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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Comments

    Reminds me of the early 60s car customizers like George Barris. Back then guys would actually cut up car bodies and make some wild creations, these days most so-called customizers just bolt crap onto their cars.

    I actually like the look of this custom, love the color and the way it looks on this body style. I have seen creations that I don’t care for, but even then I appreciated the builder’s imagination and craftsmanship. The beauty of having something everyone else can’t just go out and buy.

    Lots to like here, especially the overall completion and quality of the end result. Some criticisms are truthful but irrelevant; some people really like a pointy nose car, even a too-pointy nose car. Many professional designers have gone to impractical extremes to explore styling ideas, and many of them are far worse than this. Big kudos for taking an idea from zero to driving to shows in a very completed and functional machine. I look forward to the builder’s next exploratory idea.

    VERY COOL!!! I would have picked a different color, but, HEY, your car, your $$$$, your effort. Looks great!!!

    What an incredible effort to get exactly what you wanted. I like seeing cars repurposed with add-ons / changes like this. If MTV Concepts has saved all the molds the owner should be able to recoups some of his one off costs by offering it to other Fiero owners.

    “Homegrown” seems fitting for this thing.
    Looks like something someone went to a dermatologist to get removed.

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