BTR Driver Profile: Chris Nelson Pontiac Fiero GT

The Black Top Racing 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT build included lighting, interior, exterior and performance upgrades.

What is the year/make/model of your car?

Chris: 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT

What is something really notable about it? Horsepower, rare or special modification, something nobody else has done to theirs?

Chris: 3 big things to take of on this car. #1: The IRM body panels. Side scoop rocker panels, and the matching over the roof scoops. These were made in the '80s and early '90s and are long since discontinued. It took forever to find a matching set of IRM branded pieces. These are rare and not a knockoff like what a lot of people have.

#2: The custom made carbon fiber pieces on the interior. The OEM steering wheel was wrapped in carbon fiber and new black leather. The headliner was replaced by a new fiberglass model and that was wrapped in carbon fiber, and the third brake light cover is a carbon fiber replica. This is really unique, a custom one-off build and you won't find it on anyone else's car.

#3: The 2.8L v6 engine with a hand-made aluminum Dual Throttle Intake manifold. There are less than 10 of these in existence and you'd be hard pressed to find one for sale let alone make one yourself. It increases horsepower by around 15hp at the wheels and increases torque by about 20tq. It looks cool, it sounds cool, it makes the car faster and really adds a custom element to this otherwise plain engine.

Black Top Racing Fiero


Why did you build your car the way you did?

Chris: This white '88GT is the 9th Fiero I've owned. My second car was a Fiero and at that time I was 17 years old and as a kid, the Fiero just blew my mind. I was in love with it and was addicted. Over the next decade, I embarked on a journey to discover the perfect Fiero, one that was in amazing shape, had been taken care of, and could act as my pride Fiero forever. During this time I learned almost everything there is to learn about these cars and had really developed a sense of what I wanted my Fiero to be. I finally found this one for sale in Florida. and a buddy flew down, I bought it, and we drove the car home. It took us 2.5 days of driving in this near 30-year-old car to get it back home but it treated us very well and that's when I knew this was the one to finally commit to and sink some money into. By the time we got home, I already knew the majority of what I was going to do to it, and that's what you see in these pictures. 16 years of owning, maintaining, and customizing Fieros has exposed me to almost every mod available for these cars, and each upgrade you see was carefully chosen to satisfy my childhood dream of what a Pontiac Fiero should be.

Are you done with it? If not, what's next?

Chris: We COULD be done with it because it's in such beautiful shape, and all of the modifications, maintenance, and upgrades all go so well together, but there are a couple small things left to finish off, kind of as the icing on the cake.
The seats are the factory '88 seats with the inflatable lumbar support. I have a rebuild kit for it that will go in some day when we re-upholster the seats in leather. Also, I want to change out the carpet on the doors with a vinyl to match the leather seats and other leather accents on the interior.

What's your favorite thing about the type of car you have?

Chris: My favorite thing about the Fiero has always been the unique combination of major features this car has that only exists in a few other cars: Pop-up headlights, 2 doors and 2 seats, rear wheel drive, and the mid-engine drivetrain. These characteristics of the Fiero really make it a unique automobile and these are the things that won me over when I first test-drove a 1986 Fiero when I was 16.

Nowadays there's another element to enjoying this car, and that's the appreciation that it gets just around town, at racing or car shows. People just aren't used to seeing them anymore, and especially not in this nice of condition. It's really really fun when someone else appreciates what you have, especially when you're used to it kind of being treated as the black sheep of the family in the car world.

What's your favorite thing to DO with your car?

Chris: The Fiero isn't fast, but it IS a blast to drive! I don't so much like to race it, but to just experience the world in this car is amazing. The large windshield and side door windows give you a unique perspective just cruising around, or taking the scenic route. Driving this car around the city or a rustic highway is so enjoyable because the car is a treat to drive. It feels good, it sounds good, and it looks good. I simply appreciate the car for what it is, and it is at home cruising around anywhere you want to go.

If you HAD to start over with the same car and do it all again, what would you do differently?

Chris: Well, I kind of did already... This is my 9th Fiero and I've "started over" with each build. This version of my Fiero is the manifestation of all that I have learned about the Fiero over the years, and it represents my entire experience with the Pontiac Fiero. This car, exactly how it is, is what I would do all over again.

Black Top Racing Fiero Dual Throttle Body intake manifold
Black Top Racing custom Fiero Interior

What is your mod list?

Chris:

EXTERIOR:

New panel-off paint job: Dodge Viper Bright White
Sage Front Chin Spoiler from Fiero Warehouse
Clear front signal housings
GTR Lighting Switchback LED Front turn signal bulbs
JW Speaker 8900 LED Headlights
IRM Integrated Side Scoop Rocker Panels
Custom LED front and rear side marker lights
Reconditioned OEM fastback tail lights
GTR Lighting high-power "80w CREE" LED tail light bulbs
GTR Lighting LED license plate bulbs
GTR Lighting LED reverse light bulbs
Mustang hood rear-facing on the decklid
IRM Over The Roof Scoops mounted to custom steel corner vent blanks
GTR Lighting Lightning Strips mounted inside mustang scoop vent wired to parking lights
Tinted GT Style aftermarket panel windows

INTERIOR:

Spare Tire black vinyl cover with BTR logo embroidered
Rodney Dickman hydraulic hood strut kit
LED under-hood light
Custom carbon fiber headliner
Custom carbon fiber light housing
Custom carbon fiber and leather wrapped OEM steering wheel
Black tinted dash trim pieces
GTR Lighting LED bulbs for gauge and center console back-lighting
Center console cup holder
Center Console 8" Subwoofer Box with Kenwood Excelon Sub
JL Audio sub behind passenger seat
Black floor carpet from the Fiero Store
Black Fiero Logo floor mats
GTR Lighting LED bulbs for the dome light
GTR Lighting LED bulbs for the under-dash floor lights
4x10 into 5.25" round speaker adapters for front speakers running JL Audio 5.25" speakers
4x6 into 4" round speaker adapters for rear speakers running JL Audio 4" speakers

ENGINE:

Custom made dual throttle intake manifold
brackets and valve covers
Custom billet aluminum dogbone engine mount with polyurethane bushings
MSD Ignition Coil
Taylor Made 8mm spark plug wires
Fiero Store ceramic coated headers and y-pipe
Fiero Store catless stainless steel exhaust with twin exhaust tips
Rodney Dickman Hydraulic Decklid kit
Wheels/Suspension/Brakes:
Black Spokes with machined lip wheels. RPM R-505, 18x8, 38mm offset
Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tires. Front 225/40/R18. Rear 255/35/R18
Eibach Lowering Spring Kit
Front also lowered with Rodney Dickman's 1" lowered ball joints
Rodney Dickman front '88 wheel bearings
20mm Rear spacers
Factory 88 brake calipers
Hawk Ceramic brake pads
Russell Performance DOT approved stainless steel brake lines



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Black Top Racing Info: BTR Driver Profile: Chris Nelson Pontiac Fiero GT
BTR Driver Profile: Chris Nelson Pontiac Fiero GT
The Black Top Racing 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT build included lighting, interior, exterior and performance upgrades.
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