Monday, May 6, 2019

Double Trouble: 1986 vs 1988 Ferrari 308 Mera Fiero Clones

Wow.  What are the chances?  We got a hot tip on a Fauxrarri 308 clone (that uses a Pontiac Fiero chassis and some Ferrarieqse body work) powered by a Caddy V8 and then another tip came through...and I, must be the same car.  Nope.  TWO DIFFERENT CADDY POWERED FIERRARIS AT THE SAME TIME.  First up is this 1988 Ferrari 308 Clone offered for $15,450 in Virginia Beach, VA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:

1988 Pontiac Mera 
condition: good 
cryptocurrency ok 
cylinders: 8 cylinders 
drive: rwd 
fuel: gas 
odometer: 24850 
paint color: red 
size: compact 
title status: clean 
transmission: automatic 
type: convertible 
.. Low mileage 1988 Pontiac MERA Spyder (with T-Tops), NorthStar 300 hp V8 automatic, rare power steering, power windows, A/C, leather seats, slotted and drilled rotors, wool carpets upgrade, Dakota Digital instrumentation, upgraded radio, new tires . Although the seats in the foto look light gray, they're the same color as the updated dash...dark gray. VERY FAST(more than twice the horsepower and torque of the original engine)...If you're unfamiliar with MERA, google it and see what a limited production vehicle it was...Ferrari sued the company and forced the end of production after just 247 were built. These rare cars are now bringing upwards of $18/20,000 and collector's in the know are showing interest as prices have been edging up for the last three or four years. This is one of the rarest of the rare....only the 1988 models were built with the up-graded and very desirable Lotus-type multilink suspension, with the original Cromodora wheels custom made in Italy specifically for Meras... I bought it nearly three years ago, and put it in storage 'til I had the time to completely restore... but plans change; now I'm moving to L.A. and emptying my toy box: selling my car collection. 

Next up is another Cadillac powered Ferrari-looking thing, but this one has an older Carbuertor fed V8 instead of the fuel injected Northstar...but it has an equally optimistic underhood labeling and I love it!! this 1986 Ponterrari FiMera GTB offered for $9,500 in Parkland, WA via craigslist.  Tip from JB1025.

From the seller:
1986 Pontiac 
condition: good 
cylinders: 8 cylinders 
fuel: gas 
paint color: red 
title status: clean 
transmission: automatic 
1986 Ferrari 308 GTB kit car.
Fiero chassis with a 4.9 V8 Cadillac engine and automatic transmission.
Power windows and locks.
Runs and drives but will need some work.
$9,500 OBO

For your money, which would you buy? Comments below.


  1. "bought it nearly three years ago, and put it in storage 'til I had the time to completely restore" seeing those words in print seem really antithetical to the concept of a Kit car.

  2. Surprisingly convincing, from most angles. But why does the first one sit so high at the back? And why does the second one have a gated shifter plate, but no stick (not even for the automatic)? If I was putting some money into the game, I imagine it would be the second one, just because there is less to lose!

    1. In the interior picture that was taken from the passenger side, I think you can juuust catch a peek of the shifter. I think it is at the very front of the '3rd gear' location, which would also be Park for the auto. Guessing the other two gates are as fake as the rest of the car.

    2. You can't really fault the builder for being consistent as they kept the fake theme going throughout. Both cars would benefit with body coloured headlight covers.

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  4. The only re-bodied GM product that I would consider driving in these ads is that really cool Chevy Step-Van converted to a stakebed / flatbed in the background of the second listing.

  5. Disclosure: I own an '88 Mera.

    Meras (with MERA) badging are now worth MORE than Faux-rarris. So removing the Ferrari badges is something to consider.

    1. The 88 is a real find. If the mileage is accurate, it indicates the car probably has electrical problems and sits parked most of the time. If you're good at sleuthing, or rewiring, this is a keeper. One of the rarest American made cars, ever. Only a dozen or so '88s were made with T tops. So even rarer.

    Here is an '88 with aftermarket T tops. The entire car is extremely well done. Note the lack of Ferrari badgewear. And the MERA embroidery on the seats (not an original option).

    1988 MERA

    2. This is NOT a Mera. Tail lights give it away. Sounds like a project car. So if you want to spend less at first (maybe more fixing it up?), and don't care about resale value, heck, get yourself a fun project car for under 10 Grand.

    -Stan (..who is heading out to the garage to sit in his car and watch Magnum PI reruns..)

    1. Interesting, Stan! Certainly the 1988 Fiero GT is the one to have, so I can see where it also would be the best base for this conversion. Is there any manual gearbox that would mate to (and survive) the Cadillac V-8?

    2. Very cool Stan. Awesome to have a specialist comment on this pair.
      I agree about the badging. My father and I rebuilt a California speedster and It came with a Porsche owners club badge and 356 registry badge on the rear vents. I pulled them off right away and sold them to another poser.

    3. Bobinott,

      Sadly, in 2013, I had a freak accident where my foot came off my leg (yeah, go ahead and wince... seems like everyone has this reaction when I say that). The freaky thing was that the skin didn't break. Emergency room techs knocked me out, and it took 5 people to "pop" my foot back on (three pulling me by my arms, 2 pulling my leg).


      (sadly, I was unconscious to witness this pretty amazing bit of meat mechanics)

      So now I have a "normal" looking leg... with no ligature connecting the foot to the rest of me (all snapped when the foot left its normal resting place). Means I can't drive a shift anymore (rats). So my MERA is auto.

