2009 West Coast Fiero Meet
Although I don't own one, I recently attended my first Fiero club meet.
The Pontiac Fiero is a mid-engine sports car that was built by the Pontiac division of General Motors. Although not as rabid as the Fiat x1/9 crowd, there's a cult following for the Fiero as well. There were a number of "firsts" in the Fiero project. Some examples were it being the first two-seater for Pontiac since 1938. It was also the first mid-engine sports car to be mass-produced by a U.S. manufacturer. It was first in the heart of a number of magazine writers. This was demonstrated by Car and Driver magazine naming the Fiero to it's "Ten Best" list for 1984. The 1984 Fiero was also the Official Pace Car of the Indy 500 in 1984, beating out the then all new 1984 Corvette.
Unfortunately, there were some "seconds" as well. The first second was it's (lack of) power plant. It was originally powered by a hand-me-down GM engine called the "Iron Duke". By today's standards, the Iron Duke is underpowered and poorly designed. Some historians may wish to correct me by stating the original Fiero was actually powered by a GM Tech IV engine. I'll concede that point. The Iron Duke was an 85 HP, 2.5 liter, all iron (block and head), in-line four cylinder, with cam in block and whose two valves per cylinder were actuated by push rods. The Tech IV was an Iron Duke with fuel injection and another 10 HP. The next second was it's second-hand transmission. The original choices were a three speed automatic, or a four speed manual. Both of these units came from the Chevrolet Citation. The Citation was a 1980's, front wheel drive, four-cylinder, econobox. Along with using the Citation drivetrain, the original Fiero also used some of the Citation's front suspension parts - in the rear.
About now you may be wondering if I'm being facetious and really hate the car. I don't. My honesty may come across as somewhat brutal, but I don't hate the car. It's true that I don't care for the early models, but I like the later GTs.
I did't grow to like the Fiero. Pontiac fixed the things I did't like. Each year of production, Pontiac made numerous improvements. By the time Pontiac stopped production, the suspension, engines, and transmissions had all been improved. In fact, at the time it was discontinued, the Fiero was still selling well enough to show a profit. Production was stopped because GM forecasted lower demand for two-seater sports cars.
Despite the improvements, I think the Fiero could use a more power. Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be a problem.
Many current Fiero owners are replacing their Tech IV engines with the GM 2.2 liter ECOTEC. The 2.2 liter ECOTEC is a modern DOHC four-cylinder with four valves per cylinder. These engines typically produce 140 HP and 150 lb-ft of torque. The ECOTEC engines make as much power as the original Fiero V6.
The original Fiero V6 was a GM L44. The L44 is a 2.8 liter, 60 degree V6 with cam in block and a push rod actuated two valve per cylinder valve train. Some L44 owners are replacing them with the GM LQ1 engine. The LQ1 block will bolt in like a L44, but it's a very different engine. The LQ1 has what appears to be a modified L44 block with an entirely new top end.
The LQ1 is a 3.4 liter V6. It has aluminum cylinder heads with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It's crank uses a chain to drive an intermediate shaft, where the L44's camshaft resides. The intermediate shaft drives the oil pump. A belt from the intermediate shaft drives the four camshafts. In stock form, the LQ1 produced either 200 or 210 HP (low versus high compression pistons) and 215 lb-ft of torque.
If that's not enough power, other options are available. Some owners have installed Series II L67 engines. L67 engines are 3.8 liter, 90 degree V6's. The L67 has an Eaton M62 supercharger. They were rated at 205 HP for 1991-1993 engines, and 225 for 1994-1995 engines. The additional horsepower was gained by using a larger throttle body, roller rockers and epoxy coated supercharger rotors.
The photo of the blue 1987 GT with the red blower is an L67.
Other owners, those with an insatiable appetite for power, are bolting in Northstar or LS1 V8's.
There's even something for those who believe "Too much of a good thing is a good starting point." Well honed observers will notice the first few pictures are of a Fiero with a turbocharged Northstar V8.
Getting back to the event, West Coast Fiero in Tehachapi, California was our host. I'd like to take a minute to say, "Thank you for a good time."
West Coast Fiero has been in business since 1986. As the name implies, they specialize in Fieros.
Since Fiero production stopped over twenty years ago, the supply of performance parts has slowly dried up. West Coast Fiero has stepped in to fill that void.
Along with performing R&D to see what GM has that will work, West Coast Fiero fabricates parts. Transaxles are a good example. Earlier I mentioned a number of higher performance replacement engines. Most will devour the original equipment Isuzu five-speed. West Coast Fiero offers everything needed to install a five or six-speed NSX transaxle in it's place.
West Coast Fiero built the turbo'd Northstar in the opening photos. They were also working on the LS1 powered Fiero in the 10th photo.
© 2009 Marcus Blair Fitzhugh