Friday, January 15, 2016

Re Atta Boy: 1990 Buick Reatta

The current crop of press reviews of the recently accounted Buick Avista remind me of another Buick that was hailed as the next best thing since sliced beef.  Back in the late 80s, folks raved about a new Buick coming to market that would bring back Buick's mojo, and reinvent Buick.  Of course we all know the story, the styling was interesting, but the car was about as fun to drive as a street sweeper, and it sold like Weetabix at a Celiacs anonymous meeting.  Find this 1990 Buick Reatta offered for $6750 in Walnut Creek, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Kaibeezy.


Sure, I'm going to poke fun at people who shelled out $36,000 (of 1990 dollars!) on one of these things, but today picking up a lightly used example for a few grand isn't a bad thing at all.  Oil reserves are trading for less than the price of used fracking water, so you needn't worry about the cost of gas when looking at downgrading your Prius to something cool from the 80s/90s. Plus, driving a nice one of these today is the new cool.


So matter how hard to marketeers at Buick tried to convince you that you'd have awesome 80s hair, they couldn't get past the fact that the Buick 3800 V6 mated to the front wheels was only pushing 170 horsepower into a 4-speed automatic and would move the 3500lb 2-seater to 60mph in about 9 or 10 seconds.  However, I have to admit that I'd have a hard time not enjoying green digital gauge setup while leisurely cruising around with the top down.


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16 comments:

  1. overpriced when new sure, but this is a nice ride and that 3.8 will get ya' 30mpg on the highway and run forever; I'd but this before I'd buy an Allante or clapped out SL Mercedes for the same kind of money

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    Replies
    1. Wow, $36K in 1990 dollars is equivalent to $67K today!

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  2. I remember car shopping with my Dad in 1998 and there was a hardtop Reatta in the Buick showroom. While he went on to buy a Park Avenue, the Reatta (and to a lessor extent the final Rivera) stuck out as being the coolest cars in the entire showroom. They impressed a 16 year old and made me realize Buicks could be cool. Is there ANYTHING in the Buick line that could do that today?

    Years later, I wonder if that little Reatta was an unsold new car.

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  3. The Reatta and the Allante. Two shining examples of GM Just Didn't Get It.

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    Replies
    1. Or alternatively, the 1988 Fiero, and the 1993 Allante---two shining examples of GM getting it too late.

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  4. Interestingly, the 80s hair ad linked to a Reatta some guy upgraded with a supercharged 3800 V6. Stock these seem kind of snoozy, but maybe that engine and the FE3 suspension from its Riviera platform-mate would make reality live up to the dream... if there's enough space under the hood?

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  5. Out of curiosity, if you HAD to pick one, would you guys take the Reatta convertible, or this Cutlass? I sort of lean to the Cutlass---it's become semi-cool to me, in a 90's kitsch kind of way.

    [img]http://zombdrive.com/images/1995_oldsmobile_cutlass-supreme_convertible_base_fq_oem_1_500.jpg[/img]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the same kitschy '90s vein (and on the same W-body platform), I've always been partial to the Grand Prix GTP:

      [img]http://zombdrive.com/images/1991_pontiac_grand-prix_coupe_gt_fq_oem_3_500.jpg[/img]

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    2. These two cars could have the best "angry face" staring contest on the block.

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    3. Oh man, I loved that model GTP back in the day.....also, between it and the same generation Bonneville, they have to hold the record for "most buttons on a steering wheel".

      [img]http://0.tqn.com/w/experts/Pontiac-Repair-828/2010/06/Steering-Wheel.jpg[/img]

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    4. [img]http://i.imgur.com/Yboja4u.jpg[/img]

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  6. As Steve said, it gets great gas mileage and is bulletproof for a few hundred thousand miles. Being almost hand made is what made them expensive. If you can put up with the loosey goosey cowl it is a cheap convertible for those top down days.

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    Replies
    1. Just hope that loosey goosey is not flying over your head with the top dwn.

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    2. Unfortunately for Buick and GM, handmade on a horrid sloppy FWD platform is not much better than mass-produced on a horrid sloppy FWD platform.

      It's a car for arthritic retirees to cruise out to the driving range at a relaxed pace.

      Delete
  7. Oh man, I am in big trouble. I was supposed to finish a draft on some writing by noon today. It is now 6:00pm EST! I started to read about this Reatta and fell instantly into a coma-like stupor. Anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (looks up pensively) I think we've lost Tom.

      Delete

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