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Meet-A-Member of the Month
Paul Ackerman
As read in the March/April 2015 Issue
By: Mike Kroyer
City: Evans State: GA Year: 1988 Model: GT Mileage: 59,750
Engine: 2.8L V6 Transmission: 5-speed Ext. Color: Red Interior Color: Grey Power Windows: Yes
A/C: Yes Power Locks: Yes Power Mirrors: Yes    


When I first wrote this, I had a white, 5-speed, Ď87 GT. One jacked-up Ford F-250 pick up in a 55 mph construction zone and now five months later, I have a red, 5-speed Ď88 GT; but more about that later.

The Fiero came out while I was in college. Although beautiful, I wasn't overly interested in cars at the time. My Datsun 210 was enough to get me back and forth and, to be honest, I didn't know cars could be fun. After all, I had a base model Datsun 210!

Now, letís jump to the 1990ís. I still thought Fieros were beautiful, but impractical, and my '87 Plymouth Sundance was getting me around. Then a guy at work said he was going to get his daughter a Fiero for school because she couldn't load the car with all of her friends. For some reason that conversation came back to me in 2013 when it was time to get my daughter a car. I did some research and found out Fieros are safe and available. This assertion was tested fairly well by the incident with the F-250 mentioned above.

In September 2013 we purchased an '87 GT from a guy on the other side of Atlanta who brings Fieros back to life. The car was clean, A/C worked, and everything seemed good to perfect. We picked the car up after geocaching in the only Georgia State Park we had not yet visited and drove the two-plus hours back home. It was a blast to drive and averaged over 31mpg. The engine revved cleanly well past the 6000 rpm red line. Everyone who drove it, including the minister down the street, put the tachometer well into the red before shifting. The engine just did not protest! Maybe not the best car for my daughter, but it had about as much horsepower as a modern Nissan Sentra; this is just one of the reasons I purchased a Fiero. The others are: it had a manual transmission, the right price, safety, and two-passenger convenience for my daughter to drive to school and back. She learned how to drive a stick shift and even pulled out cleanly in 3rd gear when the select cable unraveled. We put about 2,000 miles on the car after purchasing it.

I had a lot to learn, which was interesting since I was not mechanically inclined. Lucky for me, my wife had a coworker in the Navy who wanted to be a mechanic. When the car made a terrible noise he came over and diagnosed the water pump as the issue. We replaced it along with the belts. That gave me the confidence to replace the alternator, the select cable, and the clutch slave cylinder when they went out. Other than that there were only a couple of other issues that arose.

Another story about driving the Fiero was when I was helping out at a car show with the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) Mustang Club. My wife has a 2011 Mustang V6, 6-speed manual convertible that is unique because itís the only one in the CSRA Mustang Club and is still stock. So instead of bringing the Mustang, I brought the Fiero. They lined me up with the Mustangs, so when they raised their hoods, I raised mine. It looked pretty funny with all the V8s being shown off and my hood flipped the other way. The Mustang owners parked next to me were shocked my car didn't get an award because more folks talked to me than them. Last year I brought my '88 Fiero GT to the show. Lots of folks stopped by and relived memories.

We currently own the Mustang and a Ď08 Toyota Siena CE. From 1996 until 2011, I owned a Ď96 Pontiac Sunfire convertible with a 2.5L and manual transmission. I still miss that car. If I had a lousy day I could put the top down and feel as if I was baptized in the sun. 

My dream car has always been the Corvette ever since seeing them at a garage called Corvette Corner in Hialeah, FL when I was five or six. Even used, the Corvette dream kept me from studying a few times while I was attending Florida State; however, the Mustang is ruining that dream because it's not a lot of fun to drive. There's no excitement getting up to speed. The Mustang can do 60 mph in second gear and doesn't get near the redline until 70 mph. Although a beautiful car, there's no thrill in driving it. Would a Corvette be as un-exhilarating?

In January 2014, the day after I joined NIFE, my daughter pulled out in front of the F-250 mentioned above. She and her sister are fine, but their guardian angels are getting exhausted. My oldest had to wear an immobilizer on her left knee and had a scratch on her forehead as if she bumped into a tree. My youngest had a cut on her left hand like she had fallen off her bike. Both were sore from the seatbelts, my youngest saying it felt like a bad gymnastics work-out. It is amazing they are both fine, thank God and Jesus. The county lowered the speed limit on that road the next week after the accident.

In May 2014 I purchased a Ď88 Fiero GT as a daily driver. My daughter is now driving the minivan. This Fiero's interior is near perfect, but I've had some mechanical problems. The distributor went out on the way to work and later the catalytic converter had to be replaced. I havenít made many modifications to this Fiero yet. I am mostly fixing what breaks at this point, but I did put in keyless entry. OK, fine, I didn't really do it. I actually paid an Army mechanic to do it for me at his house and he ended up showing me how to do it myself. He only charged me $15, so I over tipped him more than that. Getting the mechanical aspects working has prevented me from making other modifications like the keyless entry. Still, I managed to enjoy my first SCCA event at the Michelin Proving Grounds in Laurens, SC. I had a blast and I expect to enjoy it again next year. There's just something about the way a Fiero drives.

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