Pontiac had long pined for a two-seat sports car, only to be rejected by GM management on the grounds that such a car would compete too closely with the Corvette. But as fuel efficiency became a compelling issue in the late 1970s, engineer Hulki Aldikacti successfully pitched management a plastic-body, mid-engine two-seater. The key was that it wasn’t a sports car, but a cute little fuel sipper for cost-conscious commuters. “It was kind of a backdoor car,” explains Gregg Peterson, an engineer for Pontiac at the time. To avoid raising any suspicions at the corporate level, official drawings of the car showed only a four-cylinder engine aft of the rear seats. “But in every drawing we made sure a V-6 would fit,” says Peterson.
Read more at http://www.automobilemag.com/features/collectible_classic/1602-collectible-classic-1984-1988-pontiac-fiero/
My thoughts about the car? I owned one, a 1986 GT model, without the rear spoiler. I had no mechanical issues during my ownership of it. It was a well-rounded two-seater, with decent power, good handling, and good aural characteristics. I was impressed with the facts that it had mass (ie, it wouldn’t just disappear in a crash), there was ample interior space, it had a small but very deep trunk in the rear of the vehicle and I still had space enough in the vehicle to throw two sub-woofer boxes behind the seats. Many people nowadays measure vehicles by how much power their engines produce. I don’t think anyone in the 80s era expected this car to be an over-achiever. It was good for what it was. It’s a pity the car died after only 4 years of production, as the last versions were very good.
It is indeed a classic…and no, not all cars reach classic status. All cars age, but not all become memorable.