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GMTruckGuy74

Buick Reatta info?

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Anyone with info to share on the 1990 & 1991 Buick Reatta (coupe or convertible, it doesn't matter)?

Of course I know that you should stay away from the '88 & '89 models with the touch screen radio & hvac controls (this option disappeared for the '90 model year). I'm looking for whatever info you can provide. TIA!!!
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How many:

6,383 - 1990 Buick Reatta coupes
65 - 1990 limited edition Buick Reatta convertibles (in white only)
2,132 - 1990 Buick Reatta convertibles

1,313 - 1991 Buick Reatta coupes
305 - 1991 Buick Reatta convertibles


[url="http://research.cars.com/go/crp/safety.jsp;jsessionid=GL41DLONDSV2XLAZGI3ZXKY?makeid=7&modelid=58&year=1990&myid=&acode=&crpPage=summary.jsp&gotopage=safety.jsp&aff=national""]Cars.com website on 1990 Reatta Reliability (info sourced from JDP)[/url].

Cars.com website on 1991 Reatta Reliability (info sourced from JDP)

1990 review by Newsday from Cars.com.

Tom Incantalupo
Newsday
August 3, 1990
BUY A CONVERTIBLE and you join an exclusive club composed of people willing to spend an extra $5,000 or so for the pleasure of driving with nothing but the sky above their heads. Or, perhaps, just to be members of an exclusive club. How exclusive? Well, though convertibles underwent resurgence in the 1980s, they still account for only about 2 percent of all cars sold, or about 182,000 last year.

A week with this convertible makes it easy to see why, but, at the same time, to understand the allure for some people of an open-topped car.

Besides being more expensive than hardtops, convertibles usually are noisier inside, even with their tops up. Their bodies tend to shake and shudder over bumps because, even with special chassis reinforcement, a car is structurally weaker without a steel roof.

The two-seat Reatta is no exception on either count. We'd judge the noise inoffensive, but the shaking and shuddering are excessive when the pavement gets rough.

Lowering and raising the Reatta's manually operated top is a bit complicated, but not difficult if you follow the instructions. With the top down and windows rolled up, wind-buffeting is minimal. The top seals well to keep out wind and rain. And if it's exclusivity you're looking for, the Reatta's got it; only about 700 convertibles have been sold since they went on sale in the spring.

The convertible is built by Buick in Lansing, Mich., along with the coupe, which debuted in January, 1988. Both are likeable, if expensive, cars, providing a blend of sportiness and luxury that is ideal for metro New York driving conditions.

The Reatta is 14 inches shorter than Buick's Riviera, on which it is based mechanically, and its wheelbase is 9.5inches shorter. The instrument panel is nearly identical. For 1990 it thankfully does not include the touch-sensitive video screen that served as the controls and displays for the sound and climate systems; Buick dropped it for 1989.

The Reatta's dashboard includes easily read, round, electronic gauges clustered in front of the driver. Controls are mostly push buttons, and some are hidden by the thickly padded steering wheel. The heater/air conditioning system is automatic, but can be overridden.

The convertible Reatta weighs 200 pounds more than the coupe, which, of course, slows it down a bit, but 0-to-60 acceleration still is in the 10-second range. At nearly 3,600 pounds, the Reatta is rather chubby for a two-seater, but it carries its weight well; its firm suspension and Eagle GT tires keep things nicely under control.

A long list of standard equipment includes power windows and locks, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, an antitheft system and a driver's side airbag with manual lap and shoulder belts.

1990 Buick Reatta Engine: 3.8 liters, V-6, 165 hp. Transmission: Four- speed automatic, front wheel drive Length: 183.7 inches Weight: 3,577 pounds Trunk Capacity: 10.5 cubic feet Base Price: $35,575, incl. destination charge EPA Rating: 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway

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1990 review from Orlando Sentinel on Cars.com

Richard Truett
Orlando Sentinel
August 2, 1990
Driving the new Buick Reatta convertible is something of a bittersweet affair.

Your heart is stolen - wheeled away - by the car's subtle, graceful styling. But your mind is troubled somewhat by the car's performance.

At first glance - and especially with the top down - the Reatta has an expensive European look, making you think that it must be a sports car.

But when you slip behind the wheel, you find out quickly you are wrong. The Reatta is a luxury car. It runs, rides and performs like a luxury car, and a good one at that. It's smooth, refined, relaxed and very comfortable.

Power comes from Buick's super smooth fuel-injected 3800 V-6 engine that develops 165 horsepower. The Reatta convertible weighs in at a hefty 3,577 pounds, which is nearly 200 pounds heavier than the full size Park Avenue luxury sedan. The only transmission available in the Reatta is GM's four-speed automatic. Both engine and transmission are superb units that serve as the standard powertrain for dozens of GM vehicles.

