Buick’s Sports Car: 1989 Buick Reatta

1989 Buick Reatta

From William H – I know this isn’t the typical car you show on you site (which is awesome, by the way.  I look forward to receiving my Barn Finds emails daily). I got the car from my father who had it for years.  He found it in a small garage in Waco, Texas. The owner had intended to restore it but never got around to it so he just had it stored it in the back of the shop. Well, my father never got around to it either so it got passed on to me. I had planned to restore it to factory condition, but suffered a debilitating back injury last year that has left me pretty much disabled. I know that I will never heal enough to give the car the attention it deserves so I would like to get it to someone that can actually drive and enjoy it! Find it here on criaglist where it’s listed for $2,200.


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  1. Birdman

    I’ve always thought these were neat cars. Not sure why, but they have always turned my head when I see them. Some parts are tough to find, but depending what it needs, would be a neat car to play with.

  2. RayT Member

    Never thought they were as much fun to drive as they were to look at. Not exactly “sporty” in terms of handling or speed, but very attractive. Well, except for the awful digital dash….

    I did get a chance to briefly drive a prototype Buick engineers conjured up back in the day: highly-modified Turbo V6 driving the rear wheels through a ‘Vette rear end. That one was a real runner! Ever since, I’ve wished I had the money and shop skills to build a duplicate, though I would have preferred to go all the way and plug in a SBC.

    Hope someone restores this one. Doesn’t look difficult to do, and there aren’t that many Reattas left.

  3. Mark E

    Seems strange to me that there is no apparent body rust but the spare tire’s wheel is rusting. Makes me wonder about flood damage.

    I took one of these for a test drive about the same time my father had an ’84 Electra T-type. My impression was that the Electra was more sporty than the Reatta with regards to performance & handling…

  4. Kevin Harper

    Well if it has that horrible teves II ABS you can’t get parts for it. Why do I know this, because Alfa used the same system on the Milano and we were ordering parts for the Buick to put on the Milano, but that source has dried up. With the Milano you can retrofit them to non ABS, but I am not sure about the Buick.

  5. Aaron

    Everyone hates on the digital dash, but it’s not bad, and the touch screen is some great late 80’s cool. The thing is, so many new cars have digital dashes now, what’s the big deal?

    My grandma bought her red ’89 when I was 9, and I thought it was the coolest thing. Now I own it. It’s kind of neat, but not that sporty.

  6. Wayne Thomas

    The Reatta is the rare FWD that can (relatively) easily be converted to RWD as GM made mules proving the viability of doing so:


    and one can also use the supercharged 3800 engine if one wanted to keep all Buick and wiring rather than using a GN turbo or Corvette LS engine.

  7. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    There’s a couple of guys in my town that specialize in spare parts for Reattas. They generally have 10-20 carcasses stored next to the warehouse I rent space from. I guess there is a niche for everything!

  8. jeff6599

    There is one of these here in Iron Mountain Michigan. A retired educator owns it now. It was his wife’s car when she passed about 8 years ago. It has 30k on it; just beautiful and needs nothing. Asking $10,000 privately (not on line). If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll get you his name and Number.

  9. Tundra/BMW Guy

    William H, man I too suffered a debilitating back injury some years ago. After 7 surgeries and having just found out that there might be an 8th one looming on the horizon. Let me just say, my prayers are with you!! Serious!!! Since it is not an outwardly visible injury, many many people think either you are faking it or it’s not that big a deal!! I too have had to give up my wrenching on cars hobby amongst other things. I also have had to sell off toys due to the inability to enjoy them. I hope this Reatta finds a good home and that you find the “right thing” to help your back. One piece of advice CO is a great place to visit and try their legalized “medicine” to see if it helps you. It helps me majorly but the side effects, which it just so happens to be what everyone else wants, I cannot stand. Hard decision to make……………

    • William H

      Yeah, really didn’t think I’d be this bad off at my age. Having to give up pretty much everything that I really love to do it the hardest part. Well, that and trying to keep my mind occupied without incapacitating myself. Not used to being sedentary at all.

  10. Walter Joy

    I never realized how uncommon these are. Just over 21,000 made. A guy near me had 2

    • William H

      Walter, only 7009 of this year model built. It’s really a solid, neat little car and ran like a scalded cat before I parked it. It’s relegated to the occasional crank to keep everything clear. Really wish I could find someone to take this one. At this point I’d probably take $1200 cash and carry. Bring your preferred haul equipment as I drained the tank to prevent goo and start it occasionally just to keep it going. I really hate to see it go as I got it from my father but my back worsens daily and there’s no way i could physically bring it back to what it should be. Still on CL in waco, Killeen, Dallas and Austin.if anyone wants to take a look.

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