Project Fiero Fix Up: Part 2 – Assessment and Cosmetic Upgrades

Fiero on trailer

In the last installment my son was able to find and purchase a suitable project Pontiac Fiero. We had taken a calculated risk on a 1985 GT that had mysteriously stopped running before a test drive. This time around we assess the condition of the car as well as perform some cosmetic upgrades. We would also discover if our gamble on buying it as-is would pay off or be a costly bust.

When the car was delivered, the seller let me know that when he added some extra gas to the tank the car fired up and drove just fine onto the trailer so that was a win. For us anyway, I think the seller was a bit disappointed but to his credit he stuck to the deal we had agreed on. My son was able to drive the car off the trailer, around the block and into the garage. He definitely had a big smile on his face. The assessment stage could start as well as giving the car a good clean. The following items needed attention right off the bat:

  • Dead battery
  • A bit of broken body rub trim
  • Missing door lock on the driver’s side
  • Reverse lights did not work
  • Terrible paint
  • Fluid changes as it had sitting for multiple years
  • Assessment of brakes and suspension
  • Now that it ran it now leaked a bit of oil
  • Gas gauge would require a good look as it read 1/4 full when empty
  • Tires were very old

On the positive side:

  • The headlights worked
  • Newer looking spark plugs and wires
  • There were a few extra parts included

hood in junkyard

Time was of the essence to get back to pull parts from the cars that we’d previously seen in the Calgary scrapyard before somebody else got them or the car was recycled for good. We had intended on grabbing all the body panels if they were all in good shape, but there was not a complete set of undamaged panels in red. Additionally, my son’s car had the ground effects which the scrapyard cars lacked, so mixing and matching was out. So we just snagged a hood and rear lamp lens housing. While the hood was in good shape it was missing its headlight covers, so we settled for the ones from the other red car which were a little faded.

hood before

The before shot of the hood.

The hood removal was the first wrenching work he had done.


So much better! The mismatched headlight covers would need a bit of attention to complete the transformation.

headlight covers

The headlight covers had an old school orange primer on them. We were able to carefully sand that off and buff the paint underneath. Overall the car was still 16 shades of red, but at least no more orange.

wet sanding

paint buffing

paint buffing

We wet sanded and polished the rest of the paint work on the car, being careful not to burn through the thin paint.

rear lens before

The passenger side rear light cluster had a nasty crack.

after - rear cluster

The junkyard sourced part uplifted the whole appearance from the rear.

mirror painted

The interior was cleaned up, then he moved on to painting the side mirrors and intake grates over the engine.

after clean up

After this clean up he now had himself a pretty darn good looking Pontiac Fiero on the cheap. In the next installment we tackle some of the mechanical jobs.