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Monday, May 14, 2007

 

My favorite kind of supercar

I remember once reading an essay in Car and Driver about when brand management is a good thing. Brand management with cars is easy to go horribly wrong - look at how GM tried to market mechancially identical cars with similar performance to different niches in the '90s by just changing the sheet metal and advertising campaigns. But there are some times that brand management can make sense. For example, Honda decided that they would make a half price Ferarri with their Acura NSX. Unfortunately, when they got it to the market, they found that there wasn't much of a demand for a half price Ferarri. More people buy Ferarris to impress the neighbors than to drive them to the full extent of their capability, and you don't impress that kind of neighbors by getting things at half the price.

But if you can get all of the real things that make exotics good - mid engined, high revving DOHC V8, light weight (which these days doesn't even apply to all exotics - there are some out there that make a Chevy Caprice look light), a good chassis - and build it for less than a tenth of the price of a Ferarri in your own garage, you've got something.

Yellow Fiero 4.9 liters of Cadillac Northstar power! And some subtle badges, too

Here's a Pontiac Fiero with a Cadillac Northstar V8. It may not impress your snobbish Beverly Hills neighbors. But it sure impresses me when a gearhead builds his own version of an exotic without breaking the bank.

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