6,500 Original Miles: 1990 Buick Reatta

The Buick Reatta remains one of the more intriguing options for a modern-day collector car that won’t break the bank, even if its true appeal as a second- or third-car is a bit misunderstood at the moment. Most car enthusiasts would agree it features an attractive design, with  upscale appointments inside and good looks whether the top is up or down. And given the level of effort GM put into the assembly process, it’s not surprising the design has aged well. But it does seem to fall into the trap of not doing any one thing exceptionally well, but being pretty good at the basics. Will it ever appreciate to a respectable level? Right now, this 6,500 mile example is bid to $8,000 here on eBay with the reserve unmet.

The Reatta seemingly had all the goods: fully independent suspension, four wheel disc brakes, and the venerable 3800 V6. It was front wheel drive, however, which isn’t the first choice for a truly collectible model, but cars from the 80s and 90s aren’t necessarily held back by this layout, either. The Reatta could be had in coupe and convertible form, with most Buick shoppers seemingly opting for the convertible. I personally dig the coupe, and I’ve always wanted to find one to lower on aftermarket suspension and some slightly larger wheels. Gray with maroon leather, please. This Reatta features the more traditional combo of red over saddle leather.

The car was purchased as a gift for the wife of the late owner, who used the car sparingly and stored it in a heated garage. The lack of use is quite clear based on the photos, which reveal an interior that shows virtually no flaws. All of the Reattas were automatics, so you’re not going to ever find a row-it-yourself option in one of these; then again, that wasn’t the point of this car. But then, what was it meant to be? As a grand tourer, it certainly had some pedigree, but would fall short of the European makes with powerful V8 engines and supercar styling. The Reatta seemed like yet another attempt for a GM brand to shed its stodgy image and attract younger buyers, but it didn’t pan out that way.

The engine bay is like the rest of the car, which is to say, spotless. The seller reports only a few issues, none of which are exactly deal breakers: the power antenna is broken, stuck in the “Up” position; the air conditioning doesn’t work and an idiot light is illuminated; and finally, there’s a rub mark on the right hand side door molding. The trunk looks like it was never used, and the underhood insulation pad is about the best I’ve ever seen in a “used” car. The Reatta will come with various documentation from the sales process, but you’ll have to pay extra for the “4MY DEAR” vanity plate (awww). It may be mint, but will limited desirability hold back the final price?


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  1. DRV

    It’s funny how some cars that are perceived collectable when new are never collectors cars. Imagine a 30 year old low production “hand built” GM bulletproof luxury convertible in excellent low mile condition not valued as well as the cheapest new car. Only one prob with these is the cowl feels like it is not attached well!

    Like 2
  2. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    If you want one of these, this looks like the one to get – low mileage, one owner.

    Too bad Buick didn’t come out with the Supercharged version of this engine until later. Not that this car was bought for performance, but it would add some excitement.

    Like 2
  3. Larry D

    I always said that the Reatta as well as the Cadillac Allante would be more well received if they had been rear-wheel drive.

    There is a man in our area who owned the local Buick-Pontiac dealership years ago. And during the years when the Reattas were being made, he bought a new one each year and kept them. He bought five in total and still has them. I will give him credit though for driving his cars. He didn’t buy them and just store them away. He still owns them today.

    I have to assume he bought them hoping for the day when they would be worth a lot of money. I guess he found out differently. Of course, I bet he never thought Pontiac would go out of business either.

    Like 10
  4. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Front Royal, Virginia,

    Like 1
  5. Mriley

    I’d rather have the ’55 convertible in the back ground. :-)

  6. Pugsy

    If the reserve is low enough, a great car for a youngster. Drive it all year. It’s brand new still.

    • Larry D

      Oh I hope not! That car won’t last long with a “youngster” driving it.

      Plus a low-mileage car like this will have a lot of things that will malfunction from sitting so much. As the owner of Allante Source told me once, “Sitting around is the kiss 💋 of death for these cars.”

      And a lot of the parts for these cars are expensive IF you can find them, particularly the electronics.

      Like 2
  7. chrlsful@aol.com

    same here:
    “…There is a man in our area who owned the local Buick-Pontiac dealership years ago. And during the years when the Reattas were being made, he bought a new one each year and kept them. He bought five in total and still has them. I will give him credit though for driving his cars. He didn’t buy them and just store them away. He still owns them today….”
    Not a bad idea. Never knew they hada turbo in final production. Altho a ford guy have all ways known bout the motors, rock solid, thnx Jeff. Wishin it hada convertable/hard top – the coupe is a nice style.
    Many of the companies have had these – a karmen ghia, fiat 850, miaita, etc. They’re great ideas’n I’m hopin the EVs have a few like these. I’d daily the above !

  8. Rodney - GSM

    This car seems to have an interesting story to tell. First, “My Dear” did not like to drive or didn’t like the car, or both as seen by the mileage. In 1990, out-the-door price of 42K was expensive and represented a very specific choice. I suspect this was the husbands idea of a dream car, not “My Dears” idea of a good time. Today this looks like a lot of fun for small $. Keep the plates and tell the story.

  9. t-bone BOB

    Aug 01, 2021
    Current bid:
    US $12,851.00
    [ 32 bids ]

    Reserve not met

    Like 2
  10. Gerard Frederick

    Didn´t they have serious problems with the electronic display panel on the dash?

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