CC Forgotten Future: 1990 Pontiac Fiero Prototype

(first posted 4/3/2017)    Welcome to the first post in Forgotten Future, my ongoing series where I look at cars that almost made it to production, but didn’t. Because of the lead times involved in bringing a car to production (three years or more), manufacturers often invest significant resources into a new car doing design and prototypes, and then for whatever reason (often due to circumstances beyond their control) decide to cancel it. First up – Pontiac’s prototype for the 1989 or 1990 Fiero (sources vary as to what year this would have actually appeared).

Pontiac killed the Fiero after the 1988 model year (ironically after finally fixing many of the flaws that plagued earlier models). Already in the works at the time they pulled the plug was a significant refresh for the 1989 or 1990 model year. Below are some pictures I found online, as well as from my private collection of this prototype.


The quad popup headlights would eventually appear on the Trans Am, but they look so wrong on a Fiero…


The taillight treatment is very similar to what would eventually appear on the 1993 Firebird.

As you can see, many of the styling ideas presented here would eventually end up on the fourth-generation Firebird, which would come out in 1993.


Some of the prototypes appeared to have clear buttresses, like the one above.  From this angle, it looks a bit like an Acura NSX. Note the hidden door release and functional side air intake.


The interior was less heavily reworked, but the gauge pods were more rounded and noticeably less bulky, in an effort to increase interior space.


The engine lineup was rumored to start with the High Output version of the then-new Quad 4 engine. The top engine, pictured above, would have been the LQ1 3.4 liter DOHC V6 (which first appeared in the 1991 Lumina Z34).

Fiero sales started out strong, with 136,840 sold in 1984, its first year. By 1988, sales had slumped 26,402, and according to Pontiac it was losing money on every one it sold, hence the reason for the Fiero’s demise.

So what do you think? Would this refresh have been enough to turn things around for the Fiero, or did Pontiac do the right thing?