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Ferrari look-alike had short-lived production

Staff writer

It might look like a Ferrari, but the Pontiac Fiero doesn’t drive like a Ferrari.

That is what Bryce York of Prairie Village, son-in-law of the late Ike Thiessen of Lehigh, said about the Fiero he purchased new when it first came out in 1984. He paid $10,000 for the two-seater sports car with a four-cylinder engine.

“The Fiero was designed to look like a Ferrari but has a dinky, little engine in it,” he said. “It was suggested by some to be the poor man’s Corvette, but it was a long way from it.”

General Motors advertised it as a good-looking, affordable mid-engine sports car. It touted a unique lightweight plastic body. However, it required a welded steel frame, and the Iron Duke engine was made of cast iron. It turned out to be over-weight, underpowered, and hard to handle.

By 1988, the company had added a more powerful engine and a new suspension system but decided to axe the Fiero the next year.

York, a retired educator, has owned antique cars longer than he has been married to his wife, the former Karen Thiessen, which is 51 years. He has sold some but still owns nine antique cars and 12 antique tractors, most of which are stored at Lehigh.

Every Memorial Day weekend, he takes the Fiero out, drives it around to burn the gas out and replaces it with fresh gas.

“When I saw they weren’t going to continue to produce it, I decided to put it in storage,” he explained.

Last modified Sept. 27, 2017

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