But since the Reatta is a hand-built luxury car that is Buick's flagship and, arguably, the nicest looking American car in years, doesn't it cry out for something special under the hood, such as a highly tuned version of the V-6 or maybe a turbocharger?

Cadillac discovered that its potential customers wanted performance with the Allante luxury convertible. When the company responded with a more powerful engine, sales increased. Buick may find out the same thing with the Reatta. Several enthusiast magazines have tested the Reatta convertible and clocked 0-to-60 mph times ranging from 9.8 to 9.1 seconds. That performance is respectable, but it isn't special. For the $34,995 base price, one expects better than that.

If however, you don't rank muscular performance very high and are looking for a topless car that will make heads turn, you will not find a car that can do it any better than the Reatta convertible. It is nothing less than a styling and design masterpiece.

The front end sports a slight wedge shape, hidden headlights, a front spoiler with integrated fog lights and a big black rubber strip that runs the length of the car. The rear end is rounded, and the taillights run the length of the rear area. One shape or directional change blends smoothly into another, giving one the impression that the Reatta was carved by the wind. It is a timeless design.

Mercedes-Benz attracted worldwide attention earlier this year by introducing a convertible top mechanism that raises and lowers in just 28 seconds, all at the flick of one switch.

Who would have thought that Buick engineers could have made a better top mechanism using none of that complicated electrical wizardry found on the Mercedes models?

The Reatta top is a completely manual affair. But you can raise and lower it very easily in about a minute. I prefer an easy-to-operate manual top to an electrically controlled one. Manual tops are easier to maintain and infinitely simpler. They place less demand on the car's electrical system, there are fewer parts that can break, and they keep mechanical clutter to a minimum.

The nicest feature of the top is that it folds down all the way into its compartment, and the fiberglass tonneau cover fits flush with the bodywork, for a very neat, streamlined appearance.

With the top up, the Reatta is very quiet, even at high speeds. No wind noise can be heard and after several heavy downpours, there were no water leaks.

Just one other note about the top: Most European convertibles offer cloth tops. They look expensive and convey class. The Reatta has a cheaper-looking vinyl top like those used on lesser-priced cars.

A cloth top could make a big difference in the way people perceive the Reatta, which costs more expensive and convey class. The Reatta has a cheaper-looking vinyl top like those used on lesser-priced cars.

A cloth top could make a big diffe ence in the way people perceive the Reatta, which costs more than any car Buick has ever built. A more expensive-looking cloth top would help underscore the Reatta's exclusivity and value.

The test car, painted red and fitted with a brown leather interior, sported Buick's electronic instruments, but unlike other instruments of this type, Buick's are shaped like traditional analog gauges. I am not of fan of this type of instrument system, but Buick's is easy on the eye after you get acquainted with it. The layout provides the driver with full information in an easy-to-read format, and it is packaged to take up very little room.

The brown leather seats were sumptuous. A myriad of adjustments - 16 in all - make them flexible enough to allow nearly any body to be comfortable. Foot room and head room are good. For a two-seater, the Reatta is quite practical, thanks to its 10.5 cubic feet of stowage space in the trunk. There also are compartments behind the seats for small items. One of the best features of the Reatta is its remote control locking, which is activated by a small radio transmitter located in the key fob.

Now, the best for last: Equipped with anti-lock brakes, big, fat 15-inch Eagle GT radials on mag wheels and a quick steering ratio, the Reatta is a pleasure to drive - unless you are the type who needs to be somewhere in a hurry. There may not be a better car in the mid-$30,000 price range to take to the country club on Sundays or to the beach.

You can sit for hours in the driver's seat and never become uncomfortable. With the top up or down, rear vision is never a problem. The car has a bit of body flex over rough roads, but it is generally a smooth, stable and solid cruiser. Gas mileage averaged a very respectable 21.4 on combined city/highway driving with the air conditioning on.

The test car features Buick's best sound system, an excellent four-speaker AM/FM-cassette-CD affair. Cruising at high speeds with the top down does not drown out the clarity of the radio.

There isn't much in the way of competition in the Reatta's price range. The Mercedes-Benz models are at least twice the price and hard to get. The Cadillac Allante is about $20,000 more. There are a few lesser convertibles, but if you can afford a Reatta, then you certainly wouldn't want to drive a Miata, RX-7, Mustang, Capri or Chrysler convertible.

The Reatta's low production and stellar styling will ensure the car's classic status. One wishes, however, that Buick would make this car - or at least a special model - appeal to performance enthusiasts.