      I have a Manta Montage and a Mirage. Both are sticks..wife bought the Mirage for me to inspire me to make my leg work. Sadly, no amount of inspiration can change the absence of ligature.

      Soon the Manta Montage and Mirage will be up for sale.... The Montage was a ground-breaking electric car (from the 80s... almost 40 years ago!!), and the Mirage was Ken Wallis' personal road car. : )

      A bit about Ken Wallis and his Indy car design...

      -Stan (...yeah... *that* Stan...)

      PS Sean, LOL. Yeah, my MERA still has the Ferrari badges on the Chromadora wheels. I need to get MERA tags, just haven't done it yet (haven't driven it much-- too busy fixing up houses). Soon ( I keep telling myself that...). Haven't driven the MERA in 2 years. Sheesh. I've got WAY too many cars...

    4. And I used to think the Dos Equis guy was the most interesting man in the world.
      Your cars need to be a DT feature!
      The foot accident sounds terrible. I once had a backwards foot because of a 1/2 pipe accident, no bueno.

    5. Gee that's way worse that my experience stepping of a skateboard funny and breaking my fibula in half lengthwise. It's really a funny story especially the part where the orthopaedic invited the rest of the department in "the guys across the hall won't believe this"

      Anyway, it was my left leg and I discovered that when I had the second smaller cast on, I could drive stick. When they cut off that cast it was a month or so before I could use the clutch again.
      Maybe one of those walking cast boots would allow you to drive clutch again? If you are good you only need to use the clutch from a stop anyway.

    6. Thanks for the suggestions guys. When the accident first happened, I had to spend months off my foot, no weight bearing at all, for things to heal. Doc monitored me weekly, because calcification was setting in due to lack of use/weight bearing. Had to balance that out with things getting knit back up.

      When I *did* finally get a boot and permission to start 10-15% weight bearing, it was Christmastime and I was flying home to visit my family in Michigan (I grew up in Detroit... any wonder I'm a car guy?).

      I stayed off the foot, no weight bearing on that trip, because it was snowy and icy and it was hard enough to get around on the knee wheeler without going a** over teakettle. You want to have fun skateboarding? Do it on Michigan winter's icy sidewalks in the dark. It’s a thrill.

      When I got back home, my foot doc (super mild mannered guy) went ballistic. YELLED at me. Was really ticked that I had not been putting weight on my foot. "The next time you walk in this office, a month from now, I want to see NO knee wheeler. No cane. No walker. Just you, and the boot. WALKING!!”

      So I spent the next several weeks working on that. It sucked. I was still traveling (planes, hotels, meetings), so that added to the fun. My goal was to get out of my scooter and walk over to a CEO I'd worked with for years at his going away party. I did just that. A great moment for me.

      So a month later, I walk (OK, hobble) into my doc's office. He takes off my cast. Plays with my toes. Takes an Xray or 2 (or 3 or 4). Has me walk barefooted, about 10 feet.

      It wasn't pretty. And it hurt like hell.

      When I turned and walked back (my 10 foot journey), Doc had a HUGE smile on his face. I said "Are you happy?"

      He said "Yep. Now I can tell you something. What you're doing right now, not everyone can do when they have this kind of accident"

      I said "Do what?"

      He said: "Walk.”

      Turns out lots of folks never are able to walk again unassisted (they need canes, walkers, etc.). Some never get past the pain to even get back on their feet. Or they try, and things just fall apart.

      And here I was. Walking.

      A pretty great day for me, especially when I realized just how dang lucky I was.

      I asked him about the pain, and if things would get better. The advice my Doc gave me that day stuck with me: “Walking is going to feel strange. Your leg and foot are not the same. For the rest of your life, your therapy is to "fake" walking normally, just like everyone else. No limp, no lurch. Just walk straight, and don't favor your other leg or lean. Figure out how to deal with the pain. It won't be easy."

      I love a challenge.

      So that's what I've done every day since: Faked walking like everyone else. It's gotten so that I do it unconsciously. My "fake walk" is now my "real walk". Except that I'm in pain. And it feels weird.

      But every day I can get out of bed and WALK, I'm a happy camper. It's something I'm grateful for, every single day.

      I've tried a number of things to drive stick. Maybe I could develop a higher pain tolerance or learn a new way to brace my foot. But why? I enjoy walking far more than driving (and believe me… I *love* driving). I just want to walk as long as I am able.

      That means no extra pedal down there for me. For the foreseeable future.

      -Stan (who really did enjoy watching Magnum PI in the 80s...)

    7. PS The backwards foot and split tibula sound exquisitely painful. Glad it wasn't me, and happy you two are (I assume) back on your 2 feet.

    8. Hi Stan, thanks for sharing your story. What a path, and what gumption! Hey, that mention of Ken Wallis really rang a bell for me. The 1967 STP Paxton Turbine was the car that started my whole fascination with race cars and racing. I still have the issue of Motor Trend from 1967 that featured the Turbine Car. Cool to know that you own a car that Ken Wallis also owned. Do you know if Ken built the Mirage?

    9. Bobinott,

      Yes, Ken built it to his own specifications. He took lots of pics documenting the build (I have many of them). Tons of receipts/records.

      It was meant to be driven (not a trailer show car). He loved it.

      - Stan

  6. Kit car alert!
    This one is a repeat offender on here and the price is getting tempting!
    Fiber Fab Aztec 7
    Some serious louvers

    1. The real deal is mind blowing
      [image src="" width="400px"/
      I wonder if one could make some changes to the kit to make it look more like the OG?
      Sam Foose built a pretty good looking one

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