Mary's Fier by Alex Gabbard (posted 2/21/23)
See Photoes here
Original owner of this 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT, VIN 1G2PG1191JP211587, monochrome yellow with grey cloth interior purchased December 15, 1988.
This 1988 golden yellow Fiero GT was ordered through the Pontiac dealership in Oak Ridge, TN with all options except leather interior. It was a gift to Mary, my wife, a beautiful fashion model who returned to college to graduate later with a 4.0 average. She and the car were subjects of many photo shoots, with the car remaining her regular driver to accrue 57,175 odometer miles of local driving. Beginning about 2010, her failing health left the car rarely used as my driver of six miles to and from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, my employer, and was stored for extended periods of time, resulting in the engine requiring rebuild. Rebuilding the original engine back to showroom form was completed by Beatty Chevrolet of Knoxville, TN during 2020 who also installed driveline components with new replacements, including refurbishing the brakes. Accrued costs of almost $7,000 made the car roadworthy, but rarely driven. The car has been repainted, an insurance claim due to body damage by thieves attempting to steal the car from our driveway when near new, and a second repainting from a minor bump-up requiring replacement of the nose. Faults of the car include the gasoline and temperature gages reading inaccurately, not corrected or repaired due to the dealership closing. Secondly, the remote accessed engine cover latch mechanism failed, the trunk light bracket is broken, and Beatty Chevrolet service personnel were unable to locate an A/C condenser to repair a fluid leak that remained unrepaired. Driven about 200 miles since engine rebuild, this Fiero remains lightly used.
Lack of use resulted in this Fiero attracting mice that chewed engine wiring such that the car would not start. Back to Beatty Chevrolet, the wiring system was replaced during February. Also, I had located a new, direct replacement A/C condenser that corrected the faulty system. Costs were almost $2,500. I drove this car home Feb. 18, it performing properly and attracting attention from motorists, as usual.
When the Fiero was introduced, production mid-engine 2-seat sports cars were rare, with the Fiero (2M4) a new venture by GM far along from the rear engine 4-passenger Corvair of the early 1960s, although most successful racing cars were engine behind the driver by then. Construction was also a new venture; a substructure steel cage that plastic body panels, rather than steel, were attached to. The first Fiero GT was produced as a 1985 model with GM's 140 hp, fuel injected 2.8-liter (171 cubic inch) V-6, a 50% step up in power from the first generation Iron Duke inline 4-cylinder. Body styling, however, remained as introduced and helped keep Fiero reputation lackluster, often cited as cute, an economy commuter, even with the sensational racing performed by the Dole Pineapple GTU team of Fieros that were highly competitive in class. With the V-6, GT styling was derived from the Fiero Indy Car package that added aerodynamic features and eye-catching graphics. With the engine and transmission unit transverse behind the driver, shifting the transmission was considered less than expected with further evaluation that the driveline needed a 5-speed transmission, and some magazines published scathing reviews of the cars, reviews that seemed to me to be more complaining that the cars were not exotics.
I drove new Fieros in each of its model years as tests for possible purchase, and given the price of a GT that out performed a Ferrari 308 at many times the price, I considered the Fiero a bargain, especially so for local service availability. Then, for 1987, new body styling made the GT really appealing to me, but continuing with the 4-speed transmission postponed a purchase. The following model, 1988, a new 5-speed transmission and improved suspension continued with swoopy styling that, upon first drive, convinced me that a Fiero GT was a lot of car for the money, particularly so for wanting to do something special for Mary, a beautiful sports car just for her. In secrecy, I ordered this car and presented it to her during one of her karate classes (she achieved the rank of black belt). Her instructor stopped the class and everyone went out to see the car that drew many compliments. As an "old" college student and a fashion model, Mary loved her Fiero and drove it for the next twenty years with my occasional stints behind the wheel. Mary died May 30, 2020. Her Fiero has remained in my care since then. With memories of her and her Fiero from that time so clear, it is difficult to put into perspective that it all began 35 years ago.
by Alex Gabbard
The year 2022 is the 90th anniversary of the all-time classic 1932 Ford. I put together this information about that model year. I hope you find it interesting. Loren Lesh
Henry Ford manufactured the Model T for years with few improvements along the way. He looked upon the car as an appliance. He figured that you make a product and if you made it well and the public bought it, there was no need to change it regularly. Henry's son, Edsel, took over the company and he understood the consumer's mind better. He knew the customers would buy a car that was modern and had the latest improvements. Edsel introduced the Model A which was much more up-to-date and it sold from 1928 through 1931.
