Imitation is Flattery: Pontiac Mera

Ah, I love fake Ferraris. At least, the concept behind them. All the looks, and none of the mechanical headaches. If only it were that simple. 

Kit cars and replicas were all the rage in the yuppie 80s, when rolling in style was a priority, even if it meant driving a fake car. Interestingly, as car design has declined and classic car prices surged, kit cars have a new appeal to me: they can indeed give you the look of a classic car without all the worry and expense that comes with a real classic. 

Unfortunately most body kits from the 80s were poor. If the body was for a mid-engine Ferrari, it had to fit over a mid-engine chassis - and there were nary few mid-engine cars on the market in the 80s. That is, until the arrival of the legendary Pontiac Fiero in 1984. The Fiero gave reason for a whole new generation of Ferrari replicas.

The best replica body for the Fiero was, rather shockingly, officially sold through authorized GM/Pontiac dealers as an option called the "Mera". There was no Ferrari badging as far as I can tell, but the body sure as hell looked like a 308 - enough so that to the casual 80s observer, it was a real Ferrari. The body was never offered as a kit, and a company called "Corporate Concepts" installed everything before delivery. The interior mechanics underneath were 100% Fiero. It was only offered on new Fieros, and never retro-fitted.

Alas, the steal of the century didn't last long. Just as Ferrari threatened to sue the producers of Miami Vice for use of the Daytona replica, they sued Pontiac dealers over the Mera, and production stopped after a mere 247 examples were produced, making it an extreme rarity.

They do pop up for sale however, and usually as either derelict project cars or showroom queens. This one is definitely the latter, looking almost brand new. The seller says it has just 30k miles. They actually don't know if it is an official Mera, but say the taillights say Mera. Deductive reasoning skills! This is almost definitely a Mera, given the quality body and Fiero underpinnings. The nice thing about the Mera is that the body is really well done, looking almost exactly like a 308, with no major glaring inaccuracies. Proportions and fit and finish are good. While I would prefer white or black, the red exterior color is just fine as well.

As an added bonus, it's got the V6 Fiero engine for extra kick. Italian body, cheap American parts...I'd take it.

Available here on craigslist for $13,400 or trade.

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