My 18+ Year Build Thread (Page 2/10)
Doc John JAN 05, 05:48 PM
With the welding done, it was time to put the body back on. A few minor (and all invisible) slices had to be made to get everything to fit around the new door supports:

Now comes the fun part - slicing open the top. A certain amount of dust was involved:

Jim Sutter after cutting through the plastic roof panel:

And after cutting the metal roof frame, pull it out:

Then the targa caps (front and rear) were attached:

Oh, and here's an interesting photo:

Name that engine!!!

Jim was doing V6 turbo installs and Quad 4 swaps pretty often in those days. Sadly, Jim had a stroke around 1999/2000. He survived, but IRM began to cut back at that time. Could someone please jump in here and confirm when IRM sold off it's inventory and closed for good?

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

topcat JAN 05, 06:05 PM
What a great read, and the fact that you have photos to document the history of your car's progression through the years is priceless.

Doc John JAN 05, 06:09 PM

Originally posted by topcat:

What a great read, and the fact that you have photos to document the history of your car's progression through the years is priceless.

I FINALLY got around to scanning a bunch of old 35 mm photos. Now I wish I had taken more!
Mr.PBody JAN 05, 06:25 PM
Wow, great build, keep the pics coming
gaas88 JAN 05, 06:27 PM
That was a great post and close to my heart! I too have a George Fejer 328 kit along with a 3800 Series 1 engine. My kit was installed in 1996 and the engine in 1998. I bought the car in 2004 and since then, I put in a 4 speed 4T60 transmission, 11-1/4" Lebaron brake upgrade, 3" K&N intake and in the spring - a new sound system. From what I understand, Fejer's kits were the best Ferrari 308 / 328 kits made. Every car show or cruise night I attend, people are amazed at the detail and how well the car is put together. The next upgrade will be the interior from Amida in Oregon - he does unbelievable Ferrari interiors. Nice post and I can't wait to see what you do next!

Doc John JAN 05, 06:49 PM
Now, to finish off Phase III. In addition to the targa, while at IRM I had RCC suspension and brakes installed. Coilovers on all four corners, and IIRC, Olds Cutlass vented rotors in front and Camaro vented rotors in back. The coilovers are all height adjustable with a spanner wrench. Sorry, but I can't seem to find any pix of those going on the car.

We also did the upgrade to the Stage II turbo, which consisted of a knock sensor for engine and the ECM from a 1985 Fiero - the only year that could accept input from a knock sensor. The advantage of the stage II system was that I was able to advance the timing a little bit, which helped with throttle response (well, a little bit, it wasn't a night and day thing). The stage II was required if I enlarged the 2.8 to 3.1 liters - IRM (briefly) had a program going with Jasper engines producing 3.1 liter "turbo ready" motors. IRM never sold enough of them to keep Jasper interested, unfortunately. I seem to recall Jim telling me that the turbo 3.1 was rated at 230 HP. My plan, at that time, was to wait until my V6 was in need of a rebuild, and go to a 3.1. Oh well, plans change.

After I got the car back to where I lived at the time, upstate NY (waaaaaay upstate - Potsdam), I did the requisite puttying, sanding, etc., on the targa and the caps. I then had the targa painted black and the caps to match the rest of the car. The painter (Terry LeFluer of Norwood, NY) did an excellent job. This is what I ended up with:

One thing that doesn't show very well in these pix is the door gap. As I described above, the gap at the rear of the doors varied from "normal" at the bottom of the door to almost touching (well, ok, it was touching) the rest of the body at the top. Sagging, the classic sign of a weak convertible frame. I knew it had to be fixed, but I was at a loss as to how to do it without tearing the body off (again!) and doing more welding. So, if you are thinking of making your Fiero into a convertible or a targa car, just remember to over engineer everything related to supporting that frame.

