• Feb 29th 2008 at 1:34PM
  • 14

More than twenty years ago, Pontiac dealers sold their two-seat Fiero with a special "option" called the MERA. Essentially a complete re-body over the Fiero's then-advanced space frame, brand-new cars rolled out of the showroom looking much like a Ferrari 308. Over the next two years, 247 Fiero MERA models were built before Ferrari dropped a legal hatchet on the operation, and Corporate Concepts was forced to end production of their "kit."

We had put this blasphemy out of our minds until this week, when police in Rome uncovered a counterfeit car operation once again making fake Ferraris. In the Italian case, real customers (the police called them "car fanatics on a budget") were found to be paying upwards of $30,000 for each of these pseudo-Ferraris. The police report mentions that "donor cars" were involved, but they don't name names.

Photos released by the Italian police quickly confirmed our fears. In one image, a dusty red crackle-finish intake manifold proudly bears the Ferrari name. We recognize it as the 2.8-liter, 140-hp V6 that powered the Pontiac Fiero GT in 1988. The interior bares more irreverence as a knock-off Ferrari steering wheel tries to hide 80's-era GM switchgear. It is painfully obvious that the "Polizia" have stumbled upon an illegal reincarnation of the Fiero MERA, but this time on sacred Italian soil and offering more than one model. It is hard to imagine a criminal ring going this far to make a buck, but we are more stupefied by the knuckle-heads who actually paid them for these cars.

Thanks for the tip Mike!

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      now that's amore!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I KNEW it was too good of a deal picking up that 308 for only $25,000! But I saw that gated shifter, and I HAD to have it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What's worse is the Lambo conversion... UGLY! That 360 body looked pretty real.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A Brazilian engineer, who lives here in Uruguay, makes imitations of real cars on demand for the tenth of the real price. You give him pictures of ant car, he gets and old Beetle, builds a similarly shaped fibreglass body, and glues it. I've seen a couple of Lamborghinis and Ferraris done by him. Of course you know they're fake, but they're somehow cool.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Fiero was just starting to become a great sports car in '88 when the Corvette lobby killed it. It's sad. First space frame, first plastic body panels, first American mid-engine. I loved the fastback. They just got a really bad rap from the oil-leak fire recall in 84,85 from which the public opinion never really turned around from.

      There are actually some really amazing looking rebodies for Fieros, and the Archie V8 craddle kit for dropping in an LS1.

      Unfortunately, there are some really bad rebodies too, and that's pretty much what gets shown.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That Fierrari actually looks pretty good. It would be nice if Pontiac came out with a MR Solstice and called it a Fiero.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ^Quick way to cut car sales in half :P

        The general consensus in my area (could be very different elsewhere) is that Fiero = joke car, more or less, and you will be made fun of for driving one.

        Make a MR Solstice, make it not look like a cartoon, and give it real appeal :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      That Fiero - a versatile little guy, wasn't it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some women have fake breasts. Some men have fake Ferraris. This is what feminism has been fighting for all these years: Equality of the sexes. In this case, it is equal reliance on the fake.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I guess what really irritated the Italians is that they were collecting Fiero taxes on a car sold as a Ferrari - explains the "guardians of finance" guys standing next to the car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually like so many other models, when GM gets something right, they end production. I think they made vast impovements by the last couple of years, and it was a really fun car to drive. And the V8 conversions people did was just sick, every now and then I still think about picking up a used one. And I've seen some really good Lambo and Ferrari kits, you get what you pay for..... although I think people ask to much for them. (price) why would I pay more than 20K for look-a-like still running the original V6, I don't think so.... I think there is a greater market for kit cars, if they adjust their pricing. I've seen custom kits from 50-90K, how reliable are these things, fly by night companies, hard to find parts on some, you can't ask for a premium price on something like that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's no sunroof...how do you burp the tupperware?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fiero kit cars aren't uncommon, nor are people paying for them. A look-alike Ferrari with cheap(er) parts at a fraction of the price appeals to a lot of people. These things get very openly traded online, under the understanding that it is just a kitted up Fiero.

      Now, if they're trying to pass them off as authentic, shame on them and shame on whoever buys them.
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