So ever since Dave (Skitime) started a history of his car thread years ago, I've been meaning to do the same. However, life (school, working, marriage, horses etc!) put the brakes on things for awhile. We're now in the process of getting my car ready for the 25th and are doing some great new things with it! It made me really sit back and look at how far this little car has come! Believe it or not, it hasn't always looked like this:
(And it won't be looking like that for long )
The story of the car known as the "Blue Demon" begins in June of 2001 with a phone call that went a little something like this, "Hey Dad, I have something important to tell you. You'll never believe it but I just bought another Fiero!" Those must have been dreaded words to my father's ears, and if they weren't at the time, well, he had no idea what he was getting into! We already had nearly a dozen Fieros, two of which were mine, and here I was bringing another one home.
I had been driving along a rural road (PA 562 near Boyertown to those of you who are locals), on my way to a friend's house when my passenger and I both noticed a beautiful (from 1000 ft!!!) blue 85GT sitting along the side of the road. I was like, "Wow, cool Fiero," and kept on driving since we were already late. My passenger then exclaimed, "Hey it's for sale! $1000 o.b.o!" I quickly slammed on the brakes of my coupe, turned around and pulled into the driveway.
As I got out of the car, the owner came out of the house. Though the car had a pretty paint job on it, the paint was in rough shape and the interior of the car needed a major restoration. The guy who owned the car, Steve, said that he had bought the car from a dealership with the intention of making it a kit car, but he could never get it to run and had since lose interest in making the kit car. As I looked over the car, with it's MOMO style rims and bald tires, I got the feeling that the previous owner had severely abused the car. After listening to Steve describe the symptoms, I began to think that all that was wrong with the car, aside from needing a lot of cosmetic work was a faulty fuel pump. Satisfied that this was the correct diagnosis, I did some wheeling and dealing, brought the price down and put a deposit on the car. It was then that I called my father.
"Dad, this car is great! I know I wanted another fastback, but I finally found my custom car. And it already has rims! All it needs is a fuel pump and it is ready to run!" I rambled on and on, but my father must have been sitting there shaking his head and wondering how I was going to pay for it. I had already decided upon my solution - my college tuition rebate check!
Several days later, Dad and I went to reexamine the car. I had already exchanged the title, but we needed to scope it out in order to bring the trailer since the road was very busy and maneuvering a trailer would be fun. Dad was actually rather surprised that I did do well with my purchase and several days later the car was loaded up and on its way home.
As you can see the previous owner had impeccable taste with those blinging windshield wipers! They would come back to haunt me later on....
Upon unloading the car at the house, we proceeded to push it into the garage to see just exactly what was wrong with it. My diagnosis was indeed correct - the fuel pump was faulty. However, once Dad was able to trick the car into running for a few minutes, we got another surprise. At 150k - the car had the historic 85 V6 rod knock, sure to be the #4 bearing. I was frustrated but hopeful, maybe I could finally do that 3.4L swap I had wanted to do! We pushed the car back outside of the garage, where it would sit for the next six months, only to be washed and dreamed about until that following December....
To be continued...
[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 07-14-2008).]
Thanks guys! I hope to get more pics from over at my parents tonight (for some reason I can't find my disk!) and add some updates soon.
Matt - doing well! Are you going to the 25th Anniversary show? When will you be home again?
Joel - yes, it makes Matt said too! He misses that car, especially with the price of gas! (It is a yellow 88 T-top coupe with a v6 installed after the fact so sort of!)
No not going to the 25th show. I'll actually be home this weekend, but it'll be for a friends bachaelor party. I will more than likely be home the following weekend also, although I may spend a lot of that weekend getting ready to leave for Ireland on the 29th.
[This message has been edited by fiero go fast (edited 07-15-2008).]
Hey Jen, you've done an incredible amount of work on that car and it really came out awesome! It's definitely one of the nicest Fieros around. And I remember it way back before the rebuild. Looking forward to keeping an eye on this thread and seeing you, the family, and the car at the 25th!
Thanks for your posts guys and thanks for the pic Lar! :-) I remember that show at Zinn's - that was such a great place!
So the car sat in the driveway all summer through my 21st birthday party/Fiero picnic and our October Tech Day it occupied this spot:
As you can see from some of the pics below, it was a rather filthy mess:
Gotta love the hole in the carpet and the crusty dash and surrounds...fortunately it had a nice Grant wheel when I bought it...one less thing to purchase on my college student budget!
