Today’s Rare Ride is an ever-desirable Pontiac Fiero dressed in an elegant, Canadian-designed fiberglass body.
Let’s talk about a forgotten car with two fake names: Enterra Vipre
Rare Rides touched on Fiero twice previously: Two parts on a stock Fiero Formula from 1988, and a thrusting and elongated Zimmer Quicksilver luxury coupe from 1986. If you want pure Driving Excitement and Fiero background information, click those links there. Today’s Enterra was conceived around the same time as the Quicksilver but was less ambitious, less luxurious, and more Canadian.
Before the name Enterra was chosen, the company behind it was called Cymbria. The Canadian venture was created via some $10 million in federal grants offered by the Canadian Scientific Research Council circa 1984. Cymbria used the funds to build a high-tech fiberglass body facility. Apparently, one Cymbria was produced in 1984 (the one for sale right now), and some people around Vancouver, B.C. drove it at the time. Said people claimed the Cymbria had some serious problems. The company went silent.
Then, early in 1987 Cymbria was back! Except the venture was renamed and relaunched as Enterra. There was another press event at the end of January 1987, and (another) grand opening at the factory in Barnaby, a southeastern suburb of Vancouver. Enterra didn’t call themselves a car company per se, but rather “a styling exercise.” Setting the bar low was the important thing. Their “new” model (the same one as before) was called Vipre.
Enterra’s designers added sweeping curves and a longer aerodynamic nose to the Fiero, as well as nearly 17 inches of overall length; the stretch was not quite up to the Quicksilver’s 28 inches. Enterra proceeded to do absolutely nothing to the Fiero’s performance (always its Achilles heel) but spent some time draping the interior in fine leather materials. Included were ruched leather seats and door panels, and those luggage strap door pulls off a van. Said straps matched the 1980s Gladiator-quality wood panel on the instruments.
Intended for buyers who wanted a different sort of coupe look without spending an arm and a leg, Enterra priced the Vipre at a reasonable $30,000 CAD. That was twice the price of a standard Fiero in 1987. For that money, the work performed by Enterra turned the Fiero into a “sleek mid-engined sports car,” powered by GM’s 2.8-liter V6 of 140 sporty horses.
The Enterra people convinced GM and at least some Pontiac dealers to offer the package, which was applied only to high-spec Fiero SEs. The cars were shipped to Vancouver where they were transformed. Aside from this early 1984 test (concept?) Cymbria-Enterra example, less than 40 Vipres were sold. The Enterra operation went bust by 1988, and nobody noticed. Wonder if the Canadian government felt they got their money’s worth out of the $10 million?
Today’s 1984 example has accumulated 46,000 miles over the past decades, and made its way to rural Idaho. I especially like how the sleek, luxurious mid-engine Enterra used the rear lamps from the old Cavalier hatchback. Yours for… $25,000.[Images: Enterra, The Province]
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