My local corner shopping center has a mixture of shops; anchored by a semi-bougie grocery store there’s a distillery, a few eateries, an actual butcher, a baker, a pharmacy, a shipping store, of course a couple of coffee places, and assorted other outlets totaling about one and a half dozen all told, it’s almost an all-needs-in-one-location. What it also has is a parking lot large enough to never require circling for a spot, and most days there is at least one interesting vehicle amongst the population, a number of which I have featured here over the years.
Today after I was running my errands in one of the stores I almost tripped over this little 1985 Pontiac Fiero GT, an example of which I haven’t seen a running one in some time, let alone one in pretty much pristine condition. Yet there it was, parked less than a carelessly thrown door’s width away from other cars. This certainly called for me to memorialize the occasion, and after doing so I spied some other lot-candy within eyeshot so took a quick walk around to add to the collection.
1985 was the second year of Fiero production, and the last year that the 2.8l V6 of the GT model shared the same rear sheetplastic as the 4-cylinder. It’s actually quite attractive in white, which wasn’t a very common hue as I recall in the early years of the model, they all seemed to be red. I’m still not a fan of the ubiquitous GM rear luggage rack thingy but at least it’s black rather than chrome in this iteration and I certainly wouldn’t refuse this (particular) car due to it.
The GT did get a different nose. It’s a little longer and maybe a little bulbous, pondering it maybe it does work better with the forthcoming different rear, which was also a little more rounded. But whatever, I shan’t be picky, there aren’t many running Fieros left; not that there are that many first generation MR2s or CRX’s either for that matter.
A bird on a spit? At least the GT got its due with its own badge.
The arrowhead works well on the B-pillar, and the GT applique as well on the rear side panel. Bodywork was all composite material, so no worries about door dings and such, however the paint could still fade; this one however displays no such issues.
14″ alloys used to be a desirable upgrade. It can’t be easy finding 14″ tires anymore, these are 215/60-14 on this one which is quite chunky given that a VW GTI of the same year for example used a 185/60-14. White-letter BFGs score all the period-feel points, and that design of Pontiac wheel was used on quite a few models, it looked (still looks) quite good.
Here’s a terrible shot through the windshield showing what appears to be an interior just as remarkably preserved as the exterior. It also shows that the owner didn’t wuss out and option an automatic transmission, but instead went for the manual.
Sharp-eyed viewers will note however that the shift pattern stops at 1-4 and R, yes, GM didn’t see fit to equip their sporting runabout with a proper 5-speed a la Toyota MR2 and even the Fiat/Bertone X1/9, CR-X, and pretty much anything else that a buyer might choose to compare the Fiero with. For shame. But look at that interior! It’s perfect.
One last glance and then we’ll let the eye wander a bit a few rows over.
Ooh, here we go, the polar opposite of a Fiero, a Mercedes W123 in the immortal Hellelfenbein (Light Ivory) color so beloved of the German cab driver. You can’t go anywhere in the world and not see at least one W123 if you keep your eyes open.
This is a fairly late-model example given the Bundt wheels and the fact that it’s labeled as a 300 with the TurboDiesel engine, so I’ll guess it’s maybe a 1984 or so, someone else might know better. This will outlast even the cockroaches after the world ends.
Meandering around a little more revealed this 1993-ish Cadillac Seville SLS, Cadillac’s first real “import-fighter”, never mind what their marketing had been saying previously. In very period-correct emerald green, this is a dead ringer for the car the owner of the first company that I worked for after college purchased for herself. She purchased it over the weekend after the Friday that she announced to the entire company that there would not be a raise for anyone that year due to “economic conditions”. I realize now I may have been a “quiet quitter” three decades before that was a thing.
This one has the Northstar engine which debuted for 1993 in this model (the old 4.9l was in the 1992), so it’s a little surprising that it’s still on the road. The SLS was the softer traditional version, while the STS was the juicier one in regards to suspension tuning etc. I guess the SLS would be the Mercedes competitor in Cadillac’s mind while the STS chased after BMW in Cadillac’s dreams. Alright, I don’t mean to be catty, these are actually quite nice cars and I admit to a severe soft spot for the successor generation (’98-’04). Cudos to the owner for keeping it going, I believe they work in one of the shops as I see this one here regularly.
See what I mean about W123s? This lot had two of them, this one is at the opposite end of the spectrum relative to the 300 TurboDiesel we saw above being a 240D without a turbo and an older model with the color-matched hub caps. It appears to hail from Washington State, driving this here would have left the occupants with a lot of time to admire the scenery in detail as it slowly glided by.
What’s not to like? Well, besides the lack of urge, of course. Still, this base model (in the USA) has the same phenomenal build quality, solidity, longevity and whatever other superlatives one would care to lob its way as its slightly more motivated (motorvated?) brethren.
Hey, a Woodgrained Whale! Yes, this is the type of shopping center that was built in the early 1970s with lots of low buildings and a wide sort of promenade sidewalk in front of the shops that owners of all manner of woodgrained wagons would frequent. Here’s the last of the species doing yeoman duty. I think its owner works here as well as it’s a common sight, but the first time I’ve stopped to digitally harpoon it.
This one does have the later mirrors so it’s a 1995 or 1996 and would have the Corvette-related 5.7l LT1 engine along with the dual exhaust. When properly equipped, the wagons like this one could apparently tow up to 7,000 pounds. It’s always parked under this same tree, perhaps birds of a feather flock together…
Leaving the whale alone to take a gander at this relative plankton in Classic Red, an early Miata never fails to deliver a smile. And this one looks virtually new although it’s a 1992 at best if I’m not mistaken due to it not having a chrome Mazda emblem on the front.
It’s a dead ringer for the one I used to own. Well, except for the fancier wheels, far better paint, and nowadays much greater rarity. What a fun ride, and thank you all for wandering around the parking lot on this fine fall day with me. Which of the above selections would you like to take home after running your errands in the center? I don’t think there’s a wrong answer, actually.