The Pontiac Fiero may be affordable forever

1986 Pontiac Fiero GT front 3/4

The Pontiac Fiero lives in a strange space. A sporty, small, two-seater that stands as a constant reminder of what could have been. The spritely handling matched its looks, but a penny-pinching development team saddled the early version with the “Iron Duke” four-cylinder. Its modest 92 horsepower made driving more of a leisurely experience than an exhilarating one. Later versions added a 140-hp V-6, which elevated performance to match the redesigned aero bodywork, but the car always struggled to shake its initial reputation. It compared well to other mid-engine small cars of the time, including the Fiat X1/9 and Toyota MR2, but that didn’t seem to save it.

In current times, the somewhat roomy and decidedly fun-to-drive Fiero seems to struggle in a market flooded with affordable comparable cars like the Mazda Miata and Toyota MR2. The Fiero has never escaped the realm of affordable fun, with a median #2-condition value of $7300 10 years ago; today that same condition sits at $7000. A small climb from $7200 to $7900 took place between January 2015 and May 2016, only to return to $7000 from May 2017 to January 2018.

1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula engine
1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula interior
1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula profile
Mecum
1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula

The best-performing Fieros in the market are 1988 GT coupe models. That final production year saw in improved suspension to make that model the best of the breed, and prices reflect it, with #2-condition values at $13,400. Despite being the most valuable model, even the ’88 GT coupe has seen a 5.6-percent dip over the last two years, although the 1984–86 base models took a larger hit with a drop of 12.5 percent in the same time.

One factor in the overall decrease across is the market continues to be flush with options to buy. The 12-month average of cars coming to auction sits at 25 cars from mid-2017 to mid-2018, meaning a buyer has little incentive to buy when there will always be another opportunity in the near future. Further evidence of a slight drop in top-tier prices is the high mark for a Fiero sold in 2018 was $11,550 for a 2100-mile 1985 GT coupe. Looking just a few years back to 2015 shows the highest auction price paid was $18,360 for a 1500-mile 1985 GT coupe.

Where will the Fiero go from here? All signs point to: not far. The Pontiac two-seater seemed to have a small day in the sun in 2015–16, but the initial knock in its reputation seems to have had a lasting effect. If prices do rise in the future, it will likely be only a modest increase. If you’ve been thinking about picking one up, go for it. Just don’t plan to flip it for big profits in the future. Maybe just enjoy the unique mid-engine car for what it is good at—driving.