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Convince me to buy a Fiero ! by SuperDuty455
Started on: 06-09-2015 03:09 PM
Replies: 28 (468 views)
Last post by: Bruce on 06-14-2015 12:11 AM
SuperDuty455
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Report this Post06-09-2015 03:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SuperDuty455Click Here to Email SuperDuty455Send a Private Message to SuperDuty455Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hi guys,

I'm new here but I've known this forum for a while (actually bought a UU6 radio from someone here in 2010). I own a 1984 Trans Am HO 5 speed that I restored and I have a 1974 Firebird Formula 400 following the same path. I'm from France by the way.
Last week I found a cheap base 1984 Fiero (that is advertised as a 1985) 2.5L/Auto 66000 miles for sale. According to the pictures, it needs a good bit of cosmetic work on the inside. It appears to be mostly original, black exterior and slate grey interior, mods include the HiTech rims (came with 13" Turbo Finned), ugly rear spoiler, some US flag cloth covering the headliner, and an aftermarket radio. Not many options, it does have the F75 tranny gear ratio which I believe was optional if anything special. So at first glance it appears to be a neat little car requiring some TLC. I got pics of the frame in the sensible spots and it looks rust free.


I've always wanted a Fiero, but now that I'm seriously considering owning one, the more I read about them, the less it seems to be a good idea...I have plenty of room, some time, I can do all the work myself, paint and upholstery as well, I'm not afraid of repairing electrical issues, but I don't want another resto project.

So would that be a good/fun idea ?
Should I expect repetitive failures or is their reputation overdone ?


I've driven one a few years ago, a 1985 GT V6 manual, and I wasn't really impressed but the car had seen better days so it wouldn't be fair to judge all Fieros based on this experience.

This one would be imported from the Netherlands, and in the case of US cars, they have to be at least 30 years old otherwise it's very complicated and costly to register. The offer of Fieros in France is very scarce and most of them are ugly "replicas".

Thanks
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Report this Post06-09-2015 04:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SteelSend a Private Message to SteelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you need to be convinced.. it's probably not the car for you.
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Gall757
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Report this Post06-09-2015 05:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Welcome to the Forum!

I know that I would not want to maintain a 30 year old Renault here in the States. I had a Fuego decades ago wore myself out keeping it running. If you can find another Fiero owner close by to help you, it's a lot more enjoyable. If you need to rely on the car, I am with Steel, but as a hobby, they can be rewarding. They are not fast without an engine transplant, but a pleasure to drive.
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CowsPatoot
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Report this Post06-09-2015 05:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CowsPatootClick Here to visit CowsPatoot's HomePageSend a Private Message to CowsPatootEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
An 84 is a unique car...mainly for the wiring, but they seem to have more issues with the ignition and computer system as well. Also keep in mind that an auto will make it a SLOW car...and I do mean slow. I live in the mountains, and my 84 duke/auto struggles to climb the hills around here.

I love my Fieros, and would never get rid of them...but they are a continual hobby, not something you can fix and drive trouble free. Most people that say theirs has never had a problem mean that theirs have never left them stranded, and it takes constant tinkering with them to keep them that way.

I would recommend finding an 85 simply because they are easier to maintain...and finding parts in France will not be easy or cheap.
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SuperDuty455
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Report this Post06-09-2015 05:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SuperDuty455Click Here to Email SuperDuty455Send a Private Message to SuperDuty455Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Allright, they're indeed finicky then. I don't mind having a semi-project that would require minor repairs from time to time, but not to the point it would leave me stranded regularly...

This car wouldn't be used as a sports car by any stretch, and I leave in a very flat area of Europe.

[This message has been edited by SuperDuty455 (edited 06-09-2015).]

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Gall757
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Report this Post06-09-2015 05:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The Forum gets a lot of posts about problems, but not so many when things are working fine. I have had a reliable car for 12 years. They are more trustworthy than British cars. (for what that is worth....)

[This message has been edited by Gall757 (edited 06-09-2015).]

