PONTIAC FIERO – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed
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PONTIAC FIERO – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

– This is the story of
a car so groundbreaking and unconventional that
Guy Fieri changed his name in its honor. Before that, he was known as Steve Fieri. It’s America’s only mass
produced mid-engine car, until next year. Perhaps the most 80’s
looking car ever built. And it might have caught
on fire one or two times. Get your plastic body
panels, blocky GM interiors, and fiberglass body kits ready because this is everything
you need to know to get up to speed on the Pontiac Fiero. Visionaries at General Motors
had been trying to build a sports car like the Fiero for decades. But they were blocked at every turn. Back when Chevy was designing
the Stingray Corvette, lead designer Zora Arkus-Duntov had plans for the car to be mid-engine, much like the European
cars that inspired it. But GM squashed that idea. Shortly after that, John
DeLorean was working on one Pontiac project that
would take off, the GTO. He was assisted by a young
man named Hulki Aldikacti. This was the dude who would
later lead the Fiero team. Guys, I’m really bad at pronouncing names. I’m doing a GM car, and I
got to say a dude’s name that’s really hard to pronounce. The young designers who
thought up the Fiero concept were a new breed. They were scrappy and wanted to build some really cool stuff. Now this was a problem
because the bigwigs at GM were a bunch of dinosaur (bleep) squares who didn’t really like
building cool stuff. You see, by the late 70’s, muscle cars were basically all gone and GM management was
content with sitting back and selling cars by virtue of being the biggest manufacturer in the world. That’s called brand recognition. You know how Beats by Dre
aren’t even that good, but everyone buys them anyway? Brand recognition. Coasting on brand recognition
was going pretty well for GM until overseas rivals
like VW, Honda, and Toyota started building factories in the US before the US automakers
were protected by tariffs. GM management was getting scurred. They were losing sales
to foreign competitors, and their old doctrine
wasn’t gonna change that. It was time to build some new stuff, some cool new stuff. – Maybe those guys down at
Pontiac have some ideas. – Maybe, are you gonna
finish your applesauce? – No, you can have it. – Where are we? – We’re at GM. We’re making the cars. – Oh. – The team first pitched the Fiero as an Italian inspired sports car with blistering performance to match, an American stiletto
worthy of sharing a garage with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, GM didn’t think so. They didn’t have the cash for that. GM management told them that they needed something fuel-efficient. The gas crisis had taken its toll, and buyers wanted a car
that would get good mileage. To lead the project, GM grabbed
our friend Hulki and said. – Here, you do this now. – Hulki’s leadership style
was unconventional within GM. It was typical for car engineers
to send over blueprints only to have them sent back
by the manufacturing guys with notes like. – This literally cannot be
built with today’s technology. – And then a project would die. Hulki didn’t want that. That would make Hulki angry. And you wouldn’t like
him when Hulki’s angry. Speaking of Hulki, how about
Hulki smash that like button? For the first time at GM, the Fiero team would be
a single group of car and manufacturing engineers
working side by side. Management set the
budget cap for the car’s entire development at 400 million dollars. Now that sounds like a lot, but in the auto manufacturing
world, it’s not. This tiny budget would be the source of every problem in the Fiero’s lifespan. To save money on development, the Fiero would use pieces from GM’s extensive parts catalog. The front suspension was
borrowed from the Chevy Chevette. And the rear suspension was
repurposed front suspension from the Pontiac Phoenix
mounted backwards. Originally, the Fiero was
devised with an all-aluminum, high compression V6. But because of their budget,
that was out of the question. To get an engine, the team had to dive back into the parts
bin like Scrooge McDuck. What they dragged out was a GM standby, the Iron Duke Inline Four. As the name suggests,
the engine block and head were both made of iron. It had fairly low compression, and it didn’t really like to be wrung out. Not exactly what you want in a sports car. But just because Hulki and the Fiero team had to borrow a few parts, don’t think for a second that
