Curbside Classic: Zimmer Quicksilver – It Was Simply Inevitable

I once heard someone say “If you wait long enough, eventually you will see every car ever made in the world somewhere in Southern California.”  At the time, I sagely nodded my head, but I believe it to be true.  Southern California has long been a mecca for the automotive being, and people there own everything imaginable, never mind that it’s one of the most inhospitable environments in the world from a vehicle regulatory standpoint.  So I was surprised and bemused, but not amazed, when I decided to go for a walk after having dinner at my sister-in-law’s house last month a couple of miles from UCLA and came across this rare bird just around the corner.

In the back of my mind I remembered it from an old issue of Car&Driver (April 1987 to be exact), and I’m sure I’ve also seen it at the LA Auto Show back in the day, but now as then, found it to be quite ugly.  SoCal has always teemed (relatively speaking) with kit cars and “adaptations” of various donor cars.  This one in its somewhat neglected state is pretty much the fate that befalls many of them once a new shiny thing comes along.

Later I came to realize that we’ve featured a couple of these before, one from the Cohort and there was an internet find as well, but I believe this is the first actual Curbside find that one of us contributors has documented in the flesh.

Obviously (it is obvious, right?) it is based on the Pontiac Fiero which really is a good donor car in that the body panels just bolt onto a skeleton that actually provides the structure.  The front end has been lengthened some 28 inches and the back is larger as well but a lot of that is due to the absolutely massive chrome protuberance that serves as a bumper.  The engine is the 2.8liter V-6 that powered non-base Fieros and was good for 140hp.

Numbers are difficult to come by but the general consensus is that somewhere between 150 and 300 were produced in total, and retailed for around $50,000 in mid ’80’s dollars, so almost four times the price of the V6 Fiero donor.  Available between 1985 and 1988, you could basically get whatever Fiero options were available.

All were 3-speed automatics and the interior was retrimmed in leather and wood along with the exterior modifications.  By mid-80’s standards it (the interior) looked pretty good.  Most sources seem to find the exterior good looking, I don’t concur but freely admit that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There’s no hiding the Fiero but it’s about as different as it could be, I’ll grant Zimmer that; the styling does everything possible to pull the eye away from the center Fiero section.  The wheels date it something fierce and while you’d certainly see Eldorados and Rivieras cruising around Los Angeles being piloted by members of a certain age set and this is Broughamy enough to compete in that strata, I still can’t understand the target market besides those with enough money to just afford something different.

I suppose that’s precisely the attraction, as the inside is still Fiero tiny, the added weight didn’t do anything for the performance, but as long as the A/C worked it was fine being stuck in traffic or slowly moving along the freeway while just standing out in the crowd, that being a large part of Angelino-ism.

My interior pic didn’t really come out very good due to the very dirty window and my ineptitude but shows that the condition inside is a match for the outside in its present state.

Here’s a better picture that I found on the web of this would look like in case you wanted to feel like you were there.

In summation, this was certainly an interesting car that at least was built on a somewhat sound platform and there do seem to be a large percentage of survivors – judging by the photos on the web many lead a pampered existence and still command a decent chunk of change when they come up for sale.  Zimmer itself had better success with their other, more traditionally neo-classical creation, the Golden Spirit, but compared to this that’s practically as common as a Fusion.

I think it’ll be a long while before we see another Quicksilver in this kind of state curbside, but if it’s out there, it’s as likely to be somewhere else in SoCal as anywhere else in the world.

Related Reading:

Paul’s writeup of a Cohort Quicksilver

Mr. Tactful’s Internet Find Quicksilver