Horrible Headliner: 1984 Pontiac Fiero 17K Survivor – $14,500

by | May 2024 | Malaise Monday

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In 1984, $7,999 might as well have been one million dollars.  At least for me, personally. Why? In 1984 Pontiac introduced their new mid-engine, two-seat Fiero for a base price of $7,999 and I wanted one:

Red 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 For Sale

Alas, I was a poor college student working part-time in 1984. Test-driving several Fieros at different local dealerships did not help.  While I was not impressed with the handling and the complete lack of power from the car’s “Iron Duke” 2.5 Liter Inline-four cylinder engine, the fact it was a great looking car capable of 40 mpg highway appealed to me.  The plastic body panels that could not rust also appealed to my sensibilities.  Unfortunately, factoring in destination and taxes quickly meant a new 1984 Fiero would cost me close to nine large, and as hard as I tried, there was no way I could swing a $ 175-a-month car payment and $ 100-a-month insurance as a twenty-year-old college student working at a grocery store making $4.35 an hour.

Fast forward forty years, and this Red 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2m4 Sport Coupe for sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Boonton, New Jersey, in May 2024, has all of the emotions from that time popping back into my head.  This survivor-quality example, with just over 17K original miles, is the exact spec I was trying to rationalize for my limited budget.  Fieros were the “it” car to buy in 1984, so naturally, it was virtually impossible to find a base model with steel wheels for the $7,999 base price. Most Fieros that first year were slightly upgraded SE models such as this car, which upgraded the car to cast aluminum wheels and a more aggressive axle ratio that dropped the highway fuel mileage to around 30 mpg.

Some say you should not meet your heros, and I’m sure the 60-year-old-me of today will not enjoy the tractor-like performance this 1984 Pontiac Fiero as much as the 20-year-old me was trying to rationalize four decades ago. The economy-car like handling aside, I still would not mind adding this Fiero to my fantasy garage, as it would take me back to what was a very cool time in my youth.  That really is the essence of why many long for the cars of their youth; it takes them back to a simpler time that for many was a lot of fun.

Currently offered for $14,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s one-year results for all 1984 Pontiac Fieros. However, we do not that many of the results shown in this guide are for desirable pace car editions from that first year.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $11,000. Similarly, the Online Old Cars Weekly Price Guide confirms a similar valuation. The premium requested here is for the extremely low mileage survivor quality, but time will tell whether someone is willing to pay that much for what is a slightly better-than-base model Fiero

The 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4, a groundbreaking vehicle by General Motors, marked a significant departure from traditional American automotive design. As the first mid-engined sports car produced by an American manufacturer, the Fiero combined innovation with practicality, creating a unique driving experience for its time.

The Pontiac Fiero’s design was heavily influenced by the need to balance performance with fuel efficiency, reflecting the economic and environmental concerns of the early 1980s. The 1984 Fiero 2M4 base model sported a sleek, aerodynamic body that starkly contrasted the bulkier designs of many of its contemporaries. The Fiero’s body panels were made from a dent-resistant composite material called Enduraflex, which was both lightweight and durable. This material contributed to the car’s overall weight reduction, enhancing fuel efficiency and performance.

The Fiero 2M4 featured a low-slung, wedge-shaped profile, with pop-up headlights that added a touch of sportiness. The car sat on 13-inch steel wheels, which, while not particularly large, were adequate for its compact size and intended use. The base model did not come with the more aggressive styling cues seen in later versions, such as the GT, but it maintained a clean and purposeful look.

Under the hood, the 1984 Fiero 2M4 housed a 2.5-liter inline-four engine, commonly called the “Iron Duke.” This engine produced a modest 92 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque, which, while not particularly powerful, was sufficient for the car’s lightweight structure and commuter-focused intent. The engine was mated to a standard 4-speed manual transmission, with a 3-speed automatic available as an option. The manual transmission allowed drivers to maximize the available power and enjoy a more engaging driving experience.

The mid-engine layout was one of the Fiero’s most innovative features, contributing to a balanced weight distribution and improved handling dynamics. The car’s suspension system, consisting of a front independent setup with MacPherson struts and a rear independent setup with coil springs and semi-trailing arms, provided a comfortable yet responsive ride. Despite its modest power, the Fiero’s agile handling and balanced chassis made it a joy to drive on winding roads.

Inside, the 1984 Fiero 2M4 offered a functional and driver-focused cabin. The interior was designed with ergonomics in mind, featuring well-placed controls and a clear, straightforward instrument cluster. The bucket seats were comfortable and provided adequate support for spirited driving. The base model’s interior was relatively spartan, with standard features including cloth upholstery, a basic AM/FM radio, and manual windows and locks. Higher trim levels and later models would introduce luxurious options, but the 2M4 base model prioritized simplicity and affordability.

The Fiero also included a unique feature for its time: a space frame chassis. This design allowed the car to have interchangeable body panels, which made repairs easier and less costly. The space frame provided structural rigidity and enhanced safety, improving the car’s overall durability.

Upon its release, the 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 received mixed reviews. Enthusiasts praised its innovative design, mid-engine layout, and handling characteristics, while critics pointed out its lack of power and the initial quality control issues that plagued early production models. Despite these criticisms, the Fiero quickly gained a dedicated following, particularly among those who appreciated its unique approach and potential for customization.

The 1984 Fiero 2M4’s significance extends beyond its immediate impact on the automotive market. It paved the way for future American mid-engine sports cars and demonstrated that American manufacturers could produce vehicles that were both innovative and efficient. Over the years, the Fiero has become a beloved classic, with a strong enthusiast community dedicated to preserving and enhancing these iconic cars.

The 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 base model stands as a testament to General Motors’ ingenuity and forward-thinking during a time of significant change in the automotive industry. Its unique design, mid-engine layout, and balanced performance made it a standout vehicle of its era, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to be celebrated by car enthusiasts today.

The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel provides this 1984 test drive of the then-new Pontiac Fiero:

The only noticeable flaw on this otherwise like-new survivor quality 1984 Pontiac Fiero for sale is the car’s sagging headliner.  That is a cumbersome but relatively easy fix, and once complete, you’ll own a low-mileage 40-year-old time machine that could like earn you an Antique Automobile Club of America (“AACA”) “Junior” preservation award as well as admiring comments at any local car show you elect to display the car at.

If you are serious about buying this Fiero, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their mid-engined Pontiac featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Thanks for looking. NO E-MAILS, NO TEXTS! I’m listing this car for a friend of mine, John. Call him. PLEASE DON’T CONTACT ME. 1984 Pontiac Fiero: 4cyl, 4 speed, A/C, power windows and mirrors. This is a lovely example in almost like-new condition. John purchased it from the estate of the original owner. (If someone keeps a car for that long, you know they liked owning it.) Recent service includes a new fuel pump and front brake calipers. The car is located in Boonton. Call John. Cheers!

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2m4 for sale for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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