they weren’t gonna try to innovate a little. The Fiero space frame
was a tubular chassis made of 280 separate pieces of steel, weighing in at just 600 pounds. What made the Fiero different though is that the body work was unstressed and made of a new material called plastic. Oh, and um, I almost forgot. ♪ Pop, pop, pop up up
and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop, pop, pop, pop. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ Finally after five years of development, the Pontiac Fiero went on
sale for the 1984 model year. Despite the less than
ideal parts bin suspension, critics praised the
Fiero’s mid-engine balance, even saying that the car
felt like it was on rails, which is like the best thing
that journalists can think of to describe a car that handles well. The upgraded Fiero SE had
stiffer springs and shocks as well as sticky Goodyear Eagle GT tires. The Iron Duke engine was
underpowered, to say the least, pumping out a paltry 92
hrsprs and 134 tuercks. However, the Iron Duke
did deliver on the promise of good fuel economy with
an independently confirmed 50 mile per gallon highway rating. That’s insane. Most cars today can’t do
that, including hybrids. But the good mileage couldn’t hide one of the Iron Duke’s fatal flaws. In its stock configuration,
the tall oil pan meant the engine sat too high in the engine bay, which dramatically raised the
Fiero’s center of gravity. To remedy this, the team
engineered a new oil pan that was about an inch shorter. This solved the engine placement problem but created a new one, the
engine ran with less oil. Now I’m no expert, but one thing I know about
engines, they need oil. Now this wasn’t a problem if you kept up on regular maintenance. Every car burns a little bit of oil as you’re driving around. But since the Fiero was
already running at a deficit, once enough oil had burned away, the resulting friction
created a ton of heat. Combine this with smaller
problems like oil and coolant leaking onto the super hot exhaust center, and you have a recipe for engine fires. – [Man] Burning Fiero. – AutoWeek magazine reported
that roughly 20% of 1984 Fieros experienced an engine fire. I’m no mathemagician, but 20%
of your cars catching on fire is way too many of your
cars catching on fire. I just want to point out that a car that kept catching
on fire was named the Fiero, which is Italian for a
car that catches on fire. In 1985, 10 years before
Post Malone was born, the Fiero got the V6 engine it deserved, which allowed it to perform
more closely to how it looked. No longer was the Fiero just a commuter but a sportier commuter. The beefier 2.8 liter V6
made a decent 140 horsepowers and was bolted and nutted to a four speed manual transmission. The next year, Pontiac
released the Fiero GT. It had an upgraded Getrag design, Muncie built five speed power disc brakes at all four corners, sick
diamond spoke wheels, dual exhaust (grunts), and
completely revised body work that made the Fiero look
like a little bit Ferrari. If your stepdad’s name is Dwayne and his favorite band is Boston, this is his dream car. In 1987, GM finally
recalled all those 84 Fieros that were catching fire. Pontiac had to repair 125,000 cars to make sure that none of
them would catch fire again. Just as it was getting good, the large scale recall
cast the Fiero’s reputation into the shadow of flames forever. The recall was just in time
for the release of the revised 1988 Fiero GT. Instead of parts bin suspension, the GT finally had the setup the Fiero team had been fighting
for since the beginning. The front had completely
redesigned control arms that made it easier to steer, and in the rear was a
super legit tri link setup. The engine also received a balanced crank, which made it more efficient and gave it smoother power delivery. Unfortunately, the GT’s
final form wasn’t enough. 1988 was the last year
for Fiero production. Since then, the Fiero has experienced a rebirth from the ashes,
Fiero to phoenix rising from the grave, not from the assembly line but from the blood and
sweat of enthusiasts all over the country. While some people remember the Fiero with engine fire memes
and unfair stereotypes, it’s important to
acknowledge that the Fiero is easily one of GM’s
most groundbreaking cars. If they had given Pontiac enough money to build it correctly from the beginning, we would definitely
remember it differently. – Okay that was good. ♪ Pop pop pop pop up up
and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down headlights. ♪ ♪ Pop pop pop pop. ♪ I love you.

