Canada is famous for a number of great things including hockey, maple syrup, and Jim Carrey. Unfortunately, building cars is not one of their strong suits. Take the Enterra Vipre for example: it was essentially a factory-built kit car that was based on the Pontiac Fiero GT and was sold through Pontiac dealerships.
While the car was clad in different body panels that gave it the classic 80s “wedge shape,” underneath it had the same suspension, chassis, and drivetrain as the Fiero. It also sported taillights from a first-generation Chevrolet Cavalier. Small wonder that just 36 cars were built before the company closed up shop!
My first encounter with the Enterra happened at a local car show in 2006. After perusing row after row of hot rods and muscle cars, something different caught my eye. From a distance, it could have been a Corvette or a third-gen Camaro with a body kit. Once I got closer, I realized it was a project that was pretty rough around the edges – and as I was about to find out, so was the car’s owner.
My friends and I approached the guy and asked him a couple of questions about the car. Having never seen or heard of an Enterra before, I took a couple of pictures of the car with my digital camera. The owner seemed nice enough and even opened up the engine cover to show us the mighty 2.8L V6.
Just as we were leaving, he stopped us and gave us each a burned DVD of the movie Loose Change, a conspiracy theory movie about the September 11th terrorist attacks. He asked us to please watch them and to make copies and give them to our friends. I’m not a believer in conspiracy theories and in people who you just met in a parking lot telling you that they know the real truth, but being a nice guy I thanked him for the movie and left.
Curious to learn more about the car, I registered as a member of The Car Lounge at VWVortex.com, which at the time was one of the 10 largest car forums on the Internet. I was hoping someone on there could help identify the car or provide some more information about it.
My very first post included two photos and a polite request for any information about the car. The snarky members of The Car Lounge thought I was trolling on their forum, as if everyone already knew about some obscure kit car from Canada with less than 40 models produced. A couple of good-hearted members came to my defense and realized I was legitimately asking for help in identifying an unusual car, but it was all in vain.
Someone replied with a link to an online classified ad where the car was for sale for $15,000 dollars, a very high price for a Fiero with some fiberglass body panels. Someone else posted the phone number from the ad, and still someone else called the seller and was messing with him.
It wasn’t long before I received an email in all caps that said something like “WHY DID YOU POST A PICTURE OF ME AND MY CAR ON THE INTERNET? YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO DO THIS AND THE PHOTOS MUST BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY.” Although I had no idea any of this would happen and no control over it, the car’s owner was blaming me!
In this case, I’m not sure which of the two things was less credible: the Pontiac Fiero masquerading as a $15,000 exotic sports car or its conspiracy-theory owner. Either way, the two were a perfect match for each other.