Sitting on a dealership’s floor in Kentucky is a pristine example of what Buick saw as a halo car in the late 1980s. The Buick Reatta is delightfully retro, and you can buy one that has never been titled and has all of 11,203 miles on its digital odometer.
General Motors of decades past saw its personal luxury cars being flashy and cushy coupes of grand proportions. Cadillac had the Eldorado, Buick had the Riviera and Oldsmobile had its Toronado. These cars had presence and enough sheetmetal to land a Boeing 747 on. But things changed in the 1980s as fuel economy standards and changing consumer tastes meant going small and high-tech. The Corvette took a technological step forward and Cadillac got the Pininfarina-designed Allanté. Buick got the quirky Reatta.
The Reatta rides on a modified version of the Riviera’s E-body platform and utilizes the same legendary Buick 3800 V6, but eschews the Riviera’s blocky body for something a bit rounder and a bit easier to look at. A Reatta buyer would enjoy seating for just two inside of a vehicle featuring then-novel vacuum fluorescent displays that controlled much in the vehicle.
Unfortunately, in its short four years of production Buick managed to move fewer than 22,000 of them.
Today, these cars are having a bit of a renaissance as collectors pine over Radwood-era vehicles. I’ve featured more than one Reatta on my Dopest Cars series, but none of them are as nice as this one for sale at Herb Jones Chevrolet in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
As I mentioned before, it has just 11,203 miles, but the dealership says that it has never been sold or titled. I asked the dealership for an explanation about that and they told me:
Our owner’s brother had picked this vehicle to drive when it was delivered to Herb Jones Chevrolet in 1990. The brother kept the vehicle until he passed in the late 2000s. Once he passed, our owner Mark just kept it in storage until this year when he decided to part ways with it. Still fires right up and runs and drives great!
I cannot find a speck of rust or worn out piece of plastic in this convertible. The digital gauges shine bright and its engine bay looks clean enough to eat out of.
That Buick 3800 is good for 165 horsepower and 210 lb-ft torque. They are known for lasting forever (so long as you don’t take it to an incompetent shop). Speed isn’t the name of the game, here, but comfort.
And if you drop the top on this Reatta you’re bound to have a good time.
One thing that this Reatta doesn’t have is the central vacuum fluorescent display mentioned earlier. Some will see that as a downside, but those screens were known for having some functionality issues and are hard to come by today. This car with its more basic setup won’t be leaving you looking for practically unobtainable parts.
The dealership wants to let this go for $40,000. You can buy a well-used Reatta for as low as $1,500, but none of those will be as fresh as this. And the new owner of this one will get to say that they are technically the very first owner.