Homegrown: This Fiero-based Wedge Is No Flash in the Pan

1986 Pontiac Fiero Flash Project Custom Car front three quarter
Courtesy Bill Papke

Welcome to Homegrown—a limited series about homebuilt cars and the ingenuity of their visionary creators. Know a car and builder that might fit the bill? Send us an email to tips@hagerty.com with the subject line HOMEGROWN. Read about more Homegrown creations here. —Ed.

Hagerty member Bill Papke of Ada, Michigan, is a master of spending his retirement years wisely: His homegrown Raazer is a creative reimagination of Elon Musk’s Cybertruck. The “Flash” project featured here is Papke’s ambitious rethink of an ’86 Pontiac Fiero he purchased on eBay, wanting to add a sports car to his fleet.

In the interests of full disclosure, Flash is a collaborative effort rather than a one-man-at-home build: while the concept and design are all Papke, the ambitious task of reskinning the Fiero was handled by MTV Concepts in Micco, Florida.

Papke explains, “My automotive passions have always focused on exotic concepts, especially those with wedge shapes and knifelike leading edges. My collection includes both a replica of the Bertone Stratos Zero and one of the rare Vector W8s built by Jerry Wiegert.

“First, I sketched front, rear, top, and side views to explore how Flash could best exploit a fresh design. Then I used 1/24th-scale Fiero models to craft the new exterior. Modeling clay helped visualize what I had in mind. Upon completion of the three-dimensional model, I created CAD [computer-aided design] files which were used with CNC [computer numerical control] tools to shape the full-scale, high-density Styrofoam plug. Molds cast over the plug were used to make the final fiberglass panels.

“I hired Mike Vetter, owner of MTV Concepts in Florida, for the hands-on effort. This firm builds TV and movie vehicles from scratch and high-quality futuristic road cars. MTV’s remarkable Extra Terrestrial Vehicles have been sold to customers in Abu Dhabi, Canada, London, Germany, and the United States. I met Mike when I purchased his Slash sports car which combines a futuristic exterior with a C6 Corvette chassis and a 600-horsepower 6.2-liter LS3 V-8.

“Vetter and crew needed only 10 months to construct the full-sized plug, body-panel molds, and new fiberglass panels. They attached the custom panels to my stripped Fiero, applied Corvette Atomic Orange paint, and reupholstered my original bucket seats. New Vors aluminum wheels are fitted with P235/45R-18 Firestone radials.

“The rebody effort was expedited by keeping the original Fiero interior, glass, roof, inner door panels, and most of the rear hatch assembly. The Fiero’s 2.8-liter V-6 and five-speed transmission remain stock. The radiator had to be mounted much lower to accommodate my knife-edge front-end configuration. The front halogen lighting elements are supported by a concealed bar. The rear LED lights are normally found on pickup truck tailgates. Vetter made the Flash nameplate, which I designed, sparkle on cue in living color.”

Beyond the $4800 spent on the donor Fiero, Papke won’t reveal what Flash cost, but he is totally satisfied with the results.

“So far I’ve only driven my creation 250 or so miles to a few shows and cars and coffee gatherings. It always prompts the same burning question:  ‘What is it?’

“I believe my Flash design with hold up long term thanks to its sound basic proportions, overall simplicity, and elegant curves. I wouldn’t change a thing on this car. In other words, I’m ready to move on to the next Homegrown project.”




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    Dear wannabe designers. Please continue. I love seeing these exotic and daring designs. I am so sick of today’s cookie-cutter cars.

    Wannabe’s sit around having a beer with friends talking about the designs in their head, usually for years on end.
    Real designers actually build their vision.
    Dissers sit around having a beer with friends badmouthing the works of others, usually for years on end, but never really producing anything themselves.

    You may not like it, and it may in fact not be very good, but at least they actually did it.

    Dear critics. Learn skills for yourself. That way you will be too busy actually doing things than being critical of people that have the skills and talent to do things you can’t.

    I didn’t even read the article. I just scrolled down here to see Hyperv6s commentary (’cause it’s about a Fiero!). But nothing here – hope he’s okay! 😉

    PS – this is a light-hearted comment. Hyperv6 is a big-time contributor on this site and has a lot of good information in many of his posts. I think he can tolerate a little good-natured ribbing from time-to-time!

    It’s really great that you cared enough.
    I happen to enjoy your posts immensely.

    Thanks — you reminded me that we’re a Family.

    Proportions are a bit out of whack here.

    Too tall, The side window it too large and the nose is too thin and long for such a short wheel base.

    You are correct, and I was thinking the same thing. I get why the decision was made not to alter the windshield, roofline, and side glass, but that left the cabin standing too tall in proportion to the thin wedge front end. The nose extends unnecessarily far. The styling lines along the side provide interest and modernization. If the front and rear were trimmed and less pointy, they would balance the high cabin area better.

    A bit of Opel GT up front, with some Javelin aft.

    Yeah — all humans visually “project onto” things the images we already have stored: Jesus in toast, Mary in a cloud, Jacqueline Bissett in my apartment…

    This is one heckuv’an ambitious project, and it seems to be most successful!
    I hope she rides and runs as good as she looks.

    To each their own I guess. Front seems like a weird interpretation of a Fierrari 308 kit, and the back reminds me of a Seville’s bustle rear end.

    It is like the Ferrari kits for the Fiero. If they are scaled right they look great. If they are scaled wrong they are a bloody mess.

    It’s a bit off to me. I do wonder if this would act like a wing at high speed with that narrow pointy front end. Also are those lights street legal?

    Modern engineering can do amazing work to eliminate the need for air dams, spoilers, etc. Reference the Maserati MC20. Of course, that requires lots of engineering and computer modeling work and wind testing that we can all be sure did not occur here. 🙂 It’s probably best if no driver of this car ever says, “Let’s see how fast this baby can go!” 😆

    I don’t know i really like the look of this design. I have seen many creations from MTV those guys are artists. You have to agree on that end. I know a Fiero would not be my chose either but i like the look of the finial product.

    Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Bill, BIG props for coming up with an idea and MAKING IT HAPPEN. Thanks for sharing your project.

    I love the effort. It’s a little too duck billed in the front for me but I’ll give you my address when you’re tired of it. I think it would have made a cool Porsche 904 concept. Kudos to your project 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. Drive it often and keep them guessing.

    I tend to agree with most of the comments, both for and against, but like the man said we appreciate Bill’s expressing his vision. The before and after shots of the Fiero completely justify the exercise. Fieros were not bad looking cars to begin with but they reflected the GM styling cliche of the committee-designed car (see Camaro, 1967).

    For contrast check out Caravaggio Corvettes’ Unica Series 1 rebody. Their interpretation significantly cleans up the side view and declutters the front and rear while mitigating the controversial (read: ugly) taillights.

    Thanks again to Bill Papke for following through on his dream and sharing it with the rest of us.

    Kudos to Bill P. for seeing this project through to the end. Well done. This is a giant task to get this design from a napkin sketch to CAD to foam to body panels. And then get it all to fit along with the interior takes many man hours. Regardless of the looks he should be commended for his talent, perseverance (and project management) on this vehicle.

    Very impressive personalized custom. Has anyone taken a Ferrari 308 GTB and put Fiero Emblems on it?

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