Tuesday, February 3, 2015

15k: Is This The Road To Meranello? 1988 Pontiac Fiero Mera Northstar V8

 The Holy Grail of Pontiac Fiero family has always been the 1987-88 Mera, a car so shamelessly derivative of the Ferrari 308 that it is almost always painted red with embarrassment.  According to Fiero.net, a gentleman by the name of Bob Bracey from Corporate Concepts in Michigan engineered/built the Mera conversion for Pontiac.  The total Mera production is 247 and they do show up for sale occasionally, but this appears to be one that has had its engine upgraded to a Northstar V8.  Find this 1988 Pontiac Fiero Mera offered for $17,000 buy-it-now here on eBay located in Orlando, FL.

The Mera re-body was technically a dealer installed option, you would buy a new Fiero and the dealer would install the Ferrari Mera body panels giving you a zero mile custom that carries an original Pontiac vin.   Production only lasted for two years before Ferrari's lawyers put an end to poor folks playing Magnum PI on the weekends.  Actually, the Mera package was quite expensive when new, MSRP could easily exceed $29k and get you into Corvette territory at the time.  Personally, I think the asking price on this one is a bit high (lots of other cool machines you could get into for that much dough) but you don't see many for sale.


This cheesy promotional video from gives you a quite tutorial in putting the Mera in 'Merican -- but the short story is that the Fiero's steel superstructure was perfect for bolting up the Fauxrarri parts for "instant status as close as your Pontiac dealer."


The seller describes the car as being less than 2400 miles since conversion, which at first I assumed meant that it was a standard Fiero converted to Mera body, but the conversion is under the hood.  The original Pontiac V6 has been replaced with a Northstar V8 from a Cadillac that should be good for 270-300 horsepower depending on donor vehicle.  One has to wonder how difficult it will be to change headgaskets now that it is inside the Pontiac engine bay...


Unfortunately the swap uses an automatic transmission, but the dozen or so Ferrari badges inside/out of the car will easily make up for the performance losses from not shifting your own gears.


See another oddball car that looks like a kit-car, smells like a kit-car, sounds like a kit-car...but isn't?  tips@dailyturismo.com

17 comments:

  1. This car has every indication that it isn't in fact a Mera, but wishful thinking on the owner's part. The VIN comes up as a Formula. All Meras were built on GTs. I could be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. K2 -- Most online sources claim the 1988 version of the Mera was built on the basic Fiero Formula with vins starting "1G2PE119"...but I agree it will require some serious Fieroxpertise to prove provenance on this one.
      -Vince

      Delete
  2. This still a great post, DT. I don't ever recall seeing an automatic Mera though, either. If this is a Mera, then there isn't much Mera left.

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  3. What a disaster. You can put as many stickers and emblems on it but it doesn't make it real. I much rather see a Northstar V8 in a nicely modified Fiero.
    I bet if you shopped around you could get a real 308 for just a little more.
    The kit thing is a strange world to enter in. I bought my dad a California speedster with a blown motor (black with red interior) for $8,000. We had a 1776 dual dellorto balanced and built up engine built for it. We probably have 11k into the whole car. The guy we bought it from had stuck 356 owners club badges and stickers all over it. It seemed so desperate. I was able to sell them off and get $150 for our build! The car is a blast to drive and gets tons of attention. The funny thing is that 99% of people don't know or care what a kit car is. It is almost pointless to try and explain it. I have mixed feelings about it. His car is a fake but it is very beautiful and a joy to drive.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. A Fiero with a unique body kit and a northstar would be interesting, this is just a painful imitator.

      Delete
  4. In a similar theme, check out this STILLETO

    This car was originally in the Detroit area and was owned by a nearby neighbor. He would always remind me it was not a kit car and the brand was registered as a manufactured car. Maybe someone needs to spin some marketing and take this thing to Barrett Jackson next year!
    [img]http://thumbs3.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mWblwUUjDOcXYkiPR8ds3kg.jpg[/img

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  5. DT, I am unable to reply directly to your post. Not sure why. Oh well, here is my response.

    You are correct about the VIN but there is no distinction between the Mera and the Formula according to Wikipedia. I ran the VIN on Fiero.net and it just said it was a Formula....and I seemingly stand corrected. According to Fiero.net, "For 1987 about 88 Fiero GTs were converted into 1987 Meras. With the introduction of the 1988 Fiero, the MERA utilized the 1988 Formula because it was a better value. About 159 were made on the Formula chassis, bringing the total MERAs produced to 247." So, it appears that I was incorrect in thinking that all Mera were built on GTs. Nice one!

    But wait, there's more! I found this on Fiero.nl, "Accordingly, if on your car, that 10th digit is not "H" or "J," then you don't have a Mera.". I don't see an "H" anywhere in the VIN...

    Either way, this still isn't a good example of a Mera. Even the Mera badges appear to be gone. This car should probably be avoided unless the owner wants to cut his asking price by two-thirds. My gut says this car is worth about $5-7K. BTW, I swapped the same engine in my Fiero and it worked really well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What the heck. Now my post shows up in the recent comments, but it's been cut in half and added to Rene's thread? Uh oh. Whitney Houston, we have a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew image embedding would be the end of the world as we know it...

      Delete
  7. Cripes. I'll repost. Rene doesn't get street cred for all my hard work! Basically, I conceded that you were right about the Mera not just being on the GTs, DT. They were built on GTs in 87 and Formulas in 88.

    Then I found this on Fiero.nl: "Accordingly, if on your car, that 10th digit is not "H" or "J," then you don't have a Mera.". I don't see an "H" anywhere in the VIN...

    Either way, this still isn't a good example of a Mera. Even the Mera badges appear to be gone, if they were ever really there. There is no picture of the Mera ID plate and though the wheels may be correct, the seller seemingly went out of his way to avoid providing a picture of them. This car should probably be avoided unless the owner wants to cut his asking price by two-thirds. My gut says this car is worth about $5-7K. BTW, I swapped the same engine in my Fiero and it worked really well.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Credit taken!
      We are the Daily Turismo collective. You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

      Delete
    2. Dagnabit. Blast you DT Borg!

      [img]http://legalinsurrection.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bumper-Sticker-Charlottesville-VA-BORG-close-up.jpg[/img]

      Delete
  8. Double cripes! There appears to be a "J". Clearly, nobody cares but me. Ha ha!

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  9. Thanks DT, I now have Tony Christie/Peter Kay stuck in my head, and it isn't going away any time soon. This is decidedly not the way to Mera-nello... nor is it the way to Amarillo.

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  10. "Of course, words on a page can hardly do justice to the workmanship invested in the Mera. It's quality is not installed, it's inherent. And quite obvious when inspected close at hand."

    I cannot make that up, this is from the ad copy. AMAZING

    ReplyDelete

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