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The Lost Reatta



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    interesting subject but if we can, let's meander back to Reattas or join in that other topic in Automotive News.

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  • So how much did the Reatta cost? Was it advertised on TV ever?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,033
    the Reatta was introduced in 1988, with a base price of $25,000 exactly. 4,708 were produced. That's actually not too bad of a showing considering the Riviera, which it was based on and was supposed to be a much higher-volume car, only sold about 86,000 units that year.

    In 1989, the Reatta's base price went to $26,700, and 7009 were produced. For 1990, a convertible was also offered. 2132 were built, with a base price of $34,995, while the fixed-roof model was $28,335 and sold 6,383 units.

    1991 was the Reatta's last year, and I'm guessing it was an abbreviated year as only 1,214 coupes and 305 convertibles were built. Prices wre up to $29,300 for the coupe, and a whopping $35,965 for the convertible.
  • that seems expensive for back in the late 80's early 90's! How much is 26,000 dollars of the 80's now? like $1 back then would be 5 dollars now.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,605
    Maybe not 1:5, but probably a good 1:2 in many areas anyway. Imagine a Buick starting at 50K today!
  • no wonder not many are out there
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327 was very expensive for what you got. Most shoppers looked at other cars in that exact price range and said "No way". I suppose BMW or Benz could get away with those high prices back then, but not Buick. Like you said, would you even buy a $50,000 Buick today?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,605
    I wonder how they depreciated back in the day. Today, a 50K Buick would be lucky to be worth 25K in a year, and 15K in 2 years...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    They dropped pretty hard initially. Today you'd be lucky to get $4,000 for a clean coupe, so do the math. With an MSRP of $29,000 you now have about 1/5th the value after 15 years. A BMW 3 series did only marginally better with an MSRP of $25,000 or so and worth about $4,000 today, tops.

    Of course, measuring depreciation after 15 years isn't a very good indicator of the rate of drop during the first 5 years. You reach a point where just about any old car today that is clean and driving well is worth at least $2,500.

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    and a whopping $35,965 for the convertible.

    That's about what a Lexus LS400 went for at the time.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    If you could buy that coupe for $9K, or less, perhaps, it might be more appealing than, say, a stripped Aveo or Accent, assuming you can get by with a two seater. It would be more interesting and luxurious, to be sure, but also offer better performance. Quick, somebody make an offer on it before Shifty grabs it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    Oh you can have it for $9K, believe me. I won't fight you--LOL!

    Sounds like a nice car though, if you can find that rare person who wants one that bad. If it were an Allante ragtop for that, it would sell.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    What's a fair dealer transaction price for an example that fits the description given?
  • Maybe 6,000-7,000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    That's on the money....I'd say $6K top dollar, if you ever want to get out alive again on the car. That's really "fair market".

    And it will never appreciate any more either.

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  • i saw a purple one today, 2nd one in arlington, last time i saw one was back in october. that one was green
  • My uncle has a bunch and I am looking for a reliable and fun car to get around town. The 3800 is pretty good on gas and from what I understand, the cars are pretty reliable, for their age. We shall see...
  • Yes, I remember the Reatta, and I know some who also have one.

    Buick Engines - Original engine in Buick Performance Parts Catalog by TA Performance
  • Looks like nobody has posted for a while. I would like to say that there is a Reatta discussion board available @ Antique Automobile Club of America if anyone has or would like to learn more about Reattas. I have had my white 1988 with Burgundy suede leather interior since late 2000. :shades: I love this car!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    What a coincidence! Just today a pristine '89 original owner Reatta parked a couple of spaces down from my car. How do I know these details? I asked the woman who got out of this car, with her teen age daughter. She said it has 80,000 miles on it, and she loves it. It had been weeks, or maybe months, since I last saw a Reatta.

    Some cars, such as the Reatta and the Allante, interest me more when they're old than when they were new.
  • Much more expen$ive when they were new. If you are a Reatta Hobbyist, and I stress that it is a hobby because you are always replacing or improving something , (after all, it is 16 to 20 years old,) you should join the discussion @ Antique Automobile Club of America if you want to learn more about this fantastic little car. The first thing you will need is a service manual, which is available, on line, for free from our forum. I believe there is an Alante forum also but, not in the above link. I believe that is in the Cadillac forum.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    What makes the Reatta "fantastic"? I would describe it a decent car for its day. It's also interesting in a number of ways, from a historical perspective, and a good collector car. Further, Buick deserves credit for taking the business risk of building a two seater. However, if the Reatta had been fantastic it would have sold in larger numbers, and there'd be an '08 in Buick showrooms, don't you think?

