NIFE History 1999-2000 By Jim Hallman

We have already reached our last segment reviewing the history of our club. Though only just a few years ago, let's begin with 1999 in our final segment.
Our January/February issue of Fiero Focus contained an index of all previous articles featured in our newsletter from January 1995 through November/December 1998. Our member, Tom Derr, compiled this index to assist members in solving the 'finding that article that you know you read somewhere, but just where was it' syndrome!
Little did he know what luck he would have later in the year, but Gene Keenan joined our club in late 1998 and on September 12, 1999, he would be announced as the winner of the first ever Fiero GT raffle that took place at Fierorama!
An article series began focusing in on the Fiero in miniature, toy form. Authored by Ray Paulk, these articles discussed all of the variations in Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Micro Machines, and model kits, among others. Ray is still considered the 'toy expert' in the world of Fiero.
April marked the grand opening celebration of Twin Lakes Fiero in Paxton, IL. Bob Steiger moved all of his Fiero parts and services from Loda to Paxton (just a few miles south) to a bigger building with better facilities to service Fiero Owners. Fiero Fest '99 helped mark this event with door prizes, a free lunch presented by Bob's wife, Gerry Kay and their family, local TV coverage, and of course, the opportunity to buy all of the Fiero parts you could bring home!
The May/June newsletter announced NIFE's intention to raffle off a 1986 Red Fiero GT in the world's first Fiero GT Raffle. What a concept! Tickets were only $5.00 each and only 500 tickets were sold. This idea was so well received, that all of the tickets were sold within 60 days - yet another innovative idea from our club!
The July/August issue announced that our newsletter was now a two-time Golden Quill Award winner. Old Cars Weekly magazine annually presents this award to car club newsletters that represent excellence in content and layout. The announcement was also made that our club was the recipient of the Best Club Display and Midwest Regional Traveling Trophy awarded at the Midwest Fiero Regionals/Dells Run event - talk about getting a big head!
August 16th was a sad day for NIFE as our member, Rich Warber, passed away after a battle with cancer. Rich is best known for his 450 HP, black chop-top, chromed V8 1986 Fiero GT. Rich's Fiero was a shoe-in for First Place at any car show he attended. His engineering talents and drag racing heritage were one of a kind. We still miss you, Rich!
Our cover story for the September/October Fiero Focus was from Al Wagner who had recently returned from a 7,331-mile trip to and back from Alaska. Al's catch to the story was that this trip was taken in his Fiero with over 234,000 miles already on it! Remember to keep this story handy the next time someone questions the reliability of the Fiero! Al averaged 39.5 miles per gallon with his high-end geared 4 cylinder 1984 Fiero Economy Coupe. Only one quart of oil was used on this 14-day excursion!
Our Fierorama attendance reached over 135 Fieros marking our event as the biggest gathering of Fieros of any event taking place in 1999, even despite another occurrence of rain!
As our calendar changed from nine's to zero's, so NIFE changed as well. With our Y2K crises never coming to fruition, a full color cover was put in place to continue our ongoing improvements with the best Fiero newsletter in the Fiero world.
The year 2000 marked our first participation in the World Of Wheels custom car show in Chicago that took place in early February. Our club display consisted of some of our most highly modified Fieros to the likes of Jason Crow, V8 Archie, Lothar Bacher, Jeanette Warber, and Paul Vargyas - all of which were trophy winners.
The year 2000 saw the explosion of popularity in the summer cruise nights in the 'burb's of Chicago. What began years ago in Downers Grove and Elmhurst, had exploded to include over seven other villages presenting cruise nights - most were/still are sponsored by Rally Insurance that specializes in collector car insurance. Just about every night of the week, somewhere in the suburbs, a cruise night is held allowing classic car owners the opportunity to show off their pride and joy in a non-competitive gathering. Did you make it to a cruise night this past summer?
2000 also marked our third golden quill award as presented by Old Cars Weekly magazine - we were on a roll!
The cable TV series Motor Sports Unlimited highlighted NIFE and the Fiero twice in 2000 - once at the World Of Wheels show and a second time focusing in on the shop and workings of our own V8 Archie. This was fantastic publicity for the Fiero in our local environment!
A change in Board Membership took place when Byron Daugherty resigned as our Webmaster and was replaced by Ken Pittman and Bill Klicker. Byron brought our club to the forefront of Fiero web design back in 1996 when the Internet was 'new' and still in its infancy. Thanks to Bill Klicker and Ken Pittman, our website has been updated and revamped for the new millennium!
Membership in 2000 reached over 350 members where it has stood for the past few years. What impressive growth has taken place since our humble beginnings of 14 members back in 1991.
Fierorama was yet another success with over 130 Fieros participating despite what has become another annual event for us; rain! The new highlight this year was the V8 Archie 'V8 Kit Raffle'. Over 180 tickets were sold with Mike Kroyer (our Meet A Member author) holding the winning ticket for the prize.
Paul Vargyas, Mike Kroyer, and Paula Ton organized and executed a Fierorama 2000 video compiled of an interview of each and every participant describing their Fiero - what a feat! This video was then sold as a fundraiser for the club.
The 2000 Fierorama manifested the Rich Warber Best Of Show Award presented to the one Fiero voted as the Best by the people's choice. This award is voted on annually by the guests and non-drivers of the Fieros in attendance. This was to honor Rich Warber, the pioneer of the chop-top Fiero, a true automotive engineer who passed away in August of 1999.
The period of 1999-2000 was highlighted with minor tweaks and improvements to keep our momentum going. As we begin our second decade in 2001, we look forward to keeping the Fiero excitement rolling with new events, new newsletter features, new friends, and new members combined with your favorite events of the past ten years, your favorite Fiero Focus award winning features, and your old Fiero friends you have been able to get to know better over the past decade. I hope you have enjoyed this NIFE history series - we'll do it again in another 10 years!

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