Back in the 1920s, my grandfather bought a Locomobile touring car. Since he lived in a small town in western North Carolina, he had it shipped there on a railroad freight car. When it arrived, the crates were taken to the local blacksmith for assembly. Most of the pieces were already put together, but the major components had to go together so he could drive it. Ford Motor Company had already perfected the assembly line and by 1932, Ford had 32 assembly plants in America plus another 17 overseas plants in places like Australia, Canada, and Europe. There was no longer the need for assembly after sale.
Ford came out with an all-new car for 1932. There were several improvements but the one that received the most attention was the flathead V8 engine, because none of the other low priced cars had a V8. Chevrolet had introduced a six cylinder engine and Plymouth continued to use its successful four cylinder powerplant. After years of Ford dominance, Chevrolet had outsold Ford in 1931, so Ford was eager to really update its new model in an attempt to regain its number one sales ranking. Some of the improvements included improving the suspension as well as changing from the 19 inch Model A wheel to an 18 inch unit. These two changes along with some body changes made the car lower and more sleek. The '32 was the first year that the radiator was covered with a grille to give the front end a modern look.
The four cylinder engine was still produced, but improvements included a 10 pound heavier crankshaft which allowed for higher RPMs, plus an increase in compression ratio. Their first use of rubber engine mounts made for a smoother operation. The improved four cylinder showed a gain of 25 percent more horsepower than the previous Model A engine. At 200 cubic inches, the Ford was larger than Chevy's 194 cubic inch 6 cylinder and Plymouth's 196 four cylinder, but had less horsepower than either competitor.
Ford's V8 had twice the number of cylinders as their four cylinder, but at 221 cubic inches it only showed a 10 percent increase in displacement and 30 percent more horsepower over the improved four cylinder. There was a major overheating problem with the new V8. To try to fix this problem, Ford improved the radiator and changed from a 2 blade fan to a 4 blade unit. Also shortly into the production run, Ford changed from 20 hood louvers to 25 louvers per side which helped with the cooling problem. The Ford water pumps worked incorrectly because they sucked the water through the engine instead of pushing it. This problem was not fully solved until the 1937 model when the pump was relocated. Because of working on the overheating problem, Ford was not able to introduce the new cars until March 10th. This gave their competitors a few months of unopposed sales of their models.
When the Fords were introduced, there were 9 models from which to choose. These included roadsters, coupes and sedans. Commercial trucks were counted separately and the wood body station wagons were part of the truck line ( but only 334 station wagons were manufactured ). The four cylinder Model B sold 89,036 and the Model 18 with the V8 sold more than twice as many at 193,891.
From the beginning, Fords were just another car. Chevrolet outsold them, but Ford sold more than Plymouth to round out the low-priced three manufacturers. The popularity of the 1932 Fords mainly increased following World War II. Our soldiers and sailors returned home from the war and they wanted new cars. There were few new vehicles to be had because automobile production had stopped during the war and was just slowly returning. People had to buy used cars, and cars from the early 1930s were plentiful. Also these older models were easier to modify to increase their speed. Drivers would remove the fenders and running boards to make their car lighter and would modify the flathead V8s for more power. The hot rod was born.
The '32 Fords have always been sought after for hot rod material. The first hot rods were the lighter roadsters and coupes, but eventually all models were modified. Because of its popularity, in recent years several manufacturers have built replacement parts for all '32 cars, including both fiberglass or steel bodies and body parts. You can look through their catalogs and buy all the parts needed to build a complete car. So I guess you could say there are more 1932 Fords on the road today than there were in 1932.
When attending car shows we always see all types and years of vehicles, but it is really out of the ordinary to see an unmodified and fully restored 1932, but they would stand out like a hip flask in a bikini.
My 1st car has probably been crushed and recycled by now. Story is mostly true, the car had 172,000 miles on it and it was a two tone green convertible. He drove it for 62 years till he was 88. Interesting read on how they made and tested these cars back in the 1920’s, and made here in the U.S.. Didn’t know Rolls Royce’s were ever made in the U.S. Wonder how much today’s cars would cost if they built and tested them like this? Today Rolls Royce are still hand made in Goodwood, England.
See =>Rolls-Royce Company, Springfield, MA
Rolls Royce Phantom 1928....
This person had a great start in life, an early exotic present. Mr. Allen Swift: Born - 1908, Died - 2010
This man owned and drove the same car for 82 years.
Can you imagine even having the same car for 82 years ?
Mr. Allen Swift (Springfield, Massachusetts) received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father, brand new - as a graduation gift in 1928.
He drove it up until his death... At the age of 102.
He was the oldest living owner of a car that was purchased new.
Just thought you'd like to see it.
Rolls Royce Phantom I 1928
It was donated to a Springfield museum after his death.
It has 1,070,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition.
82 years - That's approximately 13,048 miles per year (1087 per month).
1,070,000 that's miles not kilometers. (Thats 1,721,998 Kilometers.)
That's British engineering of a bygone era.
I don't think they make them like this anymore