This anniversary on Carspotting we went attractive for the acclaimed 1950s Studebaker that still parks on the artery on the Upper West Side. We didn’t acquisition it. But we did appear up on this pre-facelift Pontiac Fiero, one of the added absorbing cars that never gets its able due.
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There acclimated to be a car alleged a Pontiac Fiero. It was awful. Like a mid-engined Corvette with half…
(Welcome aback to Carspotting! It’s been a while but we’re aback with The Worst Walking Tour of New York City, headed by me, a drudge who is almost able to acquaint you how to get to the Empire State Building from here. We’re out to acquisition the best cars of the Big Apple.)
The Fiero is a adolescent of one of the added absorbing eras of the American auto industry. Approved in 1978 and developed in the deathwatch of the 1979 Oil Crisis, the additional of a decade afterwards the 1973 OPEC Embargo, it seemed like we would all aloof accept to acclimatize to a added deficient future. Cars of the backward 1970s on to the mid ‘80s accept this faculty of congenital thrift. The Fox Mustang. The downsized Chevy Caprice. The Chevy S-10. Lincolns with BMW agent engines.
“Anyone who thinks the activity crisis is acting or can be calmly solved,” the New York Times wrote in aboriginal 1981, wasn’t adverse the facts.
From this mindset we additionally got a new chic of car, in accession to added baby and abject cars from abounding manufacturers. We got the Sporty Driver Car. Included in that was the MR2, the CRX, and additionally the Fiero, which looks like a sports car but was additionally awash as basal transit. It fit as few bodies as analytic possible, with as baby an agent as analytic possible, in a amalgamation as ablaze and aerodynamic as possible. It was fun but angled as a burghal car in a pinch.
Aaron Severson, editor of Ate Up With Motor, wrote this excellent, well-researched history of…
The antecedent abstraction alike went afterwards 50 mpg, as Aaron Severson explained in his abundant and absolute history of the car republished to Jalopnik from Ate Up With Motor:
In 1978, Pontiac’s Advanced Engineering group, headed by Turkish-born Hulki Aldikacti, afresh proposed an bargain plastic-bodied sports car, akin to the long-defunct Banshee concept. The angle added a new wrinkle: a mid-engine drivetrain, article that was acceptable around de rigueur for austere sports cars.
New accepted administrator Robert Stempel and arch architect Robert Dorn, an ex-racer, both admired the idea, but they were not assured about its prospects. The association had ahead alone proposals for a mid-engine Corvette, and with ever-increasing federal emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, new sports cars were not on the menu. Bob Dorn acicular out, however, that if the two-seater could be congenital cheaply, with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, it could advice Pontiac accommodated its CAFE targets.
Late that year, Stempel and Dorn presented the abstraction to arch management, presenting it not as a sports car, but as a cheap, two-seat driver agent able of up to 50 afar to the gallon (4.7 L/100 km). The action worked, and the project, accepted as the P-car, accustomed basic approval — ironically, from Pete Estes, who had become admiral of Accepted Motors in September 1974. Bob Dorn assigned Hulki Aldikacti as the P-car’s activity administrator and arch engineer, and told him to proceed.
Over the years it would advance into a absolute sports car (just in time for GM to annihilate it off), but it stands as a adviser of an absorbing time, alike if it mostly got cut up to become affected Ferrari 308s.
And this one is double-interesting, as it’s not aloof a actual object, but a absolute New York Burghal car, as I am blessed to acquaint you, aloof like my two New York Burghal carspotting icons, Joe Formaggino and his accessory Joe Formaggino:
Please do adore this week’s episode, and break acquainted for added absolute New York Burghal cars.
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