During the fuel crunch of the late 1970’s and gas prices that doubled to just about a buck a gallon GM saw a niche to be filled. A super light weight commuter car with sporty lines. First shown on the auto show circuit as a “Banshee” the car was sufficiently neutered and cobbled with an anemic “Iron Duke” 4cyl capable of giving great MPG and hit the road in 1984 as the Pontiac Fiero. First year sales of 136,000 units showed promise but quickly dropped off.
Concurrent to the launch of the Fiero was Toyota’s MR2. Similar niche but Toyota took the high road and went for a high fun to drive factor with good mileage. They had the better idea and soon kicked the Fiero into the dirt. Production ceased in 1990 with 26,000 units, the MR2 remains in production and is in its fourth generation.
One more pick and a little more info after the jump.
The drive-train may have been borrowed from a front driver and tricky engineered for a rear engine application but that was not the legacy left us with the Fiero. The innovative engineering came in the use of plastic body panels that made it possible to significantly reduce weight and allow rapid style changes to the car. The Fiero may have died an early death, but the legacy of the plastic paneled car was applied to the Saturn line up when it was launched in 1990.
Pic by me with the trusty phone cam.