Also, the yellow "line" paint in the wheel wells on the left side really added to the car's character!
I had meanwhile gotten the number of the car's owner prior to Steve by looking up a name that was on an insurance card I found in the car. His name was Jeremy and he had owned the car for a few years prior to Steve's purchase of the car from Hershey Motors near Parksburg. When Jeremy bought the car it was a black 85 GT. He worked for a shop that painted helicopters and decided to paint the car the same color as a helicopter he had been working on because he really liked the color. Once he painted the car, while browsing Spring Carlisle, he came across the wheels and purchased them and put them on the car. He also bought the Grant wheel and had many other upgrades planned before he ran short on cash. He had even taken the car to Carlisle in 2000. Ironically, my boyfriend at the time I got the car had taken a picture of the car when Jeremy had it at Carlisle....little did I know when I first glanced at that car in 2000 that it would someday be mine!
After getting the car upgraded, Jeremy broke up with his girlfriend who was in possession of the car for some reason. She and her new boyfriend took the car out and ran it through the line paint, repeatedly burned the tires off of it and ran it out of gas after doing a series of donuts in it near Hershey Motors. After the car died, they proceeded to gouge the seats (unforunately I can't find the pictures to show) and they jumped all over the hood, decklid and roof of the car, which explained the terrible scratches and poor fit of those pieces. My poor little car had a rough go of things, but had that not happened - I probably would have never owned the car. Jeremy decided his hands were too full to repair it and he left it at Hershey Motors to be put up for sale...hence, the purchase by Steve.
Since 2001, Jeremy did end up buying another Fiero from a friend of mine and put a 3800 in it. He painted it orange and occasionally lurks here on the forum....
So as we know, the car sat in the driveway from it's date of purchase until the following December. On nice days it got washed, but no amount of washing could really bring the car up to what I envisioned. To achieve that image, it was going to take far more than some soap and water and the occasional push around the driveway.
I'd like to entite this next segment, "How Jen & Dad nearly killed each other." For those of you who were there, you know that was nearly the case!
The real project began in late November of 2001. A local guy had a 3.4L engine for sale at a seemingly good price ($400) so I decided to take a look at it and see about doing a 3.4L swap in the car, as the existing motor was already shot. Dad andd I went over a few times and looked at the engine and at 60k, everything seemed to be in pretty good shape. As an added bonus, the engine owner offered to dill the starter holes in the block to make the Fiero conversion. He was already working on his own 3.4L so this seemed ideal. We took him up on that offer and committed our first big mistake.
Meanwhile, on December 26th, with the assistance of Dave Horst (skitime) and Denny Lambert (Denny), Dad and I pushed the yet to be named "Blue Demon" into the garage where it would sit until May of the following year. We still did not have possession of the engine and persistent phone calls finally revealed the problem. The guy who had the engine had screw up the starter holes and was attempting to re-drill them! No go there! We decided to pick up the engine as is and got another surprise. It seemed like the possibility existed that this guy had switched blocks on us as teh condition of the block had "rapidly detoriorated" since the last time we saw it. Since time was short, and the price was still pretty cheap, we decided to make a go of it anyways and brought the block home.
To be continued...I have to go back out to the garage and see how the latest project is "drying"!
[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 07-23-2008).]
Dad told me that if I wanted a "new" engine in my car, I would have to prove to him that I was committed to the project. My first task, he said, was to unhook the anti-freeze lines attached to the engine, under the car. He handed me a screw driver and gave me a few pointers. I figured that this couldn't be all that difficult, after all, I had handed Dad numerous screw drivers and paper towels on our other engine removal projects. I was also determined to not be a wuss about getting a "little" dirty.
After jacking up the car and placing the special "engine removal" jack stands underneath, I crawled under. Dad had meanwhile gone upstairs to spend some time with his brother, who was visiting from FL. I realized as soon as I was under the car that this was going to be more difficult than expected. The car had been sitting for so long that the drain plugs were immovable. The only other option was to remove the hoses with the fluid still in them, which was sure to be a messy task. Undettered, I set about my work. An hour later, I was covered in anti-freeze from head to toe (yes - it does turn your hair green!), and I still couldn't get the fasteners all of the way off. I called up to Dad on the intercom and a few minutes later, he and my Uncle Ron were having the time of their lives laughing at an anti-freeze covered girl. They felt so bad that they changed, sent me up for a shower and then assisted me in removing the lines. Needless to say, my dad realized I was committed to the project!
