|by Rodney Dickman
“The idea of the MERA was born when the Fiero was first introduced with the V-6 engine” says Bob Bracey, owner of Corporate Concepts in Capac, Michigan (USA) and creator of the Mera. It was obvious to Bob that the space frame of the Fiero would make an excellent platform for a re-body. Bob and some of his employees began looking at several cars which they thought would be good candidates. They ultimately decided that the 308 Ferrari was the best choice. Magnum PI was popular at the time and the 308 was very recognizable and alluring to the public. After almost 2 years of clay work and design work, the MERA was born in 1987. For 1987 about 88 Fiero GTs were converted into 1987 Meras. With the introduction of the 1988 Fiero, the MERA utilized the 1988 Formula because it was a better value. About 159 were made on the Formula chassis, bringing the total MERAs produced to 247. A big change for the 1988 MERA was the addition of the replica aluminum rims specially cast by Cromadora of Italy for the MERA conversion, who at one time cast rims for Ferarri. The MERAs built on the 1987 GT used the original Fiero rim which was repainted to match the body color of the car. The MERA was sold through Pontiac dealers only as a new car. No kits were ever sold, and only new Fieros were used for the conversions. The MERA was not endorsed by GM but was a Pontiac dealer option similar to that of ordering a conversion van. 1988 MERAs sold for (depending on options — MERA and Pontiac) for about $24,000 to $28,000. At the time this price range was not much less than a Corvette. (Note: all 308-328 “kit cars” have been molded off of a MERA or off of another kit that was ultimately molded off of a MERA!)
I bought my MERA in the spring of 1993. I had been looking at 308 Ferrari’s for a year or so and wanted a late model (1983-1985). At that time the prices were around $50,000 which meant that I would have to save for a few more years to be able to afford one. I happened to see an ad in the Milwaukee Journal for a 308 replica, but I was not interrested because it was an automatic and I had impressions of kit cars being low in quality. A week later my curiosity got the best of me and I went to check out this “MERA”. The moment I saw this car I knew I had to have it. The car had already been altered with Ferarri badges and the interior was upholstered in Ferrari Fly Yellow and black. Since I have owned it, I have been continually making changes to improve its look, sound and performance. My Mera originally was an automatic but after the second year that I owned it I changed it over to the 5-speed Getrag. After the third year that I owned my Mera I installed the turbo charger system. As for what this car has cost: I’m the 3rd owner and paid $17,000 for the car. I have invested an additional $16,000 bringing the total to $33,000. If I had purchased this MERA new, it would have cost about $43,000 to get it to this point.
After I bought my MERA, I spent quite a bit of time and effort finding out about the whole MERA concept, production and history. I even called the factory where they were made. I decided someone should take the time and interest to form a club for these unique cars and help preserve their history. So was born the “MERA REGISTRY”. I now have over 90 MERA’s listed in the registry. The owners have been hard to locate but I keep finding them here and there. Many MERAs were purchased by doctors and other professionals who don’t read Fiero or other kit car publications, so they have no idea there is a registry. In the fall of 95 we had a MERA reunion in Detroit and were fortunate to be able to tour the factory where they were made. 13 MERAs were able to attend this event. If you know of a MERA, please ask the owner if he is aware of the registry!
The next time you see what you think is a 308 Ferarri, take a closer look. It may not be what you think it is!!Reprinted with permission of author.
Rodney Dickman , who maintains the MERA Registry, is always looking for information about MERAs. If you know of a MERA or Mera owner etc, please contact Rodney at: