Obvious the 88. As long as it's not a 84 I don't mind. Though the notchback vs fast back is a diff question I love the notchback over fastback, but I do want to buy a fastback also, just to have both body styles lol
I think the '85 GT was rated to have a bit more power than the later years, but overall the '88 has the best engineering and quality.
This is what I heard from people that know and have owned all years and followed them closely. Although the quality part could be very controversial. It was GM 80s quality. Back then in 88 or 89 I remember racing a stock 85GT and he beat the crap of my 88 Formula. I drove once an automatic one and I don't know why but it felt stronger. Now in stock form any 88 will be more valuable than any comparable one of prior years.
The 88 suspension will generally put the 88's on top of most people's "best" lists.
However, if we are talking about Fieros today to buy or stay away from, my answer would be this: The best Fiero would be the one which is rot free, having been well maintained, and is in good working order.
As for best performing, I am not sure I would hand it right to an 88 Formula. I have an 85 SE V6 with the 4 speed muncie, which definately feels quicker to me than the 88 Formula I had with a 5 speed getrag. I miss a couple MGP's due to the lack of a 5th gear overdrive with the 85, but otherwise, I like how the powertrain performs a lot better. My Formulas would out handle the 85 however.
Performance is a lot more than acceleration. My 85 GT was quick, but rode like a wagon. My 86 SE rode better than the 85, but compared to my Formula, neither car was that good. Braking, handling and ride comfort quality in the 88 is so much better than the earlier cars. Of course the Formula is a bunch quicker, too, but that might have something to do with the V-8 in the back......
I have always been told best stock engineering - 88 best stock duke 87 ( no balancer ) best as in Notch or GT depends on what you like best overall the one you have and of course best looking " mine of course" LOL
Had and 86 back until I sold it in 95, got my 88 two years ago. Guess I like the 88 the best except the nose sits up too high. need to be lowered about one or two inches. The 88 seems to handle a little better.
Hands down the 88 formula if you are talking performance. It was the best design year and the lightest V6 produced. It had the best performance numbers of all the models.
If you are talking looks, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love the 87-88 notchbacks, but also the GTs in a different light. The SEs and 85 GT would be next, and the bumperpad notchies would be the low men on the totem pole.
there is a lot to this question for sure. If you are also talking about what it will take to modify one and cost associated with that could come into play. I have had an 88 formula and currently have a 87 fastback. I personally like the fastback look better, but that is also due to the wide body conversion I wanted to do.
I never autoX either or them so it was hard to really tell the difference personally on how they compared driving. Since I wanted to modify mine with new body and engine swap, I simply looked for the car in the best condition for my budget.
If you are simply looking for stock and potentially resale value, I guess the 88s are it. Probably need to look at a t-top model as well.
The t-top 88's go for a good buck, but anyone looking for a driver I would advice to stay away. Replacement seals are just too hard to come by and expensive. I sold a beautiful 88 Formula t-top due to what it would have cost me to fix the t-top seals to a state where it would be driveable in the rain.
The best Fiero is the one that performs the way you want it to. There are many paths to success. So many parts are direct bolt-ins. So many more can be modified to work. You can make any Fiero be what you want. If I were to hand pick components, I'd go with an 87 notchie with an 88 cradle swap. A 3800SC and HD auto trans. All new rubber bushings. The SOFTEST springs that would maintain the control level I wanted. The brake booster upgrade as a minimum.
These are the kinds of choices you will be making no matter what you buy. These cars are no longer factory original nor do they perform like it. Very few cars for sale will be well maintained, turn key cars. You're gonna have to fix stuff so why worry about how it came from the factory?