand over the steering wheel at the track.
Even more so after the returning to the pits and the debriefing!
Comments like "Imagine what you could do with a real trackday car?" or "That gearbox is utter sh1t !" or "How do you manage to go that fast with that ?!"

Regards,
Rafe

------------------
"Turbo Slug" - '87 Fiero GT. 3800 turbo. Sticky tyres. Driven hard!
https://www.youtube.com/cha...1wZvWQlkYxTjivW_0XNg

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hyperv6
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Report this Post01-08-2021 07:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The Trick is not to have a experienced driver drive a Fiero. The learning is when you get a Fiero owner to drive a well tuned car near the limits.

I used to think the Trans Am and Fiero were amazing handling cars. Then I finally got behind the wheel of cars that were even better.

Don’t get me wrong the Fiero is fun and I find the issues they have as a challenge to make me more engaged in the driving.

A great handling car is one not just with high limits or fast lap times. It also includes making it easy to reach the limits.

A good example is the C7 vs C8 Corvette. While the C7 was an amazing car you still had to work for it where as it is easier to exceed those limits with the C8.

The way I describe a great handling car is to go down a uneven back road and it will make going fast feel slow. You will look down and you may be thinking you are at 50mph and see 75 or 80 mph.

I have 16” 50’s and a Herb Adams VSE suspension on my car. It made it as neutral as the 88 car. But I did not put the solid bearing bushings in. These remove the 84-88 bump steer that is well noted in these cars. Add that to the heavy steering it makes for extra work to get that but extra.

Also drop throttle oversteer can come in with neutral steering. It is not as bad as the 911 as the stock V6 is not so powerful to make it very pronounced.

The reality we have a fun car to drive and it has good and bad points but those are what make it interesting.

I have been blessed to drive many amazing cars and raced. As it goes the Fiero has more right than wrong but it is not the second coming of the Mclaren F1.

To be honest none of the 80’s cars were perfect. Any had harsh ride, heavy steering and just never got the springs and shocks right. So it was not just the Fiero.

The Z51 84 Vette really missed on the shocks. But it is still a fun car to drive. Might lose a filling though lol!

Finally the stock brakes need heat then they stop. But get too much heat they will fade. Fine for streets but not track time.

I recall the first best brakes I ever used. It was on a circle track car. These were some Willwood wide 5 brakes. I was given the braking points and they were deep in the corners. I recall going in once they had heat in them at speed. I looks and saw the concrete wall thinking this thing will never make it. The car slowed down and the steering made it roll though the corner like a Sunday drive with a nice drift off the turn.

The thing that did get me was how my belts held me in the seat with the degree of braking this car had.

As I have gone through life and with more vehicles I have experienced you have to change your views often on what is good anymore. Today’s cars are pretty amazing.

Even a car like a Cobalt SS was a very well tuned car. If it had RWD it would have been amazing to drive.

[This message has been edited by hyperv6 (edited 01-08-2021).]

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cvxjet
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Report this Post01-08-2021 01:15 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
Rafe......"Give it time- it is green after all!" I was definitely a little worried about what I would hear- back 6 years ago I had a chance to have a co-worker who tracked his EVO test my car but chickened out. And here in the SF Bay Area I catch hell for having a Fiero ("Worst car ever made!!" and "Wow...You must have the only one that didn't burn up!!")

Well said Hyper- Although I think we have reached a place of diminishing returns; What I mean by that is the new cars are actually so good that they Isolate you from what the car does. Some people only think of the big numbers but don't care how >>FUN<< the car is to drive. My Fiero feels like I am driving hard at 40 on a 25 mph windy road. A new Camaro/Cayman/etc you'd have to be going 60-70 to feel like you are doing anything but a Sunday cruise.

That Cobalt SS; In the C&D Lightning lap they tested the 2006 SC version and lapped at 3:20.6 seconds...Two years later they tested the 2008 turbo'd SS and it lapped at 3:13....That is an AMAZING improvement for basically the same chassis...Some of that can be attributed to the increase in power (205/200 up to 260/260) but a large percentage of the quicker lap is simply chassis tuning- not only does the car perform better, but it is more stable and easier to drive at the limit. To give you an idea of how good that lap time is, only in the 2018 Lightning lap test did a FWD car finally beat the 2008 SS lap! (What would a set of MODERN tires do for the 2008 SS lap time?)

The other car that really improved in those Lightning lap tests was the 2005-2012 Mustang; The GT in 2006 lapped at 3:20.9 while the BOSS 302 lapped at 3:02.8- same chassis design. I wrote to C&D about the idea of taking these two cars, lap-test them again side-by-side, then swap just the tires, lap again, and then swap the suspension (Springs/shocks/stabilizer bars)...this would show how big an improvement the TIRES made, the ENGINE HP, and then the CHASSIS TUNING.

