You’d be forgiven for thinking the car above is a Ferrari 308. It certainly looks like one, but – believe it or not – it’s actually a Pontiac. It was the brainchild of Bob Bracey, owner of Michigan-based Corporate Concepts, who thought the mid-engined Pontiac Fiero – once it was given a 2.8-litre V6 in 1985 – would be ripe for a tasty re-body.
The Pontiac Mera (above) is based on the mid-engined Fiero (below)
A Ferrari 308 was chosen to provide inspiration, and after two years of development, the Mera was born. This is no aftermarket kit, though. What makes the Mera interesting is that punters could only obtain one by purchasing a Fiero new and speccing the Mera conversion, which was offered as an option by Pontiac dealers.
Originally Meras sat on standard Fiero wheels, but in 1988 Ferrari 308 five-spoke replica rims were cast for the cars, making them look even less distinguishable from the real thing. Some owners even went as far as adding Ferrari badging. Throughout the Mera’s history, the conversion was never officially endorsed by General Motors.
Naturally, Ferrari didn’t take too kindly to this blatant 308 ripoff, and sued Corporate Concepts in 1987. In 1988, the two companies settled out of court, with Corporate Concepts agreeing to cease offering the Mera conversion.
By that time, 247 Meras had been produced – 88 on the Fiero GT platform, and 159 on the Fiero Formula. Ironically, that makes this counterfeit Ferrari one of the rarest American cars ever built.