Tom’s Corner – Staying cool for the 35th

It all started when the preparation for getting The Rattler down to East Peoria Illinois for the 35th anniversary show was done. Or so I thought. I took the car in to have the ignition checked as well as the alternator and battery and it was determined that the battery needed replacement which was done. This was on August 1st.

Upon returning home from the shop, by boss called and said there was a leak on the floor of the shop which was caused by refrigerant coming from the evaporator. So, I took the Fiero back the next day, August 2nd and it was decided to get a new evaporator as soon as possible so a new one was located in Texas and flown up next day for installation on Monday, August 6th, just two days before heading down to East Peoria. So, I had the recharge of R-12 put in and made it down to the show without any problems, or so I thought. The compressor seals were leaking badly I found out later and luckily, we made it back home with cool air.

When we returned home on August 12th, I made sure I could get in the shop the next day to have a new compressor installed. On August 13th, the transformation took place which entailed evacuating the R-12 refrigerant and flushing out everything in the system to convert to R-134 which is a lot less expensive to replace. The accumulator, compressor, orifice tube, seals, drains, fittings and service valves were all replaced. Pag oil and dye was added to lubricate the system and check for future leaks.

The conversion from the old refrigerant I believe was a good decision since the system is 32 years old and since I had to replace everything, I am now satisfied I did the right thing.

Late Breaking News!

Another speaker has been added to the list of Distinguished Speakers appearing in the Poncho Perfection Hall of Fieros from 7:00pm – 10:00pm this coming Saturday the 11th of August!

Ben Scheiwe was Assigned to the original TEAM FIERO as PMD financial liaison specialist from the initial concept approval process through prototype build to the preliminary product and facilities planning initiation and build out.

Later, he helped launch PONTIAC MOTORSPORTS! His management responsibilities included direct Interface with sanctioning bodies NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, IMSA, SCCA, and, USAC!

FIERO Motorsports Specific experience includes IMSA and, SCCA team development, coordination and, promotion. He was part of the 1984 INDY 500 Pace Car Program.

Later, he was involved in Fiero aftermarket and prototype work including the PPG Pace Car Body.

Saturday night! Where will you be?

Tom’s Corner – It’s the Final Countdown!


The Homestretch for the 35th !
By Tom Schmidt
This will be THE place for the Fiero community to experience the largest gathering of Fieros in the last five years and we hope to see you there with your car. The Rattler will be displayed indoors in the Poncho Perfection Hall of Fieros
The Rattler has been maintained by Advance Auto Air Inc for many years. This is the company where I have worked since 2003 a public relations director in many diverse capacities since retiring from the petroleum industry after 45 years of service.

Have you pre-registered for this show? Online registration has been extended through the 29th of July, so you need to do so as soon as possible. You do not to miss out on all the events planned for this event. Have you volunteered yet to help out at the 35th? If not contact ASAP as opportunities are filling up.

The Rattler

The Rattler

Fiero 35th – Don’t leave the kids at home.

Join us at the 35th Anniversary Fiero Car Show for fun family activities!!

First, the 35th Anniversary Fiero Cruise – Friday, August 10th, 2018 to Pontiac, Illinois. Family activities in Pontiac include:
• A mural scavenger hunt.
• Decorated art cars, located all around the square, for kids to sit in and pretend to “drive”.
• Two beautiful local parks:
o Along the Vermillion River with a swinging bridge and a playground that is walking distance from downtown.
o Chautauqua Park boasts two historic swinging bridges, a playground, and a disk golf course. Chautauqua Park is located outside of downtown Pontiac but is walkable.

On Saturday, August 11th, 2018 bring your kids to the 35th Anniversary Fiero Kid’s Zone. Fiero Kid Zone activities are free and open from 10am – 3pm in the Convention Center.

Fiero Kid’s Zone activities include:
• Fiero Kid’s Zone coloring books with pictures and games.
• Decorate small cardboard Fiero cut-outs that kids can color and keep.
• Children and adults, have your picture taken with the LIFE SIZE FIERO CAR cut-out.
• Enjoy coloring with chalk on a Fiero car hood.
• Be part of the voting for Kid’s Choice – Favorite Fiero Car and Kid’s Choice Favorite Fiero Go-Cart.

Join us Saturday evening from 6pm – 8pm in the Convention Center hallway, for Hot Wheels Car Races! One free Hot Wheels car will be given to each child who participates.

To enjoy the fun activities, volunteer staff will be available to assist the children. In order to make the day enjoyable, children must be supervised by a parent while participating in the Fiero Kid’s Zone activities.

Fiero 35th – Online Registration Extended!

Due to the extreme demand this week (over 30 registrations in the past few days) we have decided to extend Pre-Registration until July 29th! Don’t miss out joining a few hundred of your fellow Fiero owners and admirers.

A large team of volunteers have been busy planning a great event for you to enjoy!

Wednesday Night – August 8, 2018
At 5:00pm, the show committee looks forward to gathering early-bird attendees for a reception in the hotel lobby. Each evening, the Embassy Suites hosts a complimentary reception featuring light snacks and beverages for hotel guests in the hotel’s atrium. Those not staying at the hotel are also welcome to participate and purchase beverages from the hotel bar. This early-bird reception on Wednesday will be the “official” beginning of our events.

Thursday – August 10, 2018
For those arriving on Thursday, Registration, Classification and Merchandise Sales will be up and running! Arriving on Thursday will give you time to settle in and prepare for a scenic dinner cruise. We will depart from our host hotel at 4:00pm to drive along the lovely Grand View Drive that runs the bluff area that borders the Illinois River to take in the scenic sites and provide several photo opportunities for owners to capture their Fieros against a beautiful backdrop.
The cruise will take us about 30 miles on a 30-45 minute drive to “The 50s Diner” in Metro Center (Peoria) where we will meet up with the friendly Central Illinois Cruisers (a local car club) for a joint cruise night. We will have a special section of the parking lot specifically reserved for our Fieros; The 50s Diner is looking forward to providing us with a great meal! What better way to kick off your first full day of celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Pontiac Fiero than with food, fun and Fieros?
Upon returning from the cruise, festivities will shift to the show field parking lot where we anticipate a reprisal of the famous “Circle of Shame” being held in conjunction with an opportunity to see what your Fiero weighs thanks to Schwa MotorSports ( The weigh-ins will take place at the west end of show field parking lot from 9:00pm – 11:00pm (and 8:00pm – 10:00pm on Friday, August 10, 2018).

Friday – August 10, 2018
Our Classification and Registration volunteers expect to have a full day on Friday and we strongly recommend you take the time to grab your special 35th Anniversary related merchandise on Friday too at the Merchandise Sales table! Some items will be limited in quantity at the actual show; any remaining items will be available for post-show shipping (for an additional fee).
Our last article gave an extensive review of the “Fieros on Route 66” event. If you missed it, you need to know that this event will give you the opportunity to drive your Fiero on historic Route 66 and experience the Pontiac-Oakland Museum in Pontiac, IL. The Museum will be giving special tours to Fiero owners and the town is excited to host our contingent of Fiero owners.
Groups will be able to return from Pontiac, IL at their own leisure. If you make it back by 5:00pm, you can take part in the Embassy Suites complimentary evening reception before heading out to dinner with Fiero friends or just stay at the hotel for a Fiero tailgate party with food trucks in the show field parking lot. At 8:00pm, the Midwest Fiero Clubs will host a judging school that will prepare participating judges for the points judged classes on show day. All 35th Anniversary event participants are welcome to join in and listen to the judging school seminar.
From 10:30pm – 11:30pm it’s time for “Friday Night Lights”, a one-hour lighting contest sponsored by Black Top Racing which will be held out in the show field parking lot.

Saturday – August 11, 2018
Saturday is the BIG day of the event – one that is filled with the car show, Kid’s Zone activities and an evening of special guest speakers. If you’re bringing your young Fiero enthusiasts to the car show, we will have a special Kid’s Zone where you can work with your kids and help them create special Fiero-related arts and crafts. All kids will also have the opportunity to judge the Fiero Go-Kart class, as well as select their own Fiero favorites on the show field.

Following the culmination of the car show (“official” show hours are from 10:00am – 3:00pm), join in for the evening’s complimentary reception and an evening meal during the tailgate party out in the show field parking lot; several food trucks are planned to be on site. Following dinner, participants are invited to Poncho Perfection Magazine’s Hall of Fieros at 7:00pm to hear an outstanding lineup of guest speakers.

So register now at

John Callies Returns

At the Midwest Fiero Clubs Region of the AACA we’re busy putting together a list of Fiero celebrity guest speakers for the the Fiero 35th Anniversary Celebration sponsored by Blacktop Racing. Reprising his appearance at the Fiero 30th Anniversary Celebration is John Callies. John is a 20 year veteran with General Motors in the Pontiac Division. The last 15 years he headed up Pontiac Motorsports Engineering.