Buick could satisfy those who want sports car performance in the Reatta by building a GS model. It could have stiffer suspension, a set of cloth-covered sport bucket seats, a five-speed, regular analog instruments and a turbocharged engine. Within the confines of GM, all the pieces are there. Is the will?

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1990 Chicago Tribune Review on Cars.com

Jim Mateja
Chicago Tribune
July 9, 1990
If you purchase a Buick Reatta convertible, you`ll find religion.
Take, for example, the reaction when you first look at the $35,000 pricetag.

``Oh, my God.``

Then, comes the realization that you just paid $35,000 for a two seaterbut have to deal with a manually operated convertible top rather than a power unit.

``Dear, Lord.``

And when you try putting the top down by hand and bringing it back up and scrape fingers and knuckles, the reaction is to again call upon the divine-at least that`s what we told the kids after Dad`s first round with the top.

The wife suggested that if someone recorded what was said in grapplingwith the top at least a half dozen radio stations would be playing it as rapand MTV would make it into a video.

The Reatta convertible we test drove was a really nice car that wasreally overpriced-by $10,000 to $15,000.

Base price is $34,995. The test car added a 16-way power driver`s seatfor $680 and a compact disc player for $396. With $570 for freight, you`re at $36,641 before tax, title and plates.

OK, it has lots of standard equipment, from antilock brakes to driver`sside air bag; to AM stereo/FM stereo with cassette, power windows, brakes,steering, seats and door locks; cruise control; tilt wheel; rear windowdefogger; and steel-belted radial tires.

The 3.8-liter, fuel-injected V-6 had some punch while delivering 18 miles per gallon city/27 m.p.g. highway, and the gran touring suspension systemcushioned two occupants from road harshness.

The reality is that when you hand over 36 big ones, you don`t expect tohave to use those now empty hands to get the top folded and hidden under thetonneau.

When down, the convertible is a pleasure to drive on warm evenings. Whenthe top is up, the size of the canvas wrapping around to meet the two frontwindows creates a massive blind spot that makes backing out the drive, moving into or out of the passing lane or parking a chore if not a hazard.

One last gripe about the top; it doesn`t fit snuggly in back along thesheet metal. There`s a slight gap, just enough to ask:

``For $35,000, why can`t the darn thing fit, for godsake?``

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A friend of mine had an '89 Reatta. He bought an earlier model because it had the touchscreen. They're actually very reliable, and replacement parts are fairly easy to find in junkyard Rivieras. Pretty much all the touchscreen stuff interchanges between the Riv and Reatta; the option codes tell it to display different things depending on the model. You can even program a Riviera to show a Reatta logo and vice versa. The big thing to worry about on those cars is the electric ABS booster. Fortunately they don't go bad too often, and when it does act up, it's typically a sticking $5 relay. But if the pump module dies, a reman is about $700 and a new unit is $1500, if they're even still available. The Reatta may be small, but it's apparently made out of lead. The hardtop is around 3600 pounds, the convertible is over 3800! Don't buy one if you're expecting great handling and the acceleration you'd expect from the 3.8 V6 in such a small car--it's pretty slow. But it is a VERY nice-looking, unique car, and people were always complimenting it and asking him what it was.
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I find it amazing that out of such a small number made (less than 23,000 over 4 years), that there are so many Reattas around in such good condition.
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I find it amazing that out of such a small number made (less than 23,000 over 4 years), that there are so many Reattas around in such good condition.

[post="29837"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


For a car that costs upwards of $52,000-55,000 in today's money, I would sure hope there are many in good condition!

A quick peak at eBay will garner you 75% higher-mileage (80-120k) Reattas - still in great condition - and 25% very low-mileage (10-50k) garage-kept, show-quality examples.

People bought these knowing they'd be worth something.

I really looked at an '88 with the CRT screen at Dick Norris B-P-GMC. It had ~65k on the clock but they wanted $9800. Sorry, but for 2/3 of that, I got my car. A two-seat roadster would not have suited my needs...for now, at least.
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One of the largest differences is this, not that either motor is inferior, the newer L27 had better intake manifold, other refinements & tuning changes. '91 had L27 3800 170hp/225tq......16"wheels '88-90 had LN3-C 3800 165hp/220tq......15" wheels there has been a few places that did - reman or repair digital dashes, old touch screens. They do act up but some examples have not yet. Ive seen coupes relatively affordable in the higher milage ranges. Engines are very reliable, even neglected ones Tranny could need help anytime over 150,000 miles but have made over 200,000 The old ABS units should be and can be converted to conventional power brakes. The early ABS unit just was not good, I would have no part of it. All cars that used in suffered: TGP, any H or C bodies that optd for it, Riv,Toro, Caddys. As said it was heavy, 300 lb heavier than a H body coupe that could seat 6, I have yet to hear anybody determine where this weight comes from, seems it must be in the unibody and structure. Convertables seem to be priced high Who cares if woos ies can't operate a top, not an issue here.
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Thanks for the info so far...