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SuperDuty455
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Report this Post06-09-2015 05:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SuperDuty455Click Here to Email SuperDuty455Send a Private Message to SuperDuty455Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Yeah that's what I thought as well.

Do '84 iron dukes commonly break due to the weak rods ?
80's electronics can be a little troublesome after 30 years, but they're pretty crude as well and aren't very complicated to service.

Does anybody makes proper shielding for the wiring harness ?

As for parts, I have an '89 Firebird parts car which appears to have many common parts (switches, misc electronics, fasteners of all sorts, connectors,...).
I know a guy in Belgium not very far from here who makes good Lamborghini replicas out of Fieros that are a lot more than a fiberglass body slapped on a Fiero spaceframe, he should have a lot of parts.
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Report this Post06-09-2015 06:04 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
 
quote
Originally posted by CowsPatoot:
...
I would recommend finding an 85 simply because they are easier to maintain...and finding parts in France will not be easy or cheap.


I have to agree with this opinion. The cars were improved incrementally every year, so buy the newest one that you can. (Based on your government "restrictions", that seems to be an 85.)

From '85, going forward, you will find a lot more parts and wiring that can directly interchange between the years. They were also available with the V6, which is a vast improvement over the 4 cylinder. (Any year 4 cylinder, with the automatic, is slow. I had an 88 4 cylinder with an automatic. I almost had to drive it like I was mad at it, in order to make it move under its own power. )

Regarding the connecting rods, the "popular" theory is that, by now, all of the engines with the weak rods have either already blown up, or have been replaced by the GM recall. Since this one only has 66K on the odometer, I suppose there is a chance that it's original. There was supposed to have been a sticker attached to the underside of the decklid when the recall work was done, but I can't say that I have ever seen one of those stickers, on any of the Fieros I've seen.

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 06-09-2015).]

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zzzhuh
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Report this Post06-09-2015 06:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zzzhuhSend a Private Message to zzzhuhEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I agree with what most people are saying.

The 84' is the worst year to buy. Not to offend anyone, but the first production year of any car usually has faults that future cars don't have.

An 88 would be your best bet, but if that isn't available try to find a GT. The look is awesome and the handling is so precise. A Firebird is a great car, but they are big compared to Fieros. If you want an American sports car that is cheap, and handles great compared to muscle cars, go with the Fiero. If you want an expensive american sports car, go with a corvette.
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FieroScott
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Report this Post06-09-2015 06:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroScottClick Here to Email FieroScottSend a Private Message to FieroScottEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
NO convincing required, All you have to do is take one for a drive!

I just took one for a ride back in 1991 and have owned at least 1 ever since. Currently have 7 and another one comming soon.

------------------
88 Red GT 5sp T-Top CJB #1139
88 Yellow Formula 5sp
87 Black GT 5sp
87 Med. Red SE Auto T-Top
86 Black GT 4sp T-Top (Black Knight)
86 Black SE Auto
84 IRM (Prototype) Turbo Fastback T-Top
Dr Pepper Go Kart
2008 Red HHR SS
2008 White Trailblazer 3-LT

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Report this Post06-09-2015 06:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for busa_poweredClick Here to Email busa_poweredSend a Private Message to busa_poweredEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
i really don't care for threads like this.

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SuperDuty455
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Report this Post06-09-2015 06:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SuperDuty455Click Here to Email SuperDuty455Send a Private Message to SuperDuty455Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Why not ? I'm just asking for positive opinions on a car I don't know very well, as I read mostly negative comments about these...even here.

Allright, so I'll stay away from '84 models at the moment and keep an eye on later ones. In six months I can import '86 models anyway.

It sucks as I was excited about this Fiero until I saw the SPId :/
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Report this Post06-09-2015 07:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Quad RaiderClick Here to Email Quad RaiderSend a Private Message to Quad RaiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I bought an '87 coupe from the original owner on New Year's Day of 2011, thinking I'd have my Quad 4 and transmission swapped into it and on the road in six months. Four and a half years later, I'm still working on it. I've fallen in love with the car even though it's never been running while I've owned it. I love it because it's one of the easiest cars to disassemble and customize and parts are plentiful (in my area). And because it just looks cool and is getting rarer by the day.