John 30th

John Callies speaking at the Fiero 30th Anniversary Celebration in Indianapolis, Indiana.

John spoke to us at the 30th anniversary and shared with us his build in progress, the Che’Pon P557. The car was later finished and even managed to sneak into a Midwestern Fiero show! The car is an absolutely stunning work of art.

This year John Callies will be joined by John J Paskvan a Pontiac engineer instrumental in the development of he Fiero. We are working on adding more guests to the discussion and we will announce more names as soon as we can.

Register now at

To learn more about MWFC and the Fiero 35th Anniversary Celebration please visit:

Tom’s Corner – The Rattler is ready for the 35th!


The Rattler at the 35TH!!

YES, The Rattler will be coming to the 35th anniversary show in East Peoria, Illinois on August 8th-12th 2018! I created this unique Fiero in 1996 to compete at the Fiero Owners Club of America national Fiero show in Indianapolis Indiana where is won 1st in class. It then went on to win national titles in Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, Collinsville, Illinois, Osage Beach, Missouri, and Pontiac, Michigan. It has been driven on race courses at Road America, Gateway International, Michigan International speedways and Tom has driven racing cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Pomona California as well as vintage race cars and open wheeled formula race cars at Road America.

The Rattler will be displayed in doors at the Hall of Champions at the Embassy Suites during the 35th anniversary show. Some of the modifications to look for when viewing this Fiero are: Sprint F-1 racing headers, Holley side induction intake system, K7N air filter, over bored throttle body, four tuned exhaust megaphones, six Hi-rise velocity stacks recurved 70 degrees for additional heat venting, nine inch wing stands on the rear wing, unique custom rear NASCAR spoiler, chromed EGR valve, heat shields, vapor cannister, cooling lines, map sensor and intake tube, top strut tower brace, black ‘HEMI’ powder coated intake and valve covers, Hypertech performance chip, chromed breather cap, Koni rear sway bar, 140mph speedometer, Millani wheel rims with Toyo Z rated tires, Earl’s braided brake lines, Y-99 competition suspension, 4 core radiator with racing guard, M&R competition seat belts and shoulder harnesses, custom diagonal roll bar with fire bottle, custom pin striping and vinyl graphics by Pegasus Auto Racing, custom front spoiler, original paint and trim, fuel pressure gauge, Monroe shocks and struts, and custom ‘unplugged’ exhaust system. The Rattler has been featured in many newspaper, magazine and internet articles and has won over 110 awards in its lifetime including ‘Best in Show’ In St. Louis Missouri and ‘Best in Show’ in Davenport Iowa.

The 35th anniversary show will bring out the best Fieros from around the nation and Canada in the last five years and this show is going to be the ‘go to place to be’ to view Fieros in 26 classes, so plan to be a part of this event with your Fiero. The Rattler will be there with the crew chief so bring your camera and don’t miss this opportunity to be with the Fiero community!

Is Your Fiero Model Ready Yet?

As part of the Fiero 35th Anniversary Celebration sponsored by Blacktop Racing, Midwest Fiero Clubs will have a Model Car Concours contest! If you’re not ready there is still plenty of time. The celebration runs from August 8th through the 12th in Peoria, Illinois.

Complete rules and class descriptions for the model contest are available HERE.

It is not required that you register your model in advance but, if you’d like to email

If you need to register your car you can do so now at

To learn more about the Midwest Fiero Clubs and the Fiero 35th Anniversary please visit:

Fiero 35th Anniversary, Recognizes May 8th 1981

Fiero 35th Anniversary

Press Photo From the Collections of the Pontiac-Oakland Museum.

As the Fiero 35th Anniversary prepares to celebrate the history of the Fiero we ask: Where were you on May 8th 1981? On that day a lucky few automotive journalists got their first glimpse of Pontiac’s prototype “P-Car”. It appeared on General Motor’s test track at Milford, Michigan. Continued development of the P-Car gave birth to the Fiero.

Where will you be August 8th through the 12th, 2018? That’s when the years largest gathering of Fieros will come together. The Fiero 35th Anniversary Celebration sponsored by Blacktop Racing is a can’t miss. It will also be the largest gathering of Fiero prototypes and racing vehicles that have come together in years.

To be part of Fiero history register now at

To learn more about Midwest Fiero Clubs and the Fiero 35th Anniversary please visit:

Fiero 35th – Celebrate Fiero Racing History!