Anyone know of a Reatta Forum? I've searched using Google, but I didn't find anything. I know one exists, b/c there's a seller on eBay (repairs digital dashes) that mentions it in his ads (but no link or web site address given).

Let me tell you all why I'm asking... with the newborn, it doesn't look like a 2007 Saturn SKY is in the picture (day care costs are phenomenal!). I still want a "toy" and I've always liked the Buick Reatta (is it just me, or does the SKY seem like a modern day version of the Reatta convertible???). I've found a '90 Reatta coupe for sale about an hour away from me and I'm looking into it (part of me still says to hold out til next Spring and see if a SKY is economically feasible, the other part says why wait for the bad news?/take what I can get now"). So I'm not completely sold on the Reatta yet, but figure I might want to get as much info as I can just in case.

Thanks for helping out!
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"Just one other note about the top: Most European convertibles offer cloth tops. They look expensive and convey class. The Reatta has a cheaper-looking vinyl top like those used on lesser-priced cars." "A cloth top could make a big difference in the way people perceive the Reatta, which costs more expensive and convey class. The Reatta has a cheaper-looking vinyl top like those used on lesser-priced cars." "A cloth top could make a big diffe ence in the way people perceive the Reatta, which costs more than any car Buick has ever built. A more expensive-looking cloth top would help underscore the Reatta's exclusivity and value." I guess Mr. Truett coudn't decide how to word it, so he just narrowed it down to three.
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Does anyone know why this car was discontinued so quickly? Why the HELL did GM cancel all their sweetest cars from the 80s and 90s? GN, Typhoon/Syclone, Reatta, Allante, ZR4 vette, Impala SS. The list goes on... Also, GMTruckGuy, have you considered an Allante? I am not sure if the car is based on the same Buick chassis, but you can find those Cads with V8s and I believe the 93 allante has a northstar in it!
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Does anyone know why this car was discontinued so quickly? Why the HELL did GM cancel all their sweetest cars from the 80s and 90s? GN, Typhoon/Syclone, Reatta, Allante, ZR4 vette, Impala SS. The list goes on...
Also, GMTruckGuy, have you considered an Allante? I am not sure if the car is based on the same Buick chassis, but you can find those Cads with V8s and I believe the 93 allante has a northstar in it!

[post="31681"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It was axed due to slow sales. It was very overpriced for what it was. Plus, the early 90s GM was on the brink of bankruptcy.
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It was axed due to slow sales.  It was very overpriced for what it was.  Plus, the early 90s GM was on the brink of bankruptcy.

[post="31686"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


BINGO!
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They werent really typical assembly line cars were they? This would make them more expensive. Now if they would have worked the motor some and had a darn CANVAS top all would have been somewhat different ? Maybe. Perhaps some aluminum panels to get the weight down some. In a few years we'll be seeing guys put that new 6sp FWD stick in a Reatta or two, who knows which engine? L67 or the new 3.9 or maybe even the new 3.6. Nearly as soon as they are in the wrecking yards the boys will be playin. There a Reatta now with a SII L67 hooked to a 5sp getrag. Getrag is not really built for that power. Another guy has put a turbo system on his Reatta. There are others Im sure just like the Fiero's of which there are many modified. More power canvas top tranmission options less weight
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It was axed due to slow sales.  It was very overpriced for what it was.  Plus, the early 90s GM was on the brink of bankruptcy.

[post="31686"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Actually, I think it was axed more so because GM wanted the Reatta's plant to produce the Impact electric car. The Reatta was hand built at the Lansing Craft Center(I think that was the name!).
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Seeing a picture like this makes me really want a Reatta:

Posted Image

But then again, I keep thinking it was someone else's car that I don't know how well cared for it was and what it was put throught. Here's a picture of the car I'm considering:

Posted Image

By the way, the wife told me last night that she'd rather us get the SKY. She doesn't like the Reatta at all and said that we have some time to figure out where to pull money from to get the SKY. So now I'm confused, because this car is available NOW (granted, it isn't perfect) and the SKY is still at least 6/7 months AWAY; however, I know when the SKY is available I'll be mad at myself for not waiting. Edited by GMTruckGuy74
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I was seriously going to consider forgetting about the Reatta and wait until next spring for the Saturn SKY to become available... but with the lack of current information on the SKY and dealers not knowing anything nor wanting to take deposits (but taking lists of names 20+ long), I'm starting to think getting a SKY in 2006 will be darn close to impossible. The Reatta is looking better and better each day! :lol:
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