Pennock's Fiero Forum
  General Fiero Chat
  Convertible Fiero History (Indy Convertible?)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Email This Page to Someone! | Printable Version


next newest topic | next oldest topic
Convertible Fiero History (Indy Convertible?) by chrissin712
Started on: 09-09-2014 02:06 AM
Replies: 25 (1319 views)
Last post by: freedom0226 on 09-14-2018 11:25 AM
chrissin712
Member
Posts: 183
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 02:06 AM Click Here to See the Profile for chrissin712Send a Private Message to chrissin712Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Does anybody have any info on any prototypes for built for a Fiero convertible?
Were any of the Indy cars built as convertibles?

I was wondering who built these or if any convertible cars are just customs done by individual owners.

Thanks!
IP: Logged
PFF
System Bot
Indyellowgt
Member
Posts: 1950
From: Alfred,Maine,Fiero Country,USA
Registered: Dec 2000


Feedback score:    (35)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 70
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 07:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IndyellowgtClick Here to Email IndyellowgtSend a Private Message to IndyellowgtEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey there,
I have an INDY convertible, but it was a conversion done by Brisa at some point in the 80's.
Other than a small handful of GM Protos,you'll find all the convertibles are the Brisa/L.A. Machines/ California Convertible kit,or the very beautiful Automoda kit.
While both kits are pretty rare,the Automoda is super hard to find.

The Gary Witzenburg Fiero book has some great info on GM's stab at a Fiero convertible.

Seems like a complete shame that the Fiero did not have a convertible option.
That's GM being penny smart and dollar stupid.. "There is no market for a two seat convertible...."
Then the Miata debuts the same summer the Fiero is axed... and they still make the Miata today.... sigh....
IP: Logged
Fiero84Freak
Member
Posts: 4787
From: AR
Registered: Feb 2002


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 66
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 08:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero84FreakClick Here to Email Fiero84FreakSend a Private Message to Fiero84FreakEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
GM did build convertible prototypes, but as mentioned above anything built on an Indy Fiero pace car replica as a convertible is probably an aftermarket conversion. There are also a myriad of Fiero convertibles out there of varying types; largely spurred by aforementioned company's conversions but also many home-built cars using either kits or otherwise.

That is a bit of a shame that GM didn't consider a convertible option more. For most any vehicle model, it's a good way to bring in a slightly larger potential buyer base. I have to say too that GM shortly in the early 90s were probably kicking themselves in the foot. Discontinue small two-seat coupe, Japanese competitor creates two-seat convertible that instantly explodes in popularity, said Japanese two-seat convertible goes on to be one of the best selling vehicles in history and is still being produced today. Seem legit.
IP: Logged
fierosound
Member
Posts: 14674
From: Calgary, Canada
Registered: Nov 1999


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 282
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 08:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierosoundClick Here to visit fierosound's HomePageClick Here to Email fierosoundSend a Private Message to fierosoundEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Both convertible prototypes are in Calgary. One of our Club Members bought them at Barrett-Jackson auctions.
Pics here: //www.fiero.nl/forum/A...120111-1-079725.html



 
quote
Originally posted by Fiero84Freak:

I have to say too that GM shortly in the early 90s were probably kicking themselves in the foot. Discontinue small two-seat coupe, Japanese competitor creates two-seat convertible that instantly explodes in popularity, said Japanese two-seat convertible goes on to be one of the best selling vehicles in history and is still being produced today. Seem legit.


Maybe they were kicking themselves a little higher up.


------------------
Calgary time/temp

3.4L Supercharged 87 GT Click me
Super Duty 4 Indy #163 Click me

[This message has been edited by fierosound (edited 09-09-2014).]

IP: Logged
jaskispyder
Member
Posts: 21510
From: Northern MI
Registered: Jun 2002


Feedback score:    (22)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 205
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 08:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierosound:





FYI, the one on the right is not a GM prototype, but from the company that brought us the convertible Camaro/Firebird (ASC... American Sunroof Corporation, I think)

[This message has been edited by jaskispyder (edited 09-09-2014).]

IP: Logged
fierosound
Member
Posts: 14674
From: Calgary, Canada
Registered: Nov 1999


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 282
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 09:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierosoundClick Here to visit fierosound's HomePageClick Here to Email fierosoundSend a Private Message to fierosoundEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:

FYI, the one on the right is not a GM prototype,


I didn't say it was.... and I made it clear in the thread I linked to.

[This message has been edited by fierosound (edited 09-09-2014).]

IP: Logged
chrissin712
Member
Posts: 183
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 09:43 AM Click Here to See the Profile for chrissin712Send a Private Message to chrissin712Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks for all the info! It appears the owner of the car I'm looking at must be embellishing or confusing his story the then.
Does anybody know how many Indy cars were modified into convertibles? Was it a number of cars sold by BRISA or just at the individual owners choice to modify them?


