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.
Paul’s writeup of a Cohort Quicksilver
Mr. Tactful’s Internet Find Quicksilver
The size of these is impossible to judge from photographs. Fieros are so tiny…this looks more T-bird or Riviera sized.
I’d name it Hans.
Wonder if it’ll ever see the road again?
From the looks of it, I’d say it’s mobile. There’s air in the tires, and while tired looking, it doesn’t look like it’s been sitting there for a long time.
Must be a decent sized trunk.
This just reminds me of a caricature of the 1988 E body Olds Toronado and Buick Riviera. I’ve always wondered why anyone who could afford to buy them, would. It’s kind of like the photo of Dean Martin standing besides his Stutz Blackhawk. Come on Dino, can’t you see that it’s just a dolled up Grand Prix? I believe that Dino and a bunch of Hollywood elites also had a Facel Vega and a Ferrari or two.
I drive by this vehicle frequently on Olympic Blvd and knew it was a matter of time before it appeared here on CC. Thank you for filling in the details.
I can imagine that Dean was used to having some flashy rides. By the time the Stutz came along, I can imagine him just saying “F### it! I like it!
IIRC, all of the leading members of the Rat Pack (Frank, Dino, and Sammy) had Blackhawks. It was ‘the’ Vegas car of the time. I kind of miss those days.
Great find, Jim!
I can’t tell if the taillights are unique to this car, or if they were borrowed from another vehicle, as was common practice with kit cars.
If they are bespoke parts, good luck finding replacements.
That was my immediate thought, too!
But having owned a Rover Sterling 827 in 2010’s, my thoughts first go to “can you even find a replacement for ____.”
I would love to hear about your experience with the Sterling. So few of them are left. I haven’t seen one in the flesh in about 25 years!
I think they are actually the Fiero taillights from the donor car. The bumper covers a lot of them, especially on the inside but it looks right for color, red/white area and grid pattern. Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one.
Makes sense – GM = 1- remove bumper from car 2 – remove light bulb
Wow! I hadn’t notice that until you pointed it out, Jim.
I’m pretty sure those taillights and bumper appeared to me in a nightmare once. I think I was dreaming of a world overrun by mutated Chrysler Fuselage cars.
Modified if not hidden behind that massive bumper stock fiero or later non gt
Assisting with the ghastly mishmash that it is, it appears to be sporting FWD K-car lace aluminum rims.
…and for that matter, both the front and rear ends look quite Imperial-esque.
Jeebus, who builds a half-assed Chrysler out of a Fiero?!? 🤦♂️🤷♂️
Low sales figures? Shocker.
I may be mistaken, but I think those wheels are actually from a Chrysler’s TC by Maserati. Nothing but Fancy Stuff for a Zimmer!
This particular Zimmer is a Westside staple. It’s been sitting in that same exact driveway for at least ten years, and since it’s right on Olympic Blvd it’s easily visible to the many thousands of passers-by. Interestingly, the license plate on the back is a fairly new addition: when I first photographed it back in 2013 (picture below), there was no plate on the back. And actually, now that I check its smog history, it appears as if someone is actually driving this Zimmer again: it passed smog both this year (ten days ago, in fact!) and in 2017, titled as a Pontiac Fiero of course. Sure fooled me; I thought it was just sitting there the whole while.
Ive read a lot about Fieros on this site some good some not so much but Ive only ever seen one in the metal, they werent sold here but like everything else its only a shipping container sailing away, it was resale red and did vaguely resemble the centre section of the posted car, I prefer the original though that thing does really stand out.
I feel like we should collectively arrange for you to drive an important Fiero for a week or so and write it up. I imagine you’d hate it and feel that any number of French family sedans could run rings around it to far less punishing effect.
Tacky. Terrible. Want it anyways. How hard can it be to drive with a bag over one’s head?
Ha! At first glance I thought of the Fiero and then thought, Nah, that car is way too big. Welp…I guess it was that massive B-pillar that caught my eye.
I had the misfortune to ride middle ‘seat’ in a Fiero for a short hop across Lakewood, CO. back in the 80’s. I’m a 5′ 8″ male and it was the most uncomfortable ten minutes of my life! I was in my early 30’s and still fairly limber. We had a good laugh when we were able to roll down the road without me crowding the driver or other passenger, much.