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 01-08-2021).]

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Quadfather
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Report this Post01-08-2021 02:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for QuadfatherClick Here to Email QuadfatherSend a Private Message to QuadfatherEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
My first car was a 1970 Pontiac LeMans Sport that was a tired hand-me-down from one of my sisters. Soon after I got it in the early 80s, I read an article in Hot Rod magazine about a suspension upgrade from HO Racing Specialties meant specifically for GM A bodies. It involved switching to poly bushings, adding a huge rear sway bar and switching to steering knuckles, brakes and the front sway bar from other GM vehicle platforms (B- and F-bodies), including mid-70s station wagons. We just happened to have had a '77 Grand LeMans Safari wagon with a bad engine, so my dad let me cannabalize all the parts I needed.

I didn't know anything about suspension tuning back then, but driving that car after installing that kit was an amazing experience. It was like the car suddenly lost a thousand pounds of weight. Wish I still had that car.
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Report this Post01-08-2021 03:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SpadesluckSend a Private Message to SpadesluckEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Year ago I remember a car magazine just changing the tires of a vehicle alone made a huge difference. A lot of times folks do not take tires into consideration when dealing with suspension.
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Report this Post01-08-2021 03:31 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 cvxjet:

Rafe......"Give it time- it is green after all!" I was definitely a little worried about what I would hear- back 6 years ago I had a chance to have a co-worker who tracked his EVO test my car but chickened out. And here in the SF Bay Area I catch hell for having a Fiero ("Worst car ever made!!" and "Wow...You must have the only one that didn't burn up!!")

Well said Hyper- Although I think we have reached a place of diminishing returns; What I mean by that is the new cars are actually so good that they Isolate you from what the car does. Some people only think of the big numbers but don't care how >>FUN<< the car is to drive. My Fiero feels like I am driving hard at 40 on a 25 mph windy road. A new Camaro/Cayman/etc you'd have to be going 60-70 to feel like you are doing anything but a Sunday cruise.

That Cobalt SS; In the C&D Lightning lap they tested the 2006 SC version and lapped at 3:20.6 seconds...Two years later they tested the 2008 turbo'd SS and it lapped at 3:13....That is an AMAZING improvement for basically the same chassis...Some of that can be attributed to the increase in power (205/200 up to 260/260) but a large percentage of the quicker lap is simply chassis tuning- not only does the car perform better, but it is more stable and easier to drive at the limit. To give you an idea of how good that lap time is, only in the 2018 Lightning lap test did a FWD car finally beat the 2008 SS lap! (What would a set of MODERN tires do for the 2008 SS lap time?)

The other car that really improved in those Lightning lap tests was the 2005-2012 Mustang; The GT in 2006 lapped at 3:20.9 while the BOSS 302 lapped at 3:02.8- same chassis design. I wrote to C&D about the idea of taking these two cars, lap-test them again side-by-side, then swap just the tires, lap again, and then swap the suspension (Springs/shocks/stabilizer bars)...this would show how big an improvement the TIRES made, the ENGINE HP, and then the CHASSIS TUNING.



Well it is not isolation it is just how a good car feels. A well tuned vehicle will go stupid fast and not feel like it. I noted the first time I drove a 911 Carrera in the 80's how it made 105 Mph feel like 55 MPH.

For years many automakers just tossed on stiffer springs and bigger bars and they would reach higher limits as long as it is smooth. If the road is not smooth you would have to fight for it.

I agree it makes driving a car more interesting at more legal limits but never mistake it for great handling.

My HHR SS was basically a Cobalt SS with a Turbo. GM Performance tuned the suspension in the SS to a level unlike the stock model. Moderate bars and really good shock and struts. It is more a Euro tune where often less is more. They tune for less than perfect roads and you are rewarded with a vehicle you are not in a boxing match with it.

This is why GM test at the Ring. They are not worried about lap times but they know the track is far from perfect and it best represents real world roads today. If it rides and handles good there it will generally do well any place.

I find my Fiero handling interesting and at times a challenge to drive at lower levels. But I would never call it refined nor would I want to try to set a track record with it.

Too often I see people who want to make the Fiero more than it is but often it may be due to the fact it is just the best they ever experienced. There are some really good cars today and with todays roads you will never come close to the limits.

What I do not like on some new cars is some of the electronics. They kick in and make an average drive more than they are. I prefer to shut everything off. But then like on the C7 it can get people in trouble as the electronics add much to the cars limits.


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Report this Post01-09-2021 01:37 AM Click Here to See the Profile for AustralianClick Here to visit Australian's HomePageClick Here to Email AustralianSend a Private Message to AustralianEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Professional driver paid to drive Uber eats.
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