100 thoughts on “PONTIAC FIERO – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

  1. So did this episode change your mind at all on the Fiero? Is it under-rated? Over-rated? Still a fire hazard? Let me know! If you've owned one, I want to hear about it! If you want one now…I wanna hear about it!

  2. I lol'd at the thumbnail because the Fiero actually caught on fire on some models but I totally loved how it looks, put a 200+hp and 5+speed tranny and turbo or super charger in it and it'll sing!

  3. The American addition of Initial D, instead of an AE86, young Jimmy drives his dad's 88 Fiero GT, for his dad's pizza joint, or Todoroke has to face a foreign kid and the mysterious American car

  4. So what you're saying is history is repeating itself? The "Car Gurus" at GM tricked moronic GM execs to bring back the Pontiac Fiero as the rebadged Corvette C8? #MindBlown

  5. I just started watching this channel a week or so ago and I just got to say, I FRIKKIN LUV EM! U BOYZ N GALZ IS LIT N MAKE SUM SPICEY VIDZ!

  6. You can learn everything you ever need to know about GM by the fact that Fierro translates too "proud" and they built it using leftover parts…

  7. Everything on this channel prior to 5:15 was leading to this climax and everything after 5:31 can only be downhill. The universe simply will not allow anything greater from here.

  8. What the hell, bro' ? You said Hulki's name CORRECTLY! Taa Daa! Only 134 cars had genuine fires(almost all 1984 models). The others (the 20% you spoke of) showed mechanical symptoms of pre-fire conditions, CAUSED by poor component design and inferior manufactured engine parts, I might add, SUPPLIED TO PONTIAC FROM CHEVROLET!!! Chevy hated the design, saw it as competition to the Vette, and asshole GM corporate (dick)Head Roger Smith concurred, cutting Pontiac's budget for new styling, interior mods, and bigger, better engines for the '88 model year. Instead, all the Fiero got was balance shafts for the Iron Duke, AND the Pontiac designed( but Lotus-inspired) suspension units, front and rear, and steering system upgrades. Aaargh.

  9. The EPA ratings at the time were grossly overstated, so that 50 mpg's you quote, on a good day will be in the mid 30's. The Iron Duke was not very fuel efficient when compared to other 4 cylinder engines of the day. When you look it up on the EPA site using todays calculations you get 29 to 33 highway and 21 city!

  10. Can you guys edit the pop up and down headlights part because i watch it almost daily and think you guys should get that credit rightfully

  11. XD he does the pop up up and down headlights bit and knows it will go a little viral so he then mocks the audience for it

  12. My 84 fiero SE was fine until the dealer fucked it up with the oil pan recall. The moron knocked loose the sending unit and 50 miles after i got it back i had "catastrophic oil failure" . They dicked me around for 6 months until they agreed to put in a new engine. This time they pinched off a hot wire between the engine and frame, causing me to go through 27 ignition coils in 1 month. They wouldnt pay for it. Fuck GM.

  13. My uncle has one it’s grey and has a v6 turbo with a automatic trans, still trying to buy it off him though XD

  14. I fell in love with this car when i saw a video of an 85 rebuild and since then i have gone through copart and car gurus and i found my obtainable dream car it is in shakeapy MN with 21 thousand miles on it but it is almost 16000 dollars for it btw its a 1988 gt model year

  15. You know, when Apple is not really good, and the same crap year after year, but people still buy iPhones? Yup, Brand Recognition

  16. the engine fires were a result of a bad batch of connecting rods which failed in 1984 model cars, the rods would pierce a hole in the block when they broke and oil would leak over the hot exhaust resulting in a fire. I have owned 5 Fieros and its still my favorite car to this day

  17. GM: Biggest Car manufacturer in the world
    Also GM: We dont have the cash for any project that isnt a made with a set square

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