I have been well versed in the GM 80 based on the Fiero program that was involved in this.
This story is pretty close to what really went on. The photos are not good of what the production car would have been like.
The Fiero was out in the plant with full expectations to have the GM 80 to pick up the slack when sales settled to 30 k as expected. They really over sold the Fiero the first couple years as few 2 seat cars could survive selling six figures as only so many folks can live with a small two seater.
The Fox Mustang sales were just so strong there was no way Ford would replace it with a Mazda. GM engineers did not like the 80 and it was no accident it was not the car it could have been. Many made sure it would fail.
But the cancelation of the 80 did give Chevy the excuse to kill the Fiero as they were worried about dropping Vette sales and a difficult business case got the C5 that did get canceled once.
What is interesting is that the 1990 Fiero GT that Chevy feared did come back as the 4th Gen F body. John Schinella spoke at a meeting I was at and told how he used the Fiero design for the new F body. He said it was too good to throw away. Even the dash face was reused in the F body nearly intact from the Fiero.
There also was a AWD GTO show car based on the 80. It was not bad looking. It was only shown once then vanished. It is reported hidden at the tech center but no one can confirm it.
Note some things did carry over to the 4th Gen as it did have the composite fenders and doors and halo.
There is more to this yet. They did play with a V8 in these but tested in a Beretta with AWD. It was transverse mounted.
This was also an AWD car too. I think it may have had a V8.
It was photoed at GM and shown years later at a Eyes on Design. It is reported to still be at the GM tech center but no one can confirm. It has not been seen in over 30 years.
The car had the same wheels the AWD Beretta mule V8 AWD had. That car was sold at Barrett Jackson years ago.
There were a ton of drawings and a number of clay models as you see in the story. There are more more shown here.
It was a good thing that Ford did not kill the Fox Mustang it gave life to the RWD F body.
Things in the early 80’s got so bad that the plan was to kill the V8 Chevy. The Corvette team went as far as building a Citation with two V6 engines to test for a possible twin engine Corvette if the V8/died. The Citation escaped GM and is in Florida. It sounds good with 12 cylinders and around 500 hp. The rear was set up like a Fiero.
Sadly the trouble started before Roger. He was just the gasoline that accelerated it.
I am a die hard GM fan but their management for decades was flawed. But to be fair most automakers management were train wrecks.
Well you need to get the many factors involved to understand what happened then.
GM was not just going broke in 08. They were going broke backs in the early 80’s.
GM went to the corporate engines and platforms.. yes these were good cars but most of them started to lose what they really were and just became styling exercises.
The 350 Chevy in a Olds was a slap to the true olds guys. The dropping of the Pontiac V8 in the early 80’s was the last true Pontiac to some.
Most never knew but Pontiac was set to shut down in the 80’s. The Bonnie was replaced with a Lemans as a Bonnie. Evinces were gone etc.
What saved Pontiac was the Trans Am in 83 and Fiero in 84. Both brought many to Pontiac showrooms and they bought a lot of Grand Ams.
At the same time Olds was losing sales and they moved the Cutlass Supreme to FWD and named two other lame FWD cars Cutlass. It went from bad to worse from there.
GM was spending billions on the move to FWD and tried to save money on things like development cost like on the TH200 that had major failure rates.
things only got worse from there as money was spent on most vehicles that just brought no return.
Then GM had Union deals where it was less of a loss to build the cars and sell at major discounts vs stopping production then paying worked most of their pay to sit at home.
it was just a mess and a number of people had their hands in this.
Most of us outside though everything was fine but internally they were as great of a mess as Chrysler and Ford as all three had major management or money issues.
The real mess was when they brought in Nabisco people to market the cars. One of which was a fraud and really lied his way into the job. How do you not catch this?
The greatest issue with the diesels was the lack of development. These engine ran fine if you ran them hard. But they made them standard in some models and the average older owner just putted around town where every gasket blew out and it leaked.
Then many would get the engine washed then the injector pump would freeze up. It had tolerances that if cold water hit it while hot would kill it.
They never even put a hand pump on the pump to prime filters or the engine. You had to crank it till it fired. That was just cheap.
Diesels in general are far too costly to repair unless you are running 80,000 pounds 150,000 miles a year. Beyond that, the fuel savings do not offset one injector pump replacement or set of injectors
Fords issue often is their cars were built to a price. This often left them with nagging issues.
My T Bird was a good example. Nice car and cheap to buy. Head gasket issues, paint issues, suspension issues, sagging doors, etc.
GM cuts cost on development often running out of money by the time they got inside. The engines and suspensions worked but the interiors fell apart or stopped working.
Actually that is kind of right.
GM really had too much of everything. Too many models, divisions, too many in management and more. The divisions worked against each other vs working together. Management then did not know what to do with divisions like Pontiac that were driven by engineering and broken rules.
Bob Lutz book bean counters vs car guys outlines how suppliers could sell a bearing to each division under a different part number at a different price making a big profit at GMs expense.
GM did not have too many engineers but management did not know what to do with them and get them working as one company vs many superset division's.
GM did by far have the most advanced engineers but when they broke rules like the 455 SD they punished them. Or when they developed new technologies they forced them into production before they were ready. Case in point the 8-6-4 Cadillac. It failed then and today we now have the computers to make it work right.
The whole deal is GM in the late 60’s till Mary showed up did not have a strong leader that was willing to make cuts or changes that were needed. It is not a popular thing but someone needed to do it.
Just look at Pontiac at what they were in the 60’s to what they ended up being in 2007. It was a sad decline.
Imagine if Delorean moved to the lead of GM. He did make some mistakes but he got many good things to happen because he was willing to make decisions and not run from change.
Well Foxxconn just bought the Lordstown plant and plan to take on new EV products for other mfgs, also there is a plan for a Foxconn car. Some think Apple may be one of their customer cars.
Hyundai already was in talks with Apple and started to talk publicly so the talks stopped.
The electronic industry is looking to enter the EV car market. Most design their products but few assemble the products. The Apple Phones and Computers are a perfect example.
GM will be assembling two EV CUV models for Honda. While the vehicles are using the similar drive system the rest of the vehicle is designed by Honda and will be built to their spec. It is not a badge job like the past.
The idea is this most of these tech companies make nothing they design and other assemble and that is a trend that has already started with the Foxconn purchase as they are not going to build phones here.
The old ways of operating are being looked at and things never considered before are coming into play. Will it work? Time will tell.
Sony is another Electronic firm that is looking to bring a car to market but they will not assemble it.
Keep in mind even with some of the things like panel stamping is in house much is made outside. Truck frames are not made in house as are axles even some dash assemblies and other large parts of the car come in already assembled by outside vendors. Seats. tire and wheels etc.
In fact in some cases bodies are supplied buy outside companies. Ferrari and others use outside mfg. Even Fisher Body was an outside company till GM bought it.