This forum is a tremendous resource, in spite of the negativity. If you like tinkering with cars the Fiero is a great candidate.

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rednotdead
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Report this Post06-09-2015 08:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rednotdeadClick Here to Email rednotdeadSend a Private Message to rednotdeadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by SuperDuty455:

I've driven one a few years ago, a 1985 GT V6 manual, and I wasn't really impressed but the car had seen better days so it wouldn't be fair to judge all Fieros based on this experience.


How fast were you able to take it? My impression is that the Fiero handles much better at speed than in normal driving. Driving through a neighborhood without power steering, you can definitely feel the weight, but the stability of the car is amazing when you really need it.

The first Fiero I tested was almost an identical situation: 85 GT manual in questionable condition. I too walked away feeling like it was a bit of a letdown - I remember feeling that my Honda hatch was so infinitely more joyful to toss around. Bought an 88 Formula despite this (Id wanted a Fiero for not 100% "legitimate" reasons) and have come to appreciate the strengths of the car.
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Report this Post06-09-2015 08:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cyrus88Send a Private Message to cyrus88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you need convincing then don't buy it. You either like the car or you don't.
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Jason88Notchie
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Report this Post06-09-2015 08:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jason88NotchieClick Here to Email Jason88NotchieSend a Private Message to Jason88NotchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I know you are out of range for an 88 right now, but the 88s were completely redesigned and is the best year. Hold any judgment until you drive one.
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Report this Post06-09-2015 10:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tsharkSend a Private Message to tsharkEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have only had a few Fieros, and a Fiero isn't for everyone. I recommend going for a twisty highway drive in a nice one, then deciding. Either it puts the silly grin on your face, or you move on. You have to have a passion for the car. It will, at times, exasperate and annoy you. Your attitude toward the car will probably dictate if you take this in stride or crush the car. For example, your friends may have names for you that you wouldn't tolerate from them, if they weren't your friends. Think ”Grumpy Old Men”.

I'd wait for a year and get an '86 notchie. Certainly go with a V6. All the recall issues should be fixed. The '86 SE 2m6 has the most parts compatibility and least issues. You could wait for an '87 to get the gen 2 headlights and larger fuel tank, but may as well do the swap on an '86. The gen 2 headlight control modules are expensive to find. GT tail lights in good condition are also expensive. The upgraded suspension on the '88 is good, if it is in new condition. Yes, the bump-steer and some other issues are annoying, but and year Fiero with good suspension is fine for a nice drive. Most should have/have had their suspension replaced, by now.

That having been said, I have had both the notchie and fastback models. I currently have an '88 GT.

[This message has been edited by tshark (edited 06-09-2015).]

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Report this Post06-10-2015 10:48 AM Click Here to See the Profile for KitskaboodleClick Here to Email KitskaboodleSend a Private Message to KitskaboodleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wasn't really impressed driving an 85 GT manual? Ya, I know it may have been a little rough around the edges but it still would have been a good "representative example" of what Fiero's are all about. IF you're going to be happy at all in the Fiero world, you should probably hold out for a 86-88 GT manual. (Yes, I know your in France)

By the way, I could tell by your 1st post that you question Fiero reliability. I have been into Fiero's since 2004 and I can tell you they are quite reliable "for an American car". (when properly maintained) Both my GTs have +150K miles now and rarely have problems. There are a few Fiero-specific problems that come with any used Fiero (headlight motors, gauge issues, etc) but once you iron these out, they are quite reliable. PLEASE be aware of this fact : Used Fieros tend to have a lot of "little" issues (maybe more so than your average used American car) because 95% of them got more abuse than a red headed stepchild! When you see a Fiero ad that says it has charm and character but needs "TLC", it's trashed!
Kit
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Report this Post06-10-2015 01:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Buying any 10+ year old car is going to have a risk in terms of reliability. Especially if you're only looking at the cheaper cars that have more miles or haven't been as well cared for.