We are excited to celebrate Fiero racing at the Fiero 35th Anniversary presented by Black Top Racing!

Racing has been a part of Fiero history since almost the conception of the Fiero. A huge part of the first model year 1984 was the Indy Pace Car replica edition. Of course, having a replica means that there was a specially prepared Fiero Indy Pace Car that could stand up to the task of leading the Indy 500. The man tasked to put together a Fiero that would meet the specifications for pacing the prestigious race was Lead Engineering Manager of Pontiac Motorsports, John Callies. Callies developed a 2.7L Super Duty 4 cylinder capable of putting out 232 horsepower propelling the car to a record-breaking 144mph four-lap average. 3 cars were prepared for pace car duties in the event that anything one of the cars developed an issue. Callies himself drove the pace car for the 1984 Indianapolis 500 won by Penske Team Driver Rick Mears. After the race Fiero Pace Car #2 was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Fiero Pace Car #1 was returned back to GM and is now part of the Heritage Center Collection, and Fiero Pace Car #3 was contracted to join the PPG Indy Car World Series Pace Car Fleet. It is reported that winning driver Rick Mears wanted to take home one of the actual Fiero Pace Cars, but unfortunately all were spoken for and he was awarded one of the replicas.

The Fiero Indy Pace Car #3 started pace car duties with PPG in June 1984 in essentially the same form as it participated in the Indy 500 with various graphics changes and a few extra safety upgrades. At the end of the 1985 Indycar race season, Fiero Pace Car #3 had a major makeover with the addition of a DGP Aero Widebody, custom experimental paint, and engine upgrades that brought the engine horsepower up to 280 HP. Fiero Pace Car #3 remained active with the PPG Pace Car Fleet until mid-season 1987, pacing several Indycar races in the United States and Canada when the car was retired. The car remained in the PPG storage warehouse until 1989 when PPG and GM donated the car to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago to become a permanent display with in the Race Car Room at the museum. The car was put on display in a climate controlled glass enclosure that contained a lighted sign with some misleading information that described the history of the car inaccurately. In 2007, access was granted into the glass enclosure to document the car. It was this research trip that verified that the car was in fact the lost Indy Pace Car #3. In 2009, the museum decided to sell off a fairly large lot of their inventory at auction due to budget shortfalls caused by the reduction of state funding. The Fiero Pace Car was sent to Brookline, MA to be auctioned off in a non-running and very dirty state of condition. Midwest Fiero Clubs President Fred Bartemeyer Jr obtained a bidder number with the aid of two other Fiero Enthusiasts to be able to purchase the car and continues to preserve the large amount of history that accompanies the car. Fred will be displaying this special Fiero in the Poncho Perfection Hall of Fieros.

Indy Pace Car #3

Indy Pace Car #3 back on the track at the Fiero 30th Anniversary

The re-purposed Indy Pace Car #3 was not the only Fiero involved in the CART Indy Car World Series, though. PPG Industries and Autostyle Industries also sponsored a Precision Driving Team made up of 6 specially prepared Fieros. These were truly the first Fiero fastbacks shown to the public featuring a European influenced body design giving the six cars a very unique look. They were all painted six different colors in experimental pearlescent effects to showcase PPG’s new future product lines. A team of women drivers would “warm up the crowd” showcasing their driving skills in the 6 Fieros before each Indycar race as part of the pre-race festivities. At the end of the Precision Driving Team tenure, the six cars were donated to various vocational schools through out the upper Midwest area in 1989. The donation distribution of the six cars were administered through the GM Vocational Donation Program by PPG and Pontiac Motorsports.

Over the years, many Fiero enthusiasts attempted to track the locations of where the cars were donated. In 1998, the Michigan Fiero Club was able to find and visit the Pearl Yellow GTP car at the Vo-Tech vocational school in Adrian Michigan. Harold Hooten of the American Fiero Chapter of POCI alerted that the car could possibly be available in spring of 2001. Fred Bartemeyer stayed persistent in obtaining the car and eventually was able to purchase the car in April of 2005. The Pearl Blue GTP car was retained by Pontiac in their special vehicle collection and was auctioned off in the 2009 GM Heritage Center Barrett-Jackson offering and purchased by long time Fiero owner Ed York. In 2004, through the contacts of the Cleveland Fiero Club, Fred Bartemeyer was able to view and document the Red Turbo GTP car at the Cuyahoga Vocational Center in Brecksville Ohio. The school contacted Fred to come and retrieve the car in 2010 in exchange for a monetary donation to the educational facility. Much effort went into tracking down the remaining PPG Fieros. Although the Red Turbo GTP car is in need of a complete restoration, is currently white and in very poor condition, it is important that the car is saved from the original intention of being destroyed when the school determined that the car no longer was of useful educational purposes. Through out the duration of several years of research, it is unfortunate to know the fate of the other three cars in which the cars were subject to the intended donation agreement and destroyed per the signed contract. We are excited that the three remaining PPG GTP Pace Cars will be in attendance at the 35th Anniversary. Come and see a unique part of Fiero history.