Unfortunately, no one thought to take pictures of this mess!
Getting the engine itself out didn't prove to be a very difficult task. By this time we had done no less than a half dozen engine removals and we had an outstanding "crew." Within two hours, the engine was out and on the floor!
We set to work disassembling the engine as some of the parts from the 2.8L would of course be used in the swap. The new block was at our machinists where it was being cookeed and bored .30 over. We decided to go with hypereutectic pistons because the overall game plan was to turbo the car. In retrospect, I wish we had made another decision because the compression ratio we ended up (9.2:1) with was not optimal for eventual turbo-ing. That is not saying it won't be possible but I won't be able to use maximum boost and expect this block to hold together well.
My dad was the fearless leader on this project, and shortly after the picture below was taken, he and I had the engine ready to come out of the sub-frame. We documented nearly every step of the way with photographs so that the future assembly would go smoothly.
The below pic is one of my favorites...I'm not sure why I was confused but I definitely was! (Probably because I felt like a marshmallow person inside that mechanic's jumpsuit that was fifty sizes too big!)
Ya have to admire a girl who will dig in and work on her own car! I asked my girlfriend to help me once... asked her to hand me a phillips screwdriver and her response... "is that the pointy one"? Haven't asked for her help since.
It was also decided at this time that we were going to attempt to paint the front and rear compartments the same color as the car. Dave had suggested this as many hotrods already used this idea. The only Fiero we were aware of that was painted like this (at that time) belonged to Chris West, and he was all the way over on the other coast!
What a big project this would be! We began with the front compartment and stripped everything out of it. I never knew exactly how many little pieces were involved in that front area, but let me tell you from experience - there are a lot!
(Am I posting too many pictures? Please let me know!)
Well I was seriously hoping to have this thread near finished before the 25th but being as that we are leaving in 23 hours and we're still putting pieces together for the car...that is taking precedent. But I must say, the "top secret" addition does look pretty awesome ;-) I'm very excited for everyone to see it. There are also a couple other smaller surprises for those of you who have seen the car in person before.
Well we're back from the 25th! Overall we had a great time and enjoyed seeing our many Fiero friends. I decided to take a break from unpacking to post some more info in this thread, especially because some of you were clamouring for it at the show!
After taking pictures of the A/C unit, photos were taken of the set-up of the brake master cylinder and the wiring in the front compartment. The photos of the wiring were among the most critical so we were sure to zoom in! These photos would later come in handy when we rewired the front!
P.S. - these are moving ahead in date at a rapid pace. Keep in mind that other work was being done on the car at the time but I figured it would be more organized to keep the topics together in this thread.
Prepping the front compartment was a real b*tch. You have no idea how many little groves and bumps there are above the wheel wheels until you have actually tackled the project of wet sanding and filling it all in with bondo. I learned so much about the intricate areas about this compartment that I now have a much great appreciation for it!
In the first picture you can see my "tools" of choice. I first "Super Cleaned" the whole area to get the surface dirt off. I also used brake cleaner and "Goo Gone" to take off any tougher residues. I wet sanded the entire compartment and then began taping off the hoses (it was so much easier to leave those particular ones in), while I simultaneously worked at slowly filling in the valleys with bondo.
After the initial prep work was completed, it was important to carefully tape off the areas to be painted.
This job could not have been undertaken without the help of many Fiero friends, including kslish who is shown on the right:
After the car was done being taped, the primer was shot by my dad:
Alright got a temporary reprieve (Matt wanted to mow the lawn and it kills my allergies!)
For the paint we used an enamel with hardner. After spraying the inner compartment, we used a black version of the same paint to spray the surrounding compartment. While those areas were prepped, painted and drying, we began to paint some of the pieces that belonged in those compartments such as the radiator, headlights and jack. Other pieces were also being powdercoated such as the tire iron and tire holder.
Thanks guys! I will try to get more on at some point this week! Lunch with a friend and horse stuff today. Horse show tomorrow and I may go in to work on Thursday....gotta start getting used to the "W" word again. But I'll fit some in!
Ironic, just went searching for this only to see its been bumped within the past month.
How are things Jen? I really need to make some time and come visit. I can drive my bike over (Fiero is currently away for the season, although still untagged, unregistered, and uninsured...blah to all the moving around the country).