About a decade later I was working as a mechanic and did some work on the topside of the engine of one. That was also a somewhat painful experience trying to reach various parts in the engine bay. My co-workers and i agreed It might have been easier to have just dropped the engine/trans out the bottom to do the work.
Pardon my Zimmer!
Don’tcha just love SoCal? The sheer variety of vehicles is staggering. Next time I go to LA, I’m going to spend more than just a couple of days there. I reckon I could just spend a day driving down side streets and finding all manner of Curbside Classics.
As for the Zimmer, well, this is less hideous than most kit cars. The overall design concept is alright but it falls down on the details. Overall, though, I actually don’t mind it.
Is it just me or does that rear logo look like an old Imperial logo?
Happened to shoot this yesterday. And yes I had the same thought both when I saw the Zimmer as well as yesterday….
The rear logo also reminds me of that of the Oldsmobile Toronado of the ’70s.
Wow! Find of the month.
Why take a perfectly good, up-to-date looking brand-new car in the mid ’80s and make it look like a 3/4 scale model of the sort of early ’70s car that was then available for next-to-nothing from the back row of every used-car lot in the land?
That must be a huge front trunk.
I believe this is a picture of the front trunk on these. It looks surprisingly NOT that huge.
I know this car! As someone said above, it’s been parked in that driveway for years, at least since I was in elementary school, which puts it at around 2002. My school was on Olympic not far from this car and I had no idea what it was until now! It’s parked in a VERY high visibility location, as Olympic Bl. is one of the thoroughfares used as an alternative to I-10 and is frequently jammed. Good to see the owner is still enjoying it!
Man, I loved the Quicksilver growing up. I remember the C&D cover. I always thought it looked like something GM design would have done if left to their own devices.
As a kid, I wanted to go into automotive design until I learned that there were like 50 jobs available, and you’d have to move to Detroit or the then-new SoCal studios. Probably for the best as a lot of the cars I would sketch, even before I ever saw the quicksilver, have a lot of resemblances. Like the giant cornering lights in front. And the large rear bumpers. And the terrible greenhouse-to-wheelbase ratio. Basically I was 12 year old Wayne Kady. (Too soon?)
So, you’re welcome that I decided my second career in computers worked out, and I never unleashed a series of Quicksilver-like vehicles for you to bitch about on this site today.
Wow, first the Jensen Healey and now this. You are becoming the savant of ultra rare basket cases!
I paid attention to these in the 80s for . . . about as long as it took me to read the mention of the car on the cover of one of the car mags in the supermarket rack. Just wow.
I’m proud of the fact I’m from Syracuse, NY. That Zimmer Motorcars was based in Syracuse…..well…..I guess I’m a bit ambivalent about that fact.
These were built in Pompano Beach, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.
Every south Florida Pontiac dealer had one of these on the showroom
floor at some point in the late 80’s.
I remember the first time I ever saw one of these (in red). I had no clue what it was!
From certain angles it looks…interesting. Not $50,000 worth of 80’s dollars interesting, though.
And reminiscent of the CC effect, THIS showed up today as the cover photo on the Car Museum site on Facebook:
My grandson’s first car was one of these! Surprised to see a page on it.
I had talked with the owner of this car in 2012. He was a retired mechanic who had worked at a shop in West LA. Apparently, an elderly customer, unable to pay some repair bills, had signed the title over to him.
The mechanic thought there was a problem with the starter but was unable to access the engine bay as the release mechanism had broke. He was open to offers and said I was welcome to get a battery, try opening the engine bay and see if it could be jump started. Note: He was aware of the rarity of the car and knew they originally sold for $50,000 but balked when I suggested it was hardly worth $5,000 in it’s current state.
A few months later, another Quicksilver, (in white with red interior), and some heavy front end damage showed up on Craigslist for $4,500. It was located near Edwards Air Force Base and stayed listed for several months with no takers before finally being removed.
When I checked last Summer, the blue example was gone but I would not be surprised if the ex-mechanic simply moved it to another spot.