Fiero Crash Results by Phil Stevens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sometimes I think my 5 foot 6 inch, 120 lb., 20 year old daughter is Fiero's official crash tester. When she was 16 she tipped her first one (white ‘84SE Automatic Transmission) over on its top when she fell asleep and ended up in a ditch. The car landed on its top and she on the headliner. Don't be silly, of course she wasn't wearing her seat belt...16 year olds are bulletproof. The car remained running and she used the switches to lower the electric windows (or is that raise them when you are upside down?) A passing motorist crawled back in the car and shut it off. After the Sheriff arrived and contacted us, a wrecker helped turn the car right side up. As a result, two tires went flat due to being forced off the aluminum rims. A friend and I used a small hydraulic jack and some 2 x 4s to jack the roof back up where it belonged, had a new windshield installed (about $200), but the headliner was never the same. The car sat in the hot July sun for about a week and damned if all the plastic panels didn't relax and heal right before our eyes! Despite having the oil sucked into the muffler and who knows where else, the engine started easily after getting new oil and new transmission fluid. It sure smoked for a while though when the catalytic converter got hot! I took my daughter to the hospital emergency room in the middle of the night, but luckily she was unhurt except for a nick on her finger from the shattered windshield. She drove the car for about 3 months until a ball bearing somehow got down the throttle body and into the pistons. I gave the salvage to a friend who wanted the new tires and aluminum wheels for his ‘84 SE.
Her next event was with a 1988 Formula, also automatic. First she T-boned a taxi downtown one night and destroyed the front fascia, but her lights still worked, so she drove it home. They took the taxi (Chevy Caprice, I think) away on an auto hauler. We got a new front clip from the junkyard, but before I could get it on she let her boyfriend drive it and he ran a stoplight downtown and they were broad-sided by a Dodge Ram pickup going about 40 mph; it was a direct hit on the passenger door. Of course she was sitting in the passenger seat this time with no seat belt on. The car was turned around 180 degrees and slammed into the side of a building. The impact did $1500 worth of damage to the granite side of the building and completely crushed the front end of the Dodge Ram setting off the air bag. The insurance agent said the Ram had $6500 worth of damage. Luckily, both she and boyfriend walked away. The passenger door was pushed in 2 and a half feet, the coolant tube was broken and frame bent so it sort of crab- walked. A friend with a trailer got it from the wrecking yard where the police had it towed. He drove it on the trailer, we backed it off and drove it up the driveway and into the garage. The car was too badly damaged for me, so I gave it to one of the roofing crew employees who did my roof this spring. He wanted the engine, with the promise that he'd return the wheels and tires to me. He somehow fixed the car and got a duplicate license plate which I had removed, and used it to rob a bank 6 weeks later. Since it was still titled to my daughter (I held the title to give him when he returned the wheels) we heard from the police shortly after the bank robbery. They impounded the car and notified us we could reclaim it but buying new wheels and tires would have been cheaper than the impound costs. The City of Des Moines now owns that Fiero, I guess. My roofer is now in jail with his accomplice awaiting trial.
Next, we found my daughter a 1987 GT and this time, bless her heart, the accident wasn't her fault. She was sitting at a stoplight...stopped...on her way to work one rainy day this past July while I was in Maine fishing (Maine is 1400 miles from my home) when a meat delivery truck lost his brakes and rear ended her at about 25 mph. She was minding her own business....yeah, you guessed it without her seat belt on...when she noticed the wing go flying over the front of the car and slide into the intersection and the cross traffic. She jumped out of the car and ran out into the traffic to retrieve her wing as that was the only thing on her mind and she reports wondering what had caused the wing to do that. The horrified look on the face of a motorist who had stopped in the middle of the intersection was her first clue that she had been hit. The back bumper was pushed in the middle about a foot and an aluminum ball bat that belonged to her boyfriend was in the luggage compartment was bent so badly I had to use a crow bar to get it out. She and her mother tied the trunk down with some clothesline rope and she drove it to work for almost a month until I got home. She complained that the ‘door ajar’ light was on all the time, so I cut the ground wire. The tail lights and stop lights worked perfectly despite the deep dent in the lower panel. She did miss a couple days work from this accident, however, and she did get whiplash. But thankfully, no bones were broken and she seems to be healing well now. An occasional chiropractic treatment seems to keep her feeling all right too. The insurance settlement for the car was just slightly more than we had in its purchase price and repairs I performed. So, we bought an '85 GT with it – a 4-speed with just 50,000 miles on it and never through the recall.
Yes she does pay a lot for insurance, but since these last two accidents were not chargeable to her (I'll always think letting that boyfriend drive the formula was a serious enough lapse of judgement to make that one at least partly her fault) the rates did drop significantly the last renewal period. She's going to be 21 in March and now wears her seat belt most of the time. She also drives much more carefully and does not let others drive her car. I have hopes this ’85 GT will last her a good long time, and while helping her shop for a new car, I found a silver ‘88 Formula for myself. I have to say that personal experience has taught me that Fieros are certainly crash safe. I hope her testing days are over!
Phil Stevens – taken off the Internet