PPG Pace cars

PPG Pace cars at the Heartland Fiero Show.

Fiero racing was not just about pacing races though, it was also about winning races, as Pontiac Motorsports campaigned Fieros in a number of racing series: several classes of SCCA including Pro-Rally, IMSA GTU, GTO and GTP classes and NHRA Competition Eliminator class. Pontiac Motorsports largest efforts concentrated in the IMSA GTU class during the mid 80’s, teaming up with Huffaker racing. Drivers Clay Young, Terry Visger and Bob Earl put their IMSA Fieros on the podium multiple times.

We are very excited to have one of the Huffaker IMSA Fieros scheduled to be displayed in the Poncho Perfection Hall of Fieros. In 1984 Huffaker Engineering put together a tube frame chassis with anti-squat and anti-dive adjustments. Huffaker utilized a modified Spice Racing running gear, and of course the potent Super Duty 4 engine powered the race cars. Huffaker went on to build a number of Fiero race cars, but it is believed that only 4 were made in this configuration. This Fiero campaigned in GTU class as the number 55 Goodwrench / Huffaker Fiero from 1985 to 1987. Bob Earl started 27 races and came away with 10 victories and 16 poles. Terry Visger ran 10 races and came away with 7 wins.

Huffaker IMSA Fiero

The Huffaker IMSA Fiero still racing and still winning after all these years.

In 1989 the car was set up for TransAm racing for a corporate sponsor. The Super Duty 4 engine was replaced with a 4.5 Liter Buick V6. The sponsor’s CEO drove it in three Trans Am races and then the program was halted. The car was then raced in two IMSA GTO races by Dominic Dobson. The Huffaker Fiero then sat until 1999, when an SCCA enthusiast purchased the car to compete in races in the San Francisco region. The car claimed an additional 25 victories in the SCCA Super Production class along with qualifying records at Laguna Seca and Sears Point. In 2012 the Fiero underwent a complete frame off restoration and the Buick V6 was replaced with a NASCAR Chevy 354 V-8. In 2013 the Huffaker Fiero was sold to Mark Schwartz who continues to race the Fiero when time permits. Mark still has the NASCAR Chevy motor in the Fiero, but hopes to replace it with a proper Super Duty 4 some day. We look forward to seeing Mark and his IMSA Fiero this summer in East Peoria.

Also scheduled for display is Paul Hosler’s home built Fiero IMSA Racecar. The car emulates what would have been available to the general public if a person desired to build their own racecar from the information available from the Pontiac Motorsports issued Pontiac Performance Plus Magazine. A 412 ci Small Block Chevy with prototype Pontiac 867 heads developing 645 hp powers the 2300 lb racecar. The suspension has been fabricated by the original IMSA Fiero engineer to period correct specifications. With a host of features ready for the track, this 210 mph track rocket is a work of art performed exclusively by the owner. You can find more details about this car at

Paul Hosler IMSA Fiero

Paul Hosler’s IMSA Fiero

Fiero racing would not be what it was without Lead Engineering Manager of Pontiac Motorsports John Callies. His involvement spanned from the original Super Duty engine in the Indy Pace cars, to overseeing the Spice Fiero GTP Daytona prototypes. John was in the catalyst of it all. We are happy to say that John has stayed in touch with the Fiero community (he has spoke at the Fiero 20th, 25th and 30th, and made a surprise appearance at the 2016 Heartland Fiero show a few years ago). John is scheduled to attend the Fiero 35th Anniversary show, so please bring all of your Fiero racing questions!

John Callies talks to attendees at the Fiero 30th

John Callies talks to attendees at the Fiero 30th

Fun Fact: Did you know that John Oates (famous for posing with a Fiero on an album cover) drove the number 55 Huffaker Fiero at Road America in the 1985 Löwenbräu Classic 500?

Fun Fact 2: Did you know the Dodge M4S Prototype, more commonly known as The Wraith, is built on a stretched Huffaker Racing Fiero chassis?