Buick’s Reatta was the brand’s first production two-seater since the 1946 Model 46, as well as its last since going out of production. What today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe coupe lacks in seats, it more than makes up for in iconic '80s digital displays. But, will its price light up your life?
The Reatta wasn’t GM’s only chip in the ‘80s two-seater dip, they of course also offered up the Fiero through their now deceased Pontiac brand. Yesterday’s 1987 Fiero GT offered not just an awesomely clean original body but T-tops and a V8 conversion as well. Sadly for the seller, the majority of you felt that all didn’t add up to the car’s nearly twelve thousand asking price, and the car fell in an RCH-narrow 50.5% Crack Pipe loss.
In addition to the two-butt Reatta, and Fiero GM came up with the likewise Cadillac Allante, of course the Corvette, making the company in the ‘80s cray cray for cozy coupes. Aside from the venerable Vette however, none of them found much of a buying audience.
That’s not to say that any of them lacks charm, and there’s certainly a lot to like about today’s 1989 Buick Reatta, starting with the fact that these cars were for all intents and purposes hand built in GM’s Lansing Craft Centre, which has to be both fancy and schmancy just by right of its name- Craft Centre. How very continental!
Instead of being line produced, the Reattas were each built by a team of craftsmen and women at individual stations. What they were built upon was a shortened (98.5-inch) version of GM’s communal E-platform which underpinned the marque’s Riviera as well as the Olds Toronado and Caddy Eldorado. It offered 4-wheel independent suspension and ABS disc brakes at each corner, at the time both of which were seen as premium features.
In fact the Reatta was positioned as a premium sports car, or at least as close to that category as Buick was willing to go at the time. There’s really little that’s sporty about the Reatta, and in fact the car was never even offered with three pedals and a stick. Instead it came with a 3.8-litre V6 and corporate 4T60 4-speed automatic. The 3800 sidewinder has a rep for durability, and while naturally aspirated and 165-bhp here in Reattaland, it’s not too hard to append the factory blower that was offered elsewhere and fluffed the ponies to more booyah worthy 225.
This one, in Bright Red, is said to have not strayed far from the factory for much of its life, the ad claiming it to be a Michigan car. Despite that, it’s also described as rust-free and the bodywork supports that claim be not being see-through in any of the pictures. The Reatta’s styling has always been unique, with a short greenhouse highlighted by a large, wrap-around rear window and more front overhang than Hooters' highest tip earner.
It also seems factory fresh on the outside, although it does come with a set of gold baskets rather than the original flat five spoke wheels, which is a bit of a shame. It does have the factory pop-up headlamps, and the seller claims to have repaired their motors so they will pop-up when called into duty. The ad additionally notes a re-fluiding and the installation of some brake and suspension pieces made necessary by the 102,000 mile car having sat fallow for a while.
All that seems to have brought the car back to life, at least if the seller is to be believed. It should also be noted that he says that everything functions, including the Reatta’s most likely failure point - the wicked ‘80s monochrome touch screen display, which sits in the center console next to the equally digital instrument cluster, and controls all the entertainment and comfort-making aspects of the car.
The Electronic Control Center was a technological tour de force back when this car was new, but today looks as quaint and useful as a Mattel Classic Football game. It was also so problematic that Buick dropped the feature in the later cars. Of course the rest of the interior is equally an ‘80s time warp, the gently curving tsunami of a dash being fronted by a severely angular IP floating in front of it and leather-clad bucket seats that are so wide that farts released atop them won’t even require a cheek shift to set free.
The Reatta is an odd duck in the panoply of GM’s century old product catalog. It also hails from an era when sporty meant two-doors and some swoopy lines. Today’s sporty Buick - the Regal - offers, as you might expect, a more modern take on the term. That bad boy even offers the option of sending the car’s significant horsepower through a 6-speed stick, and providing the kind of ride and handling mix made common by its Japanese and European competitors.
The Reatta represents from a different era, and a different take on sporty. The question of course is what is that nostalgia worth? This Reatta comes with a $3,200 price tag, which the seller says is firm as cafeteria jello. What's your take on this blast from Buick's past for that much cash? Is that a price that should put this Reatta in the regatta? Or, does that make this a Re-notta?
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