Either way I'm still interested in the idea of a convertible twin of my current car...haha
IP: Logged
jaskispyder
Member
Posts: 21510
From: Northern MI
Registered: Jun 2002


Feedback score:    (22)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 205
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 10:04 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierosound:


I didn't say it was.... and I made it clear in the thread I linked to.



I didn't say you did. I was only pointing it out, if someone didn't read the link.

People will assume "GM prototype" when they hear "prototype".

IP: Logged
jaskispyder
Member
Posts: 21510
From: Northern MI
Registered: Jun 2002


Feedback score:    (22)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 205
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 10:05 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

jaskispyder

21510 posts
Member since Jun 2002
There are the Holland Pontiac convertibles also. You could modify one of these to make it into an Indy replica. They were on '87 chassis. Most had 4cyl, some had V6.
IP: Logged
Angellightning
Member
Posts: 310
From:
Registered: Jul 2014


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 10:15 AM Click Here to See the Profile for AngellightningSend a Private Message to AngellightningEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I remember a 2.5L one where the decklid opened sideways and it looked like a GT fastback in the back, with the PONTIAC part of the tails painted red.
IP: Logged
2.5
Member
Posts: 41929
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 180
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 03:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierosound:

Both convertible prototypes are in Calgary. One of our Club Members bought them at Barrett-Jackson auctions.
Pics here: //www.fiero.nl/forum/A...120111-1-079725.html




Maybe they were kicking themselves a little higher up.



Too bad they didnt bring them to the 30th anniversary.
IP: Logged
PFF
System Bot
Danyel
Member
Posts: 6046
From: Lévis, Québec, Canada
Registered: Sep 2008


Feedback score:    (91)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 171
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 04:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DanyelClick Here to visit Danyel's HomePageSend a Private Message to DanyelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The red one on the left side of the picture looks like an Automoda top ... huuummm
IP: Logged
fierosound
Member
Posts: 14674
From: Calgary, Canada
Registered: Nov 1999


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 282
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 05:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierosoundClick Here to visit fierosound's HomePageClick Here to Email fierosoundSend a Private Message to fierosoundEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Indyellowgt:

That's GM being penny smart and dollar stupid.. "There is no market for a two seat convertible...."
Then the Miata debuts the same summer the Fiero is axed... and they still make the Miata today.... sigh....


They then tried to fix that mistake with the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky - too late by then.

IP: Logged
hyperv6
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Clinton, OH, USA
Registered: Mar 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 91
Rate this member

Report this Post09-09-2014 08:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The fact is Pontiac had a hard time affording to design the car as a coupe let alone to do it as a convertible too. Pontiac would have loved to have had a drop top but they needed things like a new suspension, engine and other silly things first.

Even if it were made into a drop top the car only had about 5 more years left if they were lucky. Even now people complain about the prices because the supply still out weights the demand.

When Pontiac sold nearly 200,000 Fieros in the first couple years it saturated the market to the point that future sales were going to be damaged. The two seat car market is limited and the only reason the Miata has lasted is smart marketing. They sell it globally but limit sales in each market. It is rare if they sell over 18,000 in any single market per year.

Building cars and marketing them is not as simple as just building it. Also building cars at GM in the 80's just was not simple in any way.
IP: Logged
icarumba
Junior Member
Posts: 3
From: Mount Juliet TN, USA
Registered: Aug 2018


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 12:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for icarumbaSend a Private Message to icarumbaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey everyone!

I worked on a Fiero convertible prototype for a California design firm back in 1984 & 1985. I assumed that no production units had ever been manufactured, and forgot all about the project until yesterday when it came up in a discussion. I Googled "Fiero Convertible" (not expecting any results), and found that there are a few people out there that agree that a droptop Fiero would have been a good idea. I probably still have a few photos and engineering drawings lying around; I can dig them up and post them if anyone is still interested. When the prototype was finished, we exhibited it at a Fiero show in Pontiac Michigan. There was another convertible there with a different top design. I think their approach was a lot cleaner, but we were trying to make a kit that could be installed by any body shop, so we were faced with some design limitations.

I'll be happy to share what I know if anyone is still interested!

Dave

EDIT: Not having any luck posting links to images on Google Photos; thanks to fieroguru for offering to post them for me.

[This message has been edited by icarumba (edited 08-31-2018).]

IP: Logged
fieroguru
Member
Posts: 11556
From: Champaign, IL
Registered: Aug 2003


Feedback score:    (45)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 257
Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 01:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by icarumba:

Hey everyone!

I worked on a Fiero convertible prototype for a California design firm back in 1984.

I'll be happy to share what I know if anyone is still interested!

