The cars:

'88 Formula
5-spd Getrag, PW, PL, tilt, cruise, AC, sunroof
Stock wheels and tire sizes


'88 GT
5-spd Getrag, PW, PL, PM, tilt, cruise, AC, sunroof
18x8 245/40-18 rear, 17x7 225/40-17 front
12" 'Vette rotors with adaptors and stock calipers
Battery in front

The first thing we did was drive both cars to the gas station and fill them up with gas, so both tanks are full.

The scales:

I have a set of these: http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productdetails.asp?RecID=851 I've weighed a bunch of cars on them and I've found that they tend to be consistent within about a percent. I do not know how accurate the total weights are, but for my normal purposes the consistency is what matters so I haven't upgraded to the good digital scales yet.

The short version of that is: Don't swear by the actual weights, but the relative weights of the cars is close, as are the percentages.

The testing method:

1) Weigh Formula
2) Weigh GT
3) Weigh Formula again to check for scale consistency. As mentioned above, it was within a percent.

All weights are without driver.

The picture of Dave's car on the scales with mine in the background:



The data:

1) Formula

Code:


LF      RF      Front
620      660      1280
            43.3%
            
   Total         
   2956         


LR      RR      Rear
828      848      1676
            56.7%
Left      Right      
1448      1508      
49.0%      51.0%      
            

LR+RF diagonal            
1488            
50.3%            
            
RR+LF diagonal            
1468            
49.7%            




2) GT

Code:


LF      RF      Front
612      692      1304
            41.6%
            
   Total         
   3136         


LR      RR      Rear
928      904      1832
            58.4%
Left      Right      
1540      1596      
49.1%      50.9%      
            

LR+RF diagonal            
1620            
51.7%            
            
RR+LF diagonal            
1516            
48.3%            




3) Formula again

Code:


LF      RF      Front
612      652      1264
            43.1%
            
   Total         
   2936         


LR      RR      Rear
848      824      1672
            56.9%
Left      Right      
1460      1476      
49.7%      50.3%      
            

LR+RF diagonal
1500
51.1%

RR+LF diagonal
1436
48.9%




The summary:

The V8 GT is 180-200lbs heavier than the similarly optioned V6 Formula, and carries about 1.5% more of its weight on the rear tires.

Because the published weight difference between the Formula and the GT was largely due to their difference in base options, I think most of this is due to the V8. Dave said 180lbs is what Archie has been saying, and our data agrees with this. Admittedly, the Formula vs. GT body panel weight difference is one variable that we didn't hold constant. I guess we need to figure out a way to get my scales, my Formula, Dave's V8 GT, and Dave's V6 GT in the same place. I can probably scrounge up some digital scales for that.

My thoughts on V8 Fieros and the importance of the weight difference:

First, thank you very much Dave for letting me drive your car. I really enjoyed it.

As far as straight line acceleration, this is the fastest Fiero that I've driven so far. In addition to the two stock motors, I've driven a couple 3.4 DOHCs and a
NA 3800.

I've said in the past that I'm not a V8 guy because I thought a high winding motor suited the character of the car better. I must say that after driving that small block, "really stinking fast" suits the character of the car pretty well, too. :)

Is that extra 180lbs and 1.5% rear weight important? Not really. I say that with the knowledge and experience that in a race car 180lbs is huge. But these aren't race cars, they're street cars. Look at it this way: how much of a handling difference do you notice when your friend jumps in the passenger seat? Because that's the weight difference we're talking about.

The extra power more than makes up for it with any kind of driving that is safe or legal on the street. Dave and I drove some twisties (and we all know Fieros rule in the twisties) and the car handles quite well.

So is there a small block Fiero in my future? Nah, but only because it's not really my style. But I'll jump at every chance I get to drive one. thumbleft

- Doug Chase

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