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Thread: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

  1. #1
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    I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Okay I recently purchased a used 1988 fiero. I love the car as it is a blast to drive. However I would eventually like to go for the 355 conversion. I have always read kit car mag as a kid but you know lack of job and skiills kept me from starting. Now I'm older 25 and have a great job. I want to start the kit. As I love driving this this too much, I want ot build in steps so I can still have use of the car between steps.

    Some points: Dont want to stretch I think non-stretch looks fine. I live in the NYC area, well Queens to be exact. I think that's it.

    The steps:
    1) Convertible Kit
    2) Exterior Conversion
    3) Interior conversion

    So my question is who make a good convertible kit? Where can I get it done if thats the only way? Who is a reputable 355 kit seller? I saw B&B spyder on the web are they any good? I worry about the interior much later.
    How hard is it to do a convertible conversion on this thing? B&B spyder says the 355 non stretch once the panels are off is a bolt on. Ok is anything really a bolt on? Bolt on to me means okay sunday spend 6 hours and done.

    Thanks for the knowledge you can share.

    P.S. Should I just buy a completed kit from someone on the forum? Only proble with that is they are asking like 20k. I dont want or have 20k in one shot. Can the car be built for less? I mean 20k, i know it looks nice but its still a fiero. An 80's american car, not too reliable. Thanks.


  2. #2

    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    B&B is a much lower quality splash of another kit and I would avoid them like the plague. The only 355 kit worth buying is the AD. Do a search for John Watson on this forum.

  3. #3
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Welcome to the forum

    So how much $$ are you willing to spend (now that you have a great job) and how authentic you want your replica to look?? *These should also be the key questions before starting...

    AD makes the most true to the REAL F355 kit....Cost is around $7K (give or take a few $$) for exterior panels only.....Interior replica molds off the REAL F355 is another $1,500 *unfinished...BB kits are also very good from what I hear in this forum.

    Also check eBay for F355 kits that always come up for good prices....most of them are semi-complete and some include donor Fieros as well....they usually can be had for less than $10K on eBay, sometimes for a lot less if someone needs to sell for cash.

    Use the SEARCH function of this forum to look for the AD kit and also look in the MALL for people who are selling completed F355 replicas to get an idea of the prices...There's a F355 replica on eBay right now which is probably as good as those replicas can get....I bet the reserve is close to $30K for such a well built and detailed replica.....The interior of that car is simply awsome....this guy even has authentic Ferrari door stickers to replicate every little detail.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Repli...spagenameZWDVW

    My opinion is to get a completed F355 for the lowest price you can (plenty of semi-completed project cars around) and finish it according to your budget and taste...Most beginners find these kind of building a replica overwhelming and time-consuming so they never finish their dream car....My idea is to get something already having the difficult work done and put on the finishing touches....

    Anyway, best of luck and keep searching the forum archieves for information and opinions.

    Vasilis K. *
    Life is too short to be driving Hondas!

  4. #4
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Welcome to the forum

    Please do yourself a favor.* Contact John Watson of Air Dynamics. 706-328-3311, tell him Dave Newman gave you the number.* He is the best there is in the business for a 355 Ferrari Kit.* Do a coupe version from John and save a lot of trouble for yourself. I had to learn the hard way.

    If someone tells you cutting the top of of a Fiero chassis is a good thing to do, run for the hills.* I have done them both ways. Keep the roof.

    A note on B & B; they copied the stage one Watson Kit with the rockers in the doors. As with everything in life like art, if you happen to copy a Rembrandt color for color, something always will get lost in the translation. That lost difference is made up with lots of bondo and labor. There are quite a few kit car scammers working the web.* One that just popped up is in Tampa, he claims to be a broker but for some reason he is using photos of cars I personally took at Watsons shop.* Please use this site as a resource for your build.* Everything is covered from scammers to good suppliers.* There are 19 people on this site building a 355's mostly John Watsons cars.* Ask any one of us, we will be happy to email you with answers to your questions.

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  5. #5
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Another Watson car builder here and I will be more then happy to help you any way I can. I agree with Dave though, save yourself alot of time, energy, and frustration and get an AD kit. But don't be fooled that even if you get the far better AD kit it will still involve alot of time and energy and frustration as well. It is part of the building experience, or so they tell me anyway. Welcome to the forum!