    A Grand National edition Reatta might have sparked some much needed excitement, in my opinion, and attracted people who were looking for more excitement, without betraying the concept of a comfortable grand tourer.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,033
    I think the Reatta might have sparked more interest back in the day, if they had offered a convertible version of it right from the get-go. And a stronger engine might have given it more of a premium, upscale feel. I have a feeling the 231 turbo that Buick had used in the Grand National might have been too brutal for this FWD platform at the time, but it really needed more than the 150-165 hp it was putting out. Reattas were HEAVY, too. Despite their small size, they weighed more than the FWD LeSabres and Electras of the time.

    Now in later years, GM was able to supercharge the 231 and use it in FWD platforms, but I have a feeling these cars were much more beefed up than the 1986-era E-body (Toro/Eldo/Riv) upon which the Reatta was based.

    Buick's demographic was starting to shift in the later 80's, as well. Buick had once been looked upon as an upper medium price brand, which in modern terminology, I believe they call "Near Luxury". Buick once was the Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, etc, of its day. Earlier in the 80's, there was a definite market for the pricier Buicks. Rivieras and Electras were popular, and the more expensive LeSabre Limited tended to outsell the cheaper Custom by a wide margin. In later years though, Buick made more of its volume off of smaller, cheaper cars like the FWD Century, Somerset Regal/Skylark, cheaper versions of the LeSabre, etc. The Electra saw a few good years at first, after it went FWD, mainly because the economy was coming out of a recession, which kept sales of the earlier RWD models lower than they normally would have been. But it fell from grace pretty quickly. And Buick really shot themselves in the foot with the 1986 Riviera. Sales fell from about 65,000 of the 1985 models, down to a paltry 22K for the shrunken 1986 models. Similarly, the FWD Regal never took off in quite the way that the RWD model had. It had a few upward years at first, probably because the RWD model had just gotten long in the tooth and buyers were looking elsewhere. But the trends were pretty obvious, that Buick was moving downscale. Truthfully, it had been doing so since perhaps the late 50's, when platform sharing became more pronounced, but it seemed to accelerate in the 80's.

    The Reatta was also pretty expensive, for what you got. The 1990-91 convertible stickered for around $35-36K. In contrast, a Corvette convertible, which had the heritage and power to give it some prestige, didn't sticker for much more..$37-38K.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,549
    Was the touch screen digital dash they used.

    These caused troubles when they were new and if one of them went bad now, it would probably condemm the car.

    Where would you ever find another one?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    I think on the whole the interiors on the Reatta and Allante disappointed buyers as they looked too cheap for the price of the car.

    The digital dash on the Reatta got pretty temperamental in cold weather, too.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,549
    There was a big "gee whiz" factor with those nifty (at the time) digital touch screen dashes but I remember the mechanics at the Buick dealers just hated them. They are primitive as can be now.

    I remember, hearing in the late 80's that to replace that big dash unit cost someting like 2600.00 plus labor!

    I don't know if that was accurate but today, I doubt if you could find one at any price.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,033
    Didn't the Reatta use the same dashboard, and touchscreen, as the Riviera? I'd always heard these were troubleprone on the Riv, too. I guess it was a good idea in theory, but just too far ahead of its time. The technology just wasn't there yet. But then, I wonder how long-term durable touch-screen type stuff is today? Things like Iphones and such.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,549
    Yes, they were available in the Rivieras of that era but I think as an option and not standard like the Reattas.

    Everything was controlled through that screen. Climate control, radio etc. They would tell you things like if your AC freon was low etc.

    Kind of nifty, actually but troublesome and not very practical.

    The early Allantes were nothing but trouble and the Cadillac dealers REALLY hated working on them!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,327
    I know folks like these cars and I'm glad they do....but if you sit in one, you do get the sense of them being an arrow that missed its target. GM was really out of touch with the market, the world and people's desires.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,549
    This wasn't the first time GM missed the mark.

    Those Reattas were VERY expensive as I recall.

    A question for my buddy Mr. Shifty.

    HOW in the world do you monitor all of these boards? Is it a 24 hr 7 day a week job for you?

    You can answer that in a private email if you wish. I'm just curious.
This discussion has been closed.