I own a 1985 Fiero coupe.
My car was the base model, 13" steel wheels, no trim rings,
185/80 X 13 tires, AM/FM cassette stereo and only a sunroof as an
option. This is a car begging for modification, and I feel no
guilt in answering this call.
There are times I am glad I do not
own an Indy, there is a car I would feel obligated to preserve as a
"historical footnote" in the Fiero story. An Indy would seem
too much like a responsibility, as if I had somehow been appointed
curator to some historical artifact. My 1985 is insignificant
enough to "improve".
rodders fall into two general categories which often overlap and are a
little "fuzzy" around the edges. The first group is made
up of the racers, their cars may look nearly stock and cosmetics are
often overlooked (sometimes "ratty" is an apt description).
The second group consists of the customizers to whom the look and sound
is everything. Between these two extremes are a lot of good
looking, fast cars. Fiero owners who have ventured away from
"stock" fall into all three of these descriptions.
rodders have always recognized an old car as a work in progress.
If you look hard at the hot rod movement you will find that it is all
about individuality. The typical hot rod is the product of one
person's imagination, it is the realization of one person's view of what
appeals to them in a car, it is a tangible extension of the personality
of that one individual. Many Fiero owners are firmly entrenched in
the hot rod mindset.
is a short checklist to see if you are indeed a hot rodder -slash-
customizer at heart:
Some of these apply only to racers, some only to customizers, some to
all, you decide where you fit.)
time you look at your car you want to change something.
the car sounds is more important to you than how fast it is. (We aren't
talking stereo here either, if it sounds right who needs a stereo
an engine wears out you are more likely to swap in something different
than to rebuild it.
don't really see the point of kit car bodies which turn Fieros into
Ferrari or Lamborghini since they represent someone else's ideas,
however, wide fender flares, chopped tops and wild paint jobs really
make you take notice.
you suddenly find yourself in the financial position to buy that new 911
or Corvette, you decide to spend it on modifications to your Fiero
instead, (and use anything left over for travelling expenses to get to
all the great shows).
engine looks like a surgical instrument, clean and shiny.
polish or paint everything that shows (and half of what doesn't).
realize that cross drilled rotors and painted calipers do not improve
your brakes but you get them anyway because they look right through
those alloy wheels.
have a full tubular steel suspension with poly bushings, coil over
shocks and big brakes, and the car still needs a paint job.
skip over "Car and Driver", "Motor Trend" and
"Road&Track" and instead buy "Hot Rod",
"Popular Hot Rodding" or even "European Car" since
they deal with modifying older cars rather than testing new ones.