Let’s face it, with the exotic-car production explosion over the past decade or so, a Ferrari 360/430/458/488 just isn’t as special as a high-end, mid-engined European machine used to be. On the lower end, a 1970s Porsche 914 or a Fiat X1/9 paints you as a bit of a nerd—and perhaps actively poor. What’s the discerning man gotta do to stand out? With Lamborghini Jalpa and Silhouette prices on the rise, a pre-Gallardo baby Lambo might be out of the question, and your anti-Ford stance most definitely takes De Tomaso’s Dearborn-powered Pantera and Mangusta out of the equation. The answer, friends, is none other than the Zimmer Quicksilver.
While you might be familiar with Zimmer’s fabulous Golden Spirit, a neoclassic automobile that recalls the Mercedes-Benz SSK while making use of readily available Ford underpinnings, the Quicksilver utilized the Pontiac Fiero’s unique platform to create a classy-plus-classy machine that turns heads faster than the high-wind zip of a Ferrari V-8.
In the tradition of the 206/246GT Dino, the Quicksilver featured a V-6 engine, in this case GM’s port-injected, 2.8-liter, pushrod mill, doling out a tasty 140 horsepower. That may not sound like much, but a decade earlier, the General’s 5.7-liter V-8s had roughly the same number of ponies. Sure, a 308 of the era, with its four-valve heads, made 100 horsepower more, but owning one of those means that you’ll be constantly shelling out lire to Angelo. And Angelo’s gotta pull the engine just to wipe the schmutz off the valve covers. Service-cost advantage: Zimmer. The extended, bechromed schnoz makes for an imposing 28-inch increase over the Fiero, which means nobody will mistake your Quicksilver for the Pontiac that lurks beneath.
This particular example carries serial number 860001, which, according to the seller, means it’s the first Quicksilver ever built. Riding on an ’85 Fiero chassis, this car wears black paint over a striking red interior, undoubtedly chosen for maximum mercury-vampire effect. For sale at the Raleigh Classic auction the first weekend in December, it’s expected to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000—chump change for a low-mileage example of neoclassic history. Reported Quicksilver production figures vary, but every number we’ve run across puts the total run at less than 300, making ’em more scarce than that 430 Scuderia you’ve been eyeing. The choice is simple, really: You can be the toast of the town, or you can live out your days as another schnook in a Ferrari. Don’t be a schnook. Buy the Zimmer.