If you don't want to deal with having to repair things yourself, lease a brand new car with a warranty. If you buy an older car without a warranty, then there's a much greater chance you're going to find yourself having to fix things more often.
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Report this Post06-10-2015 01:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by zzzhuh:

I agree with what most people are saying.

The 84' is the worst year to buy. Not to offend anyone, but the first production year of any car usually has faults that future cars don't have.

An 88 would be your best bet, but if that isn't available try to find a GT. The look is awesome and the handling is so precise. A Firebird is a great car, but they are big compared to Fieros. If you want an American sports car that is cheap, and handles great compared to muscle cars, go with the Fiero. If you want an expensive american sports car, go with a corvette.


Eh. I'd hardly call Corvettes expensive, unless you're talking about pristine numbers matching pre-bubble-glass Vettes, or newer ones. Late C3s and the C4 can be had ridiculously cheap. C5s can be had pretty inexpensively too. C6 are still up there in terms of price, and C7 are of course brand new still. Vettes are also pretty cheap to maintain, outside of insurance and fuel. If you want an expensive American sports car, buy a Viper or Ford GT.
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zzzhuh
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Report this Post06-10-2015 02:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zzzhuhSend a Private Message to zzzhuhEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:


Eh. I'd hardly call Corvettes expensive, unless you're talking about pristine numbers matching pre-bubble-glass Vettes, or newer ones. Late C3s and the C4 can be had ridiculously cheap. C5s can be had pretty inexpensively too. C6 are still up there in terms of price, and C7 are of course brand new still. Vettes are also pretty cheap to maintain, outside of insurance and fuel. If you want an expensive American sports car, buy a Viper or Ford GT.


Compared to Fiero prices (at least in my state) C4's and C5 are in the 8-12K range. That is a lot considering I bought my GT for 2K.

I would easily buy a Ford GT if I had the money. That and of course a Pantera.... But you could always use an 1/8th of that money and make a Fiero faster.

[This message has been edited by zzzhuh (edited 06-10-2015).]

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Report this Post06-10-2015 05:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DJWINNISend a Private Message to DJWINNIEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hi!!

I could write in French as I'm also from France, but it wouldn't be fair for our Fiero members!

The Fiero is (for me) a car that you love at first sight!
You cannot learn to love the Fiero!

I purchased mine (86 SE, V6, 4 Spd Manual) 14 years ago now!!
I was 19 and immediately loved the car!!

Restored it during 6 years, and driving it since and still love her!!!
For me, the Fiero is an unique car, with unique fiero enthusiasts, on this unique Fiero forum!

As some members mentioned it, like all +10 years cars, you would have to fix some parts now and then... But if it has always been taken care of, it's a very reliable car!!

For parts, even being in France, I still use eBay and TFS!

Good luck!

------------------
Christophe - 1986 Pontiac Fiero - V6 2.8l - 4 Spd Man
Eibach lowered / Stainless perf Exhaust

[This message has been edited by DJWINNI (edited 06-10-2015).]

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Jason88Notchie
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Report this Post06-10-2015 06:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jason88NotchieClick Here to Email Jason88NotchieSend a Private Message to Jason88NotchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by DJWINNI:

Hi!!

I could write in French as I'm also from France, but it wouldn't be fair for our Fiero members!

The Fiero is (for me) a car that you love at first sight!
You cannot learn to love the Fiero!

I purchased mine (86 SE, V6, 4 Spd Manual) 14 years ago now!!
I was 19 and immediately loved the car!!

Restored it during 6 years, and driving it since and still love her!!!
For me, the Fiero is an unique car, with unique fiero enthusiasts, on this unique Fiero forum!

As some members mentioned it, like all +10 years cars, you would have to fix some parts now and then... But if it has always been taken care of, it's a very reliable car!!

For parts, even being in France, I still use eBay and TFS!

Good luck!

You guys should talk. Not sure on the car scene in France, but from what I figure you both have a good knowledge of car restoration. American cars in particular. Kinda rare in that part of the world I would think.
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pokeyfiero
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Report this Post06-10-2015 08:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pokeyfieroClick Here to visit pokeyfiero's HomePageClick Here to Email pokeyfieroSend a Private Message to pokeyfieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I wouldn't get the 84 for even free.

You will never be happy with it just because it is so underpowered.

I personally have 88s but they are parts specific cars and maybe an 87 is your best bet.
So you have to wait a bit to put it on the road. You need time to work on it anyway.

Try and find something nicer than a coupe also.


I think most anything that does go wrong will fit in a box with a stamp from America so not too much to worry about I think.
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Report this Post06-10-2015 09:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Neils88Click Here to Email Neils88Send a Private Message to Neils88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by busa_powered:

i really don't care for threads like this.


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Report this Post06-12-2015 09:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by DJWINNI:

Hi!!

I could write in French as I'm also from France, but it wouldn't be fair for our Fiero members!

The Fiero is (for me) a car that you love at first sight!
You cannot learn to love the Fiero!

I purchased mine (86 SE, V6, 4 Spd Manual) 14 years ago now!!
I was 19 and immediately loved the car!!

Restored it during 6 years, and driving it since and still love her!!!
For me, the Fiero is an unique car, with unique fiero enthusiasts, on this unique Fiero forum!

As some members mentioned it, like all +10 years cars, you would have to fix some parts now and then... But if it has always been taken care of, it's a very reliable car!!

For parts, even being in France, I still use eBay and TFS!

Good luck!


Ah French, a romantic language. Wished I knew it. Love to listen to it.
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Report this Post06-13-2015 12:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by pokeyfiero:

I wouldn't get the 84 for even free.


You might be surprised... The 84 is not THAT different from the other years. Only minor electrical differences which are more or less trivial. There are WAY more differences between the 87 and the 88 then there are between the 84 and 85, ie. Suspension, brakes, Wheels and tires, just to name a few.

All the 4 cylinders are slow and the autos even slower, but they are still fun little cars and fun to drive. If you are swapping engines the trivial differences in the wiring are not that difficult to overcome.
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Report this Post06-13-2015 06:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cebixSend a Private Message to cebixEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Parts in Europe for the most part are just unavailable or expensive (because people import them from USA and want to make a profit - it's better usually to just get an order from RockAuto or Rodney Dickman). Some stuff fits from European GM cars (80's Opel/90'sDaewoo mostly) - like ignition coils/caps/rotors/pickup coils. Couldn't find original wires though and plugs were a chase too. 300 TBI for the Duke is unavailable - nothing European uses it. The 700 though is pretty common under the name ABIMEX (Opel mostly). This TBI was only in 87-88 dukes though.

Suspension and steering parts-wise - only an order from USA is an option (toast to Rodney Dickman for quality parts). Nothing that was available here used the Duke or the V6 (maybe some Firebirds were sold here?).

Considering that still the parts aren't expensive compared to older European cars. I have an '85 duke auto and around town it's hard to beat. Good on fuel, comfortable, traffic is no problem (need to maintain your cooling system properly). It begs for a 4th gear on the highway though but is still good on fuel driving around 100-110 km/h. Definitely not a fast car.

The best thing is the driving position and the handling. 50/50 front/rear weight ratio or very close (even tire pressure all around recommended, only one jack slot on either side of the car - at the center, you jack up the whole side).

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Bruce
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Report this Post06-14-2015 12:11 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BruceClick Here to Email BruceSend a Private Message to BruceEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I bought an '86 GT in 1997. I paid $2900 for it and have invested a lot of money in general repairs, tires, brakes, stereo upgrades, and the like. I've never regretted any of the expenditures, because I like the feel, sound, and looks of the car.
Just be sure that you are aware that there is going to be some (maybe a lot) of service needed to keep up with the 30 years of wear and tear. Going in with your eyes and pocket book wide open, you need to consider if it's worth your time and investment.
In my case, I would never sell my Fiero, since it still looks and drives like a poor man's sportscar (even thought $15000 new in 86 was a lot), and it's fun to zip around in it on the weekend. I don't use it as a daily driver, so someone else will have to comment on that aspect of owning any Fiero.
Good luck!
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