  6. #6
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Thanks for all the replies. Great looking car FunnyWheels. I was wondering why you suggest against chopping the top?

    Honestly I may be wierd here, but I dont really need the car to look exactly like a 355. I like the lines more than the exact thing really. Don't get me wrong if I could I would make it exact. But i know what i can and can't do and don't mind a almost looks like it car.

    I really HAVE to have a convertible. I mean I probably wouldn't do the project if it wasnt. If it was impossible than I'd try targa, then i'd try t-tops. If those aren't possible then I wouldn't continue the attempt. I want a sporty roadster car you know.
    I dont even need a V8 in the car(I know it might be blasphemy). I would much rather have a reliable 4 or 6 with decent grunt and great gas mileage(turbo'd if need be).


    What's the worst part of the chop? Is it reliable? Can it be done? What are the major problems? I wont be doing that work myself. NO way. I can follow instructions and bolt things up. build things etc... I can not chop a car and WELD anything.
    I would have to find someone in the NY area for that.

    Also does a non stretch 355 look horrendous? Is it worth(relative term) the extra time/money etc... Does AD kit come in non stretch? Does he have a website?


    Thanks again by the way. This site is really informative.


  7. #7
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    I think if you want to go topless like I did, have a go at it. It is just easier to keep the top on the car. If you're going to have a good frame shop reinforce your frame and remove the top of the Fiero it can be done correctly. Don Ostergard did a much cleaner job than I did on my car. Look at both of our threads to check the methods we employed. Regarding the 3 inch stretch. It is very easy to do if you modify the engine cradle. All posted in the FunnyWheels threads.

    Wish you the best.

    Regards,

    Dave, Tampa
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    First; Welcome to our madness. It is frustrating, aggravating and incredibly rewarding all in one hobby. Oh yeah, put a revolving door on your wallet as money does not stay in it for too long.... ;D

    I am with Dave on your convertible idea. I HAD to HAVE a convertible as well and I cut the roof off and it has been a whole lot of work since to get it back to structurally sound again. Fieros need the roof to hold everything together front the firewall to the front foot wall.

    The Fiero's weakest point when the roof is cut off is the firewall bottom so that it flexes and twists. I went with a pretty elaborate frame that connects the front cross member to the rear engine cradle and that removed 90% of the flex but I still get a little bit at the firewall.

    I really like Duane's option where he welded a 2x2 beam along the rocker panel and then sent two beams up to the top of the firewall on an angle. That, I believe will give you the most support and is the best way to go. It pretty much incorporates what both Dave and I did but hides it up in the frame better and gives the top of the fiewall more support than what my option gives. Dave has the top of the firewall rigid as well but ended up having a piece of bar inside his cockpit.

    http://69.94.88.210/index.php?topic=4331.0 Read through Duane's post and you will get a really good idea of how to do the best job in my opinion on strengthening the chassis. You can do pretty well all of that without removing the entire outside of the Fiero B-Pillar like Duane did but Duane has gone with a Watson kit that requires that he remove all that section. Read through it and do a search on frame reinforcement and you should get a good set of reading material to explain the trials and tribulations everyone has gone through. 355Spider also did a really nice and simple reinforcement that looks much easier to do than what we have done and he says that it was very strong as well.

    Do the engine cradle modification like Dave rather than the frame stretch like so many of us have done but you do need to then remove the rear trunk area. If you stretch the frame, the trunk can stay.

    After all this, get a Watson kit as they really are the best out there right now for the $7k. I think PitBull has some bodies that he pulled from a mold off his car after fixing everything and he is selling them quite cheaply. ~$2k I think. Check the mall section.

    Good luck and welcome again to our madness.

    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  9. #9
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Don:

    The trunk can stay in as well if you use the method I selected. I removed my trunk to install a different engine configuration (V6 Chrysler out of a 300 M) and then change my mind to use the 3800 5 speed. I do like the fact that it is all opened up and I can show off everything. Lots of Bling Bling if you look through the rear grill area into the engine compartment.

    Dave
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  10. #10
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: I want ot start a Fiero 355 project. Couple of questions for the Pro's

    Any news on your project?

    Just following the thread.

    Dave
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

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