A Rare Buick Reatta Meeting in Los Angeles


The Buick Reatta is one of those cars with some fairly interesting details that only time will tell if it will become a collectable classic.

Presented in coupe form in 1988 with a soft-top convertible following in 1990, the Reatta was Buick's first modern-era two-seater model. Both body styles remained in production until 1991.

Unusually for a mass produced model, the Reatta was hand-built at the Reatta Craft Centre in Lansing, Michigan. Its platform was essentially a shortened version of the GM E chassis used by the Cadillac Eldorado, Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera, and was shared with the Cadillac Allante.

Under the hood was a Buick 3800 V6 rated at 165hp and 210 lb-ft from 1988 to 1990, and 170hp and 220 lb-ft of torque during its last year in production. In both cases, the V6 was linked to a four-speed automatic driving the front wheels.

One of the things that stand out on the Reatta today is the Tron-like digital dashboard and center console screen through which the driver controls the audio, air condition and other functions.

The reason why we wrote about this fairly rare GM model is because Carscoop reader Ervin Mezey emailed us some pictures from a gathering of 15 Buick Reattas at the 2012 All GM Show that took place at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, California, this past Sunday.

"While the 2012 All GM Show was sponsored by the local Buick chapter of the BCA (Buick Club of America), the gathering of fifteen Reattas was an independent endeavor spearheaded by myself - I am a member of the Reatta Division of the Buick Club of America," Ervin told Carscoop.

"This was the largest independent gathering of Buick Reattas in North America," he continued.

"Two of the cars included in the enclosed attachments are of the rarest of Reattas: A white 1990 Reatta Select 60 convertible (with white/red interior and white wheels; which is most rare being 1 of 60 and only offered to the top 60 Buick dealers during their run) and a 1990 silver Reatta convertible (approximately 1 of 68). There were 2,437 Reatta convertibles produced in 1990-1991 (and 21,751 Reattas produced in total between 1988-1991)," explained Ervin.

A quick search on eBay returned 11 examples of the Reatta in both body styles and in various conditions, with prices ranging from a couple thousand dollars to $24,500 for the white 1991 coupe with 98,000 miles pictured below.

Photo Credits: Ervin Mezey [whom we thank!]





bmwdrvr said... »June 07, 2012

that commercial was hilarious lol, just goes to show GM didnt know marketing "the comfortable 2 seater, and with plenty of space" lol if you needed plenty of space and comfort why not just buy a bigger car why buy a 2 seater at all they should focused on style, quality, and driving dynamics..i did always like the look of these those

GM and the Next Step said... »June 07, 2012

GM has always had some very unique models that were ahead of their time. However, in true GM fashion they never took the next step with these models and simply let them fade way. Or if they did make the next step(s) and finally got it right—then they threw-in the towel.

amac said... »June 08, 2012

I think these cars have aged quite well—exterior-wise, that is. The dashboard lacks the finesse of today's designs, but all in all, still a nice looking car. 

forumiphone said... »June 08, 2012

they say it ıs not lıke small 2 seater they say it is big than other 2 seater you can enjoy with extra space with 2 seater car.becouse when thıs time all people thınk oww 2 seater ıt must be too small to big 2 american.. you get it wrong ı thınk.. this video represent the time of 80 and this this so cool too 88 ı lıke of gm good car and thıs times always remınd me they destroy the future The ev car they smash them.

Bkalter47 said... »June 08, 2012

I own a Reatta ragtop (black, 1990) for almost 2 years now & love it. At the BCA meet in Danvers, Massachusetts last July, there were over 20 Reattas in attendance (coupes & convertibles), more than at this LA show. But: I am sure that these were all different from the ones shown on the east coast! It IS a unique car and very roomy & comfortable. It's no sports car in the handling dept, but it is a fun & stylish cruiser.

mallthus said... »June 09, 2012

My Dad had a Reatta and I got to drive it a lot when I was in college. It was actually a decent driver with, for the time, a bit of power. I will say that, unlike virtually anything else GM was building at the time, it was incredibly well screwed together. Not only were the fit and finish better than anything else GM was making, but the actual components were often different and better. Given the short production run, I'm sure they lost money on every one they built.
Here's a couple of things that stick in my mind.The paint: The paint on the Reatta was physically thicker than on other cars, as in more layers of paint.The trunk hinges: Instead of having the normal GM trunk hinges, where the hinge extends into the payload area as the lid closes, the Reatta had slim side hinges, like you'd see on an Audi.Grille: This car hated snow. Since we lived in California, that wasn't a big deal usually, but I took a girlfriend to a mountain weekend getaway. My Dad offered up the Reatta and we drove up in sun and sunshine. Overnight, it snowed about 8". Driving back down the next day, it handled the snow fine until it started to overheat. Since the outside temp gauge was reading between 18-22 degrees, I was confused. I pulled over, popped the hood and took a look. No leaks (my first thought) and then I saw it. The entire radiator intake area, tucked low below the bumper, was jammed full of snow and ice. I cleaned it out and everything cooled right down...until it happened again, 5 miles later.My Dad eventually sold his, as it was getting too old to be a reliable daily driver and he didn't want to have it as a collectible. I repeatedly suggested that he swap out the vanilla 3800 V6 with the supercharged version, but to no avail. I actually have no idea if it would have fit anyway, as clearances were tight to begin with.

PS - The photo's not my Dad's (his was red), but it does show the trunk area I was trying to explain.

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