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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Class of ‘86: Pontiac Fiero GT

Posted August 31, 2011 10:00 AM by dstrohl

When the Fiero hit the scene for the 1984 model year, Pontiac positioned it not as a sports car, but as an economical commuter. While it did serve as the pace car for the 1984 Indianapolis 500 and it did feature four-wheel disc brakes, the Fiero could only be had with four-cylinder power that year - the 92hp overhead-valve 2.5-liter Iron Duke. More power came the following year with the 130hp 2.8-liter V-6 that came standard in the new Fiero GT, which featured a sleeker fascia. For 1986, the back end of the Fiero GT caught up to the front end, styling-wise, with a new flying buttress roofline and rear end design that eliminated the wedge look that characterized the base Fiero.

And yet, two major drawbacks hampered the Fiero GT in 1986. First was the parts-bin-special front and rear suspension. The Fiero's design team ingeniously crafted a budget mid-engine car by simply taking the Chevrolet Citation's entire transverse engine cradle and front suspension, rotating it 180 degrees and dropping it into the rear of the Fiero, leaving the Fiero with a Chapman strut/ball-joint rear suspension and vestigial tie rods bolted to the engine cradle. Up front, Fiero's engineers simply slapped in a wider version of the Chevette front suspension with bigger brakes. It worked, and it was cheap, but purpose-designed front and rear suspensions wouldn't arrive until 1988. Second was the rash of engine fires that sparked (pun intended) an NHTSA investigation in the summer of 1986 that eventually led to recalls of every model year Fiero.

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