1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 Forgotten in the Woods Is Covered in Pine Needles, Iron Duke Hasn’t Caught Fire

The Pontiac Fiero is famous for being ahead of its time and catching fire a lot. The value of later models, which had most of their issues resolved, is going up. But what about the very first Fieros, what were they like? To answer that here’s a “forest find” 1984 Fiero 2M4 that’s sitting forgotten, covered in pine needles and cones, but ready to reveal its secrets.

Up until a few years ago, these 2-seaters weren’t collectible, so they’re rarely stored properly. This 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 belongs to the very first model year and has probably been sitting in the woods for several decades.

However, it’s not in that bad of a condition because, like a Corvette, the outer body isn’t made from metal, it’s plastic. Well, calling it plastic isn’t quite accurate. GM used three different types of plastic. There’s the usual soft molded polyurethane for the bumpers, and reinforced-reaction-injection-molded (RRIM) polyurethane for the sides and doors. The hardest plastic was called sheet molding compound or SMC and it was used for the roof, hood and trunk. In the video, you can see how a crack in the trunk basically looks like fiberglass covered in plastic.

That means it’s not going to rust, at least on the outside. It’s quite interesting to see an old car covered in leaves, and pine cones, with its 1980s stickers coming off, but having an otherwise great body. To be specific, the car is sitting at a wrecking yard, Bernardston Auto Wrecking in Massachusetts.

The barn-finding YouTuber Steve Magnante explains that the 2M4 badge is exclusive to the 1984 model year, the first one in Fiero production. It translates as 2-seat Mid-engined 4-cylinder. Famously, the Fiero was equipped with the 2.5-liter Iron Duke inline-4 motor, which was a major headache for Pontiac.

The Fiero fires

Firstly, the 151 cubic-inch motor was made from heavy cast iron and it only made 92 horsepower. This wasn’t ideal for a 2-seater, though GM actually only approved the Fiero as an economical commuter, not a sports car. The following year, Pontiac began offering a larger V6, which is the one to buy, but all 65,671 examples of the 1984 Fiero come with the Iron Duke. And don’t think the V6 was some powerhouse because, in 1985, this 2.8-liter only produced 135 hp.

The Iron Duke was pretty economical, with claims of up to 50 miles to the gallon. However, this Pontiac famously liked to catch on fire. Steve says about 20 fires were occurring every month, which adds up to about 1 in every 508 cars being potential deathtraps. Why? Well, the Iron Dukes had to sit lower in the sports car compared to a normal passenger vehicle so a smaller oil pan had to be designed, and this held less oil.

And because GM wanted Pontiac to compete with the Hondas and Volkswagens of the world, they basically forced the Fiero to be made from parts they already had. The front suspension was borrowed from the Chevy Chevette and the rear and the rear suspension was the Pontiac Phoenix’s front suspension reversed. They did develop independent suspension for the 1988 Fiero, which was the nicest of them all.

However, this 1984 Fiero is just more interesting to look at. It’s got a 3-box design as opposed to the later fastbacks. There’s a trunk behind the engine and a spare wheel at the front.

The interior is quite different too. It has a wide tunnel to house the gas tank and a pretty spartan layout. Steve points out hot Fieros had speakers integrated into the headrests and an AM/FM radio with a cassette player and… a Chrysler logo?

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