Two-Seat Tourer: 1990 Buick Reatta

Buick has been stepping up its game if you’ve ever seen new Buick commercials showing their vehicles – mostly SUVs, unfortunately – from this once somewhat stodgy brand. Marketing to young buyers is nothing new but whenever I see a car like this 1990 Buick Reatta, I wonder why they didn’t keep going in this direction. This car can be found here on eBay in Louisville, Kentucky with an unmet opening bid of $3,300 and a buy-it-now price of $4,200.

The Buick Reatta has a decidedly Pontiac Fiero look to it from this angle, especially with the pop-up headlights in the up position. Oddly enough, that car was also a two-seater as was another General Motors offering, the Cadillac Allante. All three cars were thinking-outside-the-box exercises and I wish that more car companies would take a chance on making something different. I guess, there are quite a few companies still doing that, even Buick with their new Regal TourX wagon.

Back to this good looking Reatta. This is probably my personal favorite view or angle of the Reatta, it really shows off the unique rear window and sweeping tail light detail. Buick made the Reatta from 1988 to 1991 with a convertible also being available for the 1990 and 1991 model years. The wheels aren’t from a Reatta but the originals come with the sale.

The interior of this car looks great other than some normal wear from 85,000 miles of use. The seller says that it has Riviera woodgrain trim panels but the originals come with the sale. The AC isn’t currently working and they don’t mention whether the button-heavy dashboard and digital display are fully functional, but I’m assuming that they are. The space behind the seats is for storage with a couple of hidden compartments.

The engine is Buick’s famous 3800, a 3.8L V6 which had 165 horsepower. It sounds like it works great and has had a lot of maintenance over the years. Have any of you owned a Reatta?

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Comments

  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Looks like the center of the speedometer is burnout on the dash, unless maybe the seller tried to Photoshop an illuminated Check Engine or ABS light? Unfortunately, the digital dash in these cars were horrible right out of the factory and always needed repaired. The rest of the car looks pretty nice.

    Like 5
    • Dusty Rider

      It looks like the reflection of the steering column to me, at least to my untrained eye..

      Like 1
      • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

        I don’t know, maybe it it is, but I saved the picture and enlarged it and it doesn’t look like a reflection to me. I worked for GM in the 90’s and there were a lot of digital dash repairs done under warranty on this body car.

        Like 4
    • ACZ

      To be really honest, there were few problems with the dash in these cars. If you have one with a problem 99% of the time it was a Central Power Supply with bad solder joint on the circuit board. For the 91 model year that component was eliminated through design.

      Like 1
  2. Superdessucke

    If this was an ’86 GN or T-Type Turbo, we’d probably be multiplying the ask by nearly 10. Wonder if anyone ever dropped one of those on one of these things as a trade-in? Anyone know of such story?

    Like 3
    • SubGothius

      Since these were FWD and came with a 3800 stock, reckon the hot ticket for one of these would be a later supercharged variant of the 3800, prolly just swap over the whole FWD powertrain from the donor.

      Like 2
      • ACZ

        If there would have been a 92 Reatta, it would have had the supercharged 3800 (L67). Everything was ready to go, part numbers were assigned, assembly documents were done. Then the plug got pulled.

        Like 3
  3. Little_Cars

    The digital dash on this and it’s sister the Allante is typically what idles the car and has owners selling them. Volumes have been written with “tips & tricks” to diagnose problems since these were discontinued. Side note–sadly the Buick Regal TourX has been discontinued. Manufactured in the Opel plant in Germany it had a run for two years (2018-2019). I own one. Loaded. I love it.

    Like 7
    • LD

      I’m sure you’re right. I bought a ’91 Allante a few years ago. And the reason I decided to buy that particular one was because it had an analog dash! Very rare but very desirable in them.

      I’m not sure if these places are everywhere but there is a company near us that rebuilds all of that GM digital stuff. I used to have an ’85 Cavalier Type 10 that I bought new. I ordered the digital dash for it. Back then it looked like Star Wars stuff!! But it caused a lot of problems over the years I owned it. But the local Chevrolet dealer would remove it, send it to those rebuilders. They had others they had rebuilt and they would just exchange them. They did that one for me three different times.

      Like 3
  4. ccrvtt

    These cars were almost done with their production when I first heard of them. GM did an underwhelming job of promoting the Reatta.

    Every time I see the name “Reatta” I get the image of a divorcee in her late 50’s driving one with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and calling the car a “Rita”.

    Like 10
  5. BOP_GUY Member

    I agree, these were under-advertised and overpriced for what you get. It kind of reminds me of the Cascada convertible that was recently canceled. Had they been rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and both with a generous boost of horsepower and torque, they would’ve sold quite well. But with the Reatta having that low of power, no manual transmission option, and a sticker price of $29k to $36k in 1991, there were certainly more entertaining options for the money. As usual, GM had a great idea and then did it on the cheap.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      My turbo 2019 Regal TourX is all wheel drive. It’s performance isn’t staggering with a pitiful exhaust note from dual rear outlets. My plan is to upgrade to Magnaflow stainless steel when the factory warranty runs out. Otherwise, a well engineered piece of rolling Opel sculpture. LOL

      Like 4
      • BOP_GUY Member

        I really like those!

        Like 2
  6. Bob Mck Member

    If this were a convertible, I would be all over it.

    Like 3
  7. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I wonder what ever became of the Reatta built on the show floor at one of the North American International Auto Show events in Detroit?

    At the time, I just thought that it might become the single most problem-ridden car ever assembled, or perhaps the least?

    Like 2
    • Aribert

      I’m fairly positive that was a non saleable vehicle. I had just hired in at ASC as the Reatta convertible was in pilot / prelaunch and was assigned as the test egr. I was on hand, behind the curtain, during the press days prior to the start of the auto show.

      BTW, I asked my GM contact who the target market for these vehicles were – he replied “the wives of Drs and lawyers”. I responded with “they drive SLs”, he grinned and shrugged his shoulders.

      Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        Sounds about right. Reminds me of my time inside Nissan when the Murano Convertible was launched. Nobody could answer me what the reasoning was behind the creation of an open crossover vehicle. An employee who has since become my good friend told me the target was most likely suburban housewives in affluent markets who wanted a convertible three or four times a year.

  8. GeorgeB Member

    Very nice cars. There are parts specialists out there. Friend has one and says he can always get parts. This car was not designed for the Nurembergring, but for comfortable touring and daily use. Everyone wants to imagine they’re going racing. They are not. And probably shouldn’t!

    Like 2
  9. LD

    There is a man in our area who used to own the Buick-Pontiac dealership. During that time, he bought five new Buick Reattas. I assume he bought them as investments because he kept them for years.

    I still see him occasionally driving the silver coupe with a painted black top and a red convertible. I’m not sure if he still has the other three.

    If he bought them as investments, I wonder how he feels about that now.

    Like 4
  10. ACZ

    Scotty, all I can say is that a lot of people like to bad-mouth things they know nothing about. My friend had, my brother-in-law’s second cousin had, and so forth. I still have my 91 Reatta convert that I bought new. 3800 Tuned Port with a 4T63E. I love it. It is not for sale. So, there.

    Like 4
    • ACZ

      Sorry, 4T65E. Damned computer won’t let me make the correction.

      Like 1
  11. Superdessucke

    $3,300 and it couldn’t draw a single bid. I guess that gives you an idea of how desirable it is. Which is not very. So I guess you’re kind of lucky if you like these. Very affordable!

    Like 2

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