Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The Fiero will be making a trip to Republican City, NE on Friday, with stops in Neligh, St. Paul, and Ord. A cat may be accompanying the car on the trip.

The Fiero story started in 2003, when a friend and I were driving through Norfolk. I was living in Wayne at the time, working at Great Dane for the summer. Long story as short as possible: I bought the Fiero, my friend drove it home, and when I went to take it to the car wash that same day, the clutch wouldn't engage. After sticking something under the tires to keep the car from rolling, I called it a day. After I purchased it, it was over a year before I got to drive the thing.

My wife's parents came up and towed the car to their farm, where I got a education on how to fix a car. Their method of "how" is less "how" than "do." You get in there and do it. When you do, you figure out how. What's the worst that can happen? If you screw it up, put the parts in a basket and take it to a mechanic--that's why they're called basket cases. Many things got removed from the car, with my future in-laws leading the way while I tried to keep up.

This photograph has been around the block a few times. Jon filming, Dan showing, me watching.

Jon, back when he ate things with whey. Me, back when I was shy with a wrench. Dan, back when he might have had half of a good knee. Penny hasn't changed a bit. All were ten years younger.

Easily the highest the Fiero has ever been.
The car has seen some changes over the years, the biggest change being when I took the old 2.8L engine out and replaced it with a 3.1L engine. The old engine had dropped a cylinder (no compression in cylinder #6). The new engine was louder and a pain to tune due to the idiotic camshaft I picked. I've replaced the air conditioner compressor three times, had the car aligned more times than any car should ever need, and figured out how to remove the transmission without removing the engine--no small feat in a front wheel drive setup, especially when the front wheel drive setup is in the back of the car. I've learned a lot of things on the Fiero, and I've applied those lessons to other cars, a house, and (to a certain extent) a career. "How" generally comes to those who do, so--whatever it is--do it.

Whether this Friday's trip is the Fiero's last drive or not, it's been a fast ten years since I purchased it. If nothing else, I'll have gotten some good stories, lessons, and a really nice Fiero interior out of the deal. But if all I got were the lessons, that would be enough to enjoy the drive on Friday, regardless of the end.