Oh, and here is one little change but a nice one. The tail lamps on the car are Mera surplus that IRM bought up. These tail lights differ from OEM Ferrari in that the Ferrari units have the back-up lamps in center of the the outboard amber lamp housings. Meras have their reverse lamps on either side of the license plate. My back-up lights were mounted behind the lower rear grill. In the interest of accuracy, I modified the Mera units (amber ones only) to have a clear center and a metal "tunnel" for light passage. Result is that it now looks and works like the OEM units (contrast this photo with the one above):

This photo was taken in 1997 when I was living in Eureka, CA. By the way, don't try to register a Fiero with an aftermarket turbo on it in the Peoples Republic of California. It ain't happening.

I used a 2.5" hole saw to cut out the old centers. I then installed the light tunnel, with a clear lens at one end and a socket/bulb at the other end:

Close up of the tail light:


Here is a photo of the car at Fierorama 1999:

Next: Phase IV, covering modifications from 2000-2003.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-18-2008).]

The Poopsmith JAN 05, 06:55 PM
Cool post a bit off topic but is there anyway to get a reprint of the giant Fiero poster on the wall in the photo featuring Jim cutting through the plastic roof?
Doc John JAN 05, 06:59 PM

Originally posted by The Poopsmith:

Cool post a bit off topic but is there anyway to get a reprint of the giant Fiero poster on the wall in the photo featuring Jim cutting through the plastic roof?

IIRC he got that from a Pontiac dealer who had it up in their showroom at one time. Might be tough to track down today, but if you did, what a find!

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 03-28-2008).]

Doc John JAN 05, 07:45 PM
Phase IV, covering 2000-2003. Here is where I redid the interior and a couple of other small but really important things. First, here is a photo of my daughter in Daddy's car:

In 2000 I installed the PISA Eurodash and door panels. It was more than a simple weekend job, but it really wasn't an impossible task. The hardest part was dealing with the wiring harness - very little was labeled, and you really had to figure it out as you went on (nothing was plug and play). I hope that they have improved that part of the kit, because in all other respects the dash is superb:

I recently (2007) had the instrument panel black powdercoated:

I bought an extra "GTS" and attached it to the glove box door, since the real GTS cars have this label.

Oh, and unlike a real 328, this glove box really does open!

Now back to the sagging problem. I think you might be able to make it out in this picture. The rear door gap gets smaller as you go up - not a good situation:

In 2002 I took the car to Twin Lakes Fiero to have Fiero Bob install a couple of new items (fuel pump, ported & coated exhaust manifolds, and a set of Darrell Morse lower/middle/upper intake manifolds and bored throttle body. These parts made a real, noticable difference. I have no dyno tests, but throttle response was definitely improved. I'd guesstimate perhaps 8 HP from the exhaust and maybe another 6 or 7 from the intake. No pix, I'm afraid....

More importantly, Bob had something that turned out to be a life saver: a convertible subframe. It mounted completely below the car, and pulls the front and rear subframes together. We deep-sixed the "X" frame and welded in the subframe. The end result? The door gaps are back to what they should be, and I didn't need to worry about attaching a skateboard under the gas tank to keep the belly from any further sagging. Here's a recent photo of the door gap.

Problem solved:

As it turned out the convertible frame was made by Archie. Hmm..... looks like this Archie guy really knows these cars..... Did I really want a 3.1 turbo, considering that there would have been essentially zero aftermarket support for such a motor? Gotta think about this.... (you'll see Archie mentioned again in the next phase of the build).

Oh, and one other minor mod that you can see in the above photo. I painted the front part of the quarter window to match the body color. On the Ferrari 308's, this whole area was black. But on the 308 qv and on the subsequent 328, the front of this frame was body color.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-08-2008).]

ALLTRBO JAN 05, 08:04 PM
So far it's a wonderful read. It helps take my mind off of the bathroom's fresh paint fumes.

I would LOVE to have had one of these since new. Or anything since new, really. But in 1985 I was 4 years old.
Thanks very much for sharing, and yours is one of my favorite Fieros (as it is currently). I'm looking forward to reading more.