Over time, the Fiero would prove to age well, with the plastic and polymer panels absorbing bumps and hits better than a steel-bodied car can. Dents large enough to crack the paint would leave spider cracking, but there was no risk of rusting of the underlying plastic, unlike what happens with conventional steel body panels. This lesson was not lost on General Motors, and plastic bumpers and fenders became common on many of their vehicles. Another attempt at a full-plastic body was made with the Chevrolet Lumina APV and Pontiac TranSport vans and even more prominently on an entire brand: Saturn.
The SC coupes were especially notable, with attractive lines and curves that looked extremely modern in 1990. A DOHC model with 124 hp was relatively quick for its day, and the little sports coupe managed to stand out from the crowd during its first generation. The pop-up headlights and curving belt-line actually made it look like a baby Camaro or Firebird to me.
Never a fan of the black plastic 'bra' nose cover that was prevalent throughout the 80's and early 90's, this was the only issue I had with this sporty coupe. One other feature that jumped out at me were the active front seatbelts. Before airbags became commonplace, manufacturers like Saturn dabbled in motorized front seat shoulder belts, which ran along a track to give access to the driver or passenger as they entered the vehicle without the need to buckle or unbuckle the shoulder portion of the belt.
The problem with these belts was that the occupant had to remember to buckle the bottom (lap) portion of the seatbelt, making it a less than safe set-up that would quickly end up in the automotive history books. With luck the belts in this Saturn are still functioning, as it would be a bit of a hassle to get them replaced nowadays if they did stop working!
Forget the newer models: when I think of Saturn, I'll always think of this nifty red SC coupe. These rather basic cars will never be considered true collectibles, so at some point I can hope to pick one up on the cheap and park it next to my other red plastic automotive wonder!