Dave



Dave, welcome to the forum! I would love to see any and all pictures you have. You can email them to me and I will post them for you.
fieroguruperformancellc@gmail.com
IP: Logged
mmeyer86gt/gtp
Member
Posts: 3700
From: galt, ca
Registered: Sep 2001


Feedback score:    (159)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 72
Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 02:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for mmeyer86gt/gtpClick Here to Email mmeyer86gt/gtpSend a Private Message to mmeyer86gt/gtpEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
i have a pic of the indy convertible from 94 looked like a one off "custom" job
IP: Logged
icarumba
Junior Member
Posts: 3
From: Mount Juliet TN, USA
Registered: Aug 2018


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 02:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for icarumbaSend a Private Message to icarumbaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fieroguru:


Dave, welcome to the forum! I would love to see any and all pictures you have. You can email them to me and I will post them for you.
fieroguruperformancellc@gmail.com


Just sent some images; will send more shortly. Please let me know if you do not receive them, and I will resend. Thanks!!

[This message has been edited by icarumba (edited 08-31-2018).]

IP: Logged
fieroguru
Member
Posts: 11556
From: Champaign, IL
Registered: Aug 2003


Feedback score:    (45)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 257
Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 04:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here are the pics. Please make sure you click on the 300K one, it shows the various stages of the top opening and I didn't want to scale it down to fit as you would lose details in the pics.




This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.






IP: Logged
FIERO JOHN-WI
Member
Posts: 2320
From: GREENFIELD, WI, MILWAUKEE
Registered: Jun 2001


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post08-31-2018 11:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FIERO JOHN-WIClick Here to Email FIERO JOHN-WISend a Private Message to FIERO JOHN-WIEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
That ended up, being Brisa, which became California convertible, which became La Machine convertible.
IP: Logged
Raydar
Member
Posts: 38922
From: Carrollton GA. Out in the... country.
Registered: Oct 1999


Feedback score:    (12)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 455
Rate this member

Report this Post09-01-2018 01:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
WOW!!
IP: Logged
PFF
System Bot
Dennis LaGrua
Member
Posts: 14269
From: Hillsborough, NJ U.S.A.
Registered: May 2000


Feedback score:    (13)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 324
Rate this member

Report this Post09-01-2018 04:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis LaGruaClick Here to Email Dennis LaGruaSend a Private Message to Dennis LaGruaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Indyellowgt:

Hey there,
I have an INDY convertible, but it was a conversion done by Brisa at some point in the 80's.
Other than a small handful of GM Protos,you'll find all the convertibles are the Brisa/L.A. Machines/ California Convertible kit,or the very beautiful Automoda kit.
While both kits are pretty rare,the Automoda is super hard to find.
....


I have the Brisa/California Convertible kit on my 85GT and know another local guy that has one. While the Automoda top was more compact, the Brisa could be put up in one piece without assembling a separate center piece. . Great if the rain comes on while you are driving. IMO, it also looks like a more traditional convertible with the larger top. The slight flaw is that when its down the top folds into a somewhat high stack but at a recent show I saw a Mustang and a vintage Rolls Royce who's top folded down the same way.

------------------
" THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Spintech/Hedman Exhaust, P-log Manifold, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, Champion Radiator, S10 Brake Booster, HP Tuners VCM Suite.
"THE COLUSSUS"
87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H
" ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "

IP: Logged
tshark
Member
Posts: 4388
From:
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score:    (6)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 68
Rate this member

Report this Post09-01-2018 04:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tsharkSend a Private Message to tsharkEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Where does the heat from the engine vents go?
IP: Logged
Dennis LaGrua
Member
Posts: 14269
From: Hillsborough, NJ U.S.A.
Registered: May 2000


Feedback score:    (13)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 324
Rate this member

Report this Post09-01-2018 08:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis LaGruaClick Here to Email Dennis LaGruaSend a Private Message to Dennis LaGruaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by tshark:

Where does the heat from the engine vents go?


A new vent is cut in the deck lid in the center near the top cradle. Its shown in the pictures.

------------------
" THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Spintech/Hedman Exhaust, P-log Manifold, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, Champion Radiator, S10 Brake Booster, HP Tuners VCM Suite.
"THE COLUSSUS"
87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H
" ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "

IP: Logged
icarumba
Junior Member
Posts: 3
From: Mount Juliet TN, USA
Registered: Aug 2018


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post09-03-2018 11:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for icarumbaSend a Private Message to icarumbaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Dennis LaGrua:


I have the Brisa/California Convertible kit on my 85GT and know another local guy that has one. While the Automoda top was more compact, the Brisa could be put up in one piece without assembling a separate center piece. . Great if the rain comes on while you are driving. IMO, it also looks like a more traditional convertible with the larger top. The slight flaw is that when its down the top folds into a somewhat high stack but at a recent show I saw a Mustang and a vintage Rolls Royce who's top folded down the same way.



Hi Dennis,

I'd love to hear honest reviews on the Brisa kit from people who have lived with it. I left the company for greener pastures shortly after the first prototype (the black one) was built, so I never got to see the production kit (or most of the testing on the first prototype).

Regarding engine heat, if you look at the photo of the black one (with the top up), you'll notice that there is a small slot between the rear window and the decklid to vent the engine heat. That photo was taken at a Fiero show in Pontiac Michigan in the summer of 1985, and the car was driven back to our shop in Westminster, Calif., immediately after the show. The driver reported that engine temps were in the normal range the entire trip back. I know there were plans to test the car in the Mojave Desert, but I don't know if or when they took place. We knew that we were going to need more ventilation for the 6 cyl, and that is probably when the separate vent was added.

As for the top stack...we weren't real happy with it either! If you look at the photo of the black one with the top down, you'll note that it is quite a bit lower in that shot. That was the very first top mechanism we put together, and it did not yet have the top material installed. Our goal was to make the production top that low, but we were unable to for three reasons:

1. The top fabric and necessary padding added a surprising amount of bulk.

2. The original top mechanism prototype was not as robust as we would have liked, so we had to beef it up.

3. The client that hired us to design this top stipulated that it was to be a kit, which could be purchased and taken to a typical body shop for installation. The client insisted that we design it so that it could be installed without requiring any filler, finishing, painting or custom body panels of any kind. My boss and I were both car guys, and we tried to explain that anyone who would go to the trouble and expense of installing this kit would probably be willing to pay more for paint and/or custom panels to get a sleeker looking finished product. Sadly, our pleas fell on deaf ears - they said no dice; they didn't want to add any more expense to the conversion process. Part of the reason the top stack is so high is that the B-pillars are so massive, and the reason the B-pillars are so massive is because they had to cover up where the factory top was removed. If we had been allowed to design replacement quarter panels and deck lid (to cover up where the top was removed), or at least some filler panels that could have been patched in and painted, we could have brought the rear edge of the top forward a bit and reduced the width of the B-pillars. This would have changed the geometry of the top and allowed it to stack more tightly than it does now. A new deck lid design would have also allowed us to integrate the engine vents more elegantly, and would have certainly provided better cooling to boot.

So I'd love to hear feedback on the following items from you, your friend, and anyone else that has a Brisa kit:

*Did you buy the car already converted? Did you buy the kit and do it yourself? Or did you have a body shop do the work?

*How long have you owned the car (with the conversion), and how many miles have you driven it (with the conversion)?

*Have you ever had any engine cooling issues? If anyone else chimes in, please state whether you have a 4cyl or 6 cyl.

*Any issues with structural integrity or the top mechanism? The first prototype (after we installed the revised top mechanism) was rock-solid and very robust. I really hope that they didn't cut corners on the production parts.

*Any other comments?

Looking forward to hearing what experiences people have had with this kit, both positive and negative. I just hope you guys have had as much fun driving these cars as I had helping design it!!

**EDIT**
One other tidbit of information: The last time I saw the black car, it had been trashed from getting the seat belt mounting brackets certified. Apparently, (at least back in 1985) testing procedures required the car to be bolted down, with cables attached to the mounting brackets and pulled with a certain amount of force. In order to get the cables to pull at the correct angle, the cable had to go from the brackets to a winch directly at the front of the car. So instead of removing the hood and dashboard to run the cable, the testers just took a Sawzall to them! Very sad! I have no idea what ever happened to that car. I hope that it was repaired and used for further testing, but I vaguely recall being told that the car was going to be scrapped. At least it passed the test with flying colors!

[This message has been edited by icarumba (edited 09-03-2018).]

IP: Logged
freedom0226
Member
Posts: 946
From: Compton , California
Registered: Dec 2009


Feedback score:    (10)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post09-14-2018 11:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for freedom0226Click Here to Email freedom0226Send a Private Message to freedom0226Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have a 1985 La machine convertible I live in California I will post pictures soon I have the V6 engine installed but if you go to the fiero VIN decoder it says it originally came with a 4-cylinder. car has 102000 miles complete paint job has been redone and I'm currently in the process of installing the Ameda 355 front bumper. For a lot more photos I am on the Facebook Fiero page West Coast Fiero page and a convertible top page under the name Kenny reinoso
IP: Logged

next newest topic | next oldest topic

All times are ET (US)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Back To Main Page

Advertizing on PFF | Fiero Parts Vendors
PFF Merchandise | Fiero Gallery | Ogre's Cave
Real-Time Chat | Fiero Related Auctions on eBay



Copyright (c) 1999, C. Pennock