Barney Eaton

Loosing another piece of Buick history

Recommended Posts

The car we may loose is a 1988 Reatta...the first prototype convertible built.   It may be scrapped because museums we have contacted say it does not fit their current plans.
The short story is the car was discovered sitting in the auto shop at IVY Tech in Lafayette Indiana.   I looked at the car and discovered it was the first convertible prototype built and was
used for auto shows and dealer meetings....when the production Reatta convertible was released, Buick no longer had a need, somehow it's new home was IVY Tech.
We are not sure when they received it, but probably in the early '90's.   Fortunately when IVY could no longer use it because it was old technology,  they did not sit it outside in the Indiana elements.
The director at IVY said he just couldn't do that since it never had a convertible top.   IVY did want to give it a new home.
That is when I started contacting auto museums....most did not want it because GM still had ownership although they did not want it back.  Finally after several false starts, the San Diego Auto Museum
offered to give it a home.   That is when BCA Reatta Div members and other Reatta owners kicked in and paid for the transport from Indiana to Calif.   They also paid for the paint and Maico applied the pair for free.
These same Reatta owners supplied missing parts and about 18 months after it arrived in San Diego, it want on display.
One of the near disasters during this search, in getting it moved, GM had to approve the new home.   At first the company that handles loans/donations said San Diego did not qualify to get the car and the only
option for IVY was to scrap the car.    After contacting Ed Mertz, within days we had a reply from Mark Reuss saying he approved and that hurdle was passed.


Now the San Diego Auto Museum has contacted the Reatta Div and informed us they no longer want the car.    Reatta Div officers have contacted several museums and the latest response from the Gilmore,
said they did not want the Reatta.   If we cannot find a home for this vehicle (that GM will also approve) we may have a video of it being crushed.

If any of you know of a museum (cannot be private) that might want this car,  please contact Anne Gibson Reatta Div Director or I can forward information that might save this piece of Buick history.
Thanks for listening
Barney Eaton
BCA technical advisor for Reattas

 

donated.jpg

100_0726.jpg

kingsley.jpg

window sticker.jpg

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have a list of museums you’ve tried, so we don’t double-team?

 

The first one I’m thinking of is the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma. It is run by the OHS, which is a state agency (public!). 

Edited by SpecialEducation (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I contacted some fellow to target the Saratoga  Auto Museum,  in NY.  I am not sure if they would be interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you try Warhoops? Gm has been pretty fussy about where their stuff goes.

image.png.4cf1996f57456f33dd9c49af8270f7d5.png

 

Gotta love that corporate mentality.

  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about the Lemay "America's Car Museum", which has an educational program somewhat in conjunction with Hagerty Ins?  Located in Washington state.

 

There are several "private collections" across the nation.  Like the one in LA where the '54 Landau went, for example.  Or possibly the one in Nocona, TX?  Sam Pack's collection in Carrollton, TX?

 

NTX5467

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I read the sticker and all its prohibitions and conditions, the first question that comes to mind is "Or what?".

 

You might also note that if the San Diego museum stores the car offsite as part of a "rotating collection", that would not seem to violate the terms of the donation as that is neither a sale, a transfer, nor or a disposal.  So, have them pay you $1 to store it.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume the Sloan or Buick Gallery in

Flint has been contacted. Seems like they would want to grab on to this.

How about The Henry Ford in Dearborn?

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I’ll go out on a limb here and I am not a lawyer. I see no contract although the agreement is probably binding. But, there is clear abandonment by the original owner in that they have not actively taken any steps to enforce their agreement. Other parties have invested in the preservation of this car.  GM will no doubt respond negatively if they are asked; so don’t ask.

 

If you can’t find a museum, find a suitable caretaker and “give” them the car on the promise that they will display it to the public maybe once a year.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about America on Wheels in Allentown?  If they cannot keep it there full time can it be stored elsewhere like NB part of  the time, or NB themselves, if that part set up as a non-profit, or private?

 

Barney, PM me if I can help with communication.  I doubt Keith Flickinger uses this forum often.

 

John

Edited by jscheib (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "or what" that GM has over the people that have the cars is they will not receive any cars, engines , etc in the future if they fail to meet the conditions of the agreement.

So if they have a GM car like this.....,  if they just sell it (bill of sale) or donate it to another museum on their own, they run the risk of never getting another GM donation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've observed that many "production-based concepts" have been sold into middle eastern regions, where emissions and safety equipment aren't issues.  As they probably went through "auctions", that generated purchase documentation for later titles and such.  Like some of the stuff which has been sold by the GM Collection a while back?

 

The GM "agreement" is what it is, but the observed and real actions which they might take, should the agreement not be adhered to, can be real.  The issue wouid be whether they desire to spend the money to do anything about it, which could be a variable situation.  In reality, as the car ended up at an educational institution "for educational purposes", then was sent somewhere else without GM's knowledge or possible permission, could indeed put them on a "No donations" list.  On the other hand, if they really needed an "educational purposes" car, they might scour the insurance "total" yards for something like that, just that it'd cost more.

 

That makes the issue of getting GM's permission to do anything with the car might be more out of respect and "compliance" than anything else.  The other issue is that any museum would need to see "value" in having that car in their collection, rotating or not, knowing that at some point in time, they'll "turn it" for something else.  Given it's historic situation, that last item could be an issue few curators might desire to deal with in the future.  "Reality issues", unfortunately.

 

Considering how the history of this car has evolved, perhaps GM might sign-over "rights" to the car to the Reatta Division?  With the expressed concerns "historic preservation", "display", etc.  That it can't be sold or altered for sale to a private party, it would be maintained in "showable" condition, but just donated to other caretakers, in the future.  In that manner, it could be displayed at Reatta events as needed or desired.  It could become a part of a Reatta display group (which could include one of the first Reattas with the factory cell phone option!) that could move from museum to museum.  These things could happen if the car came to be in the care of the Reatta Division (or similar).

 

Perhaps some sort of "trust" could be created to perform these functions?  So that ownership/caretakership could be transferred in the future?  There would need to be some sort of continuity in this respect.  Other special Reattas could be donated or transferred into such a trust, too.  And, possibly, such a trust might be expanded to include other later model Buick "significant" cars of note?

 

NTX5467

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan might be an option. I believe they have a rotating collection with several GM autos. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason I posted it here was to get some suggestions..........while the Reatta Division has no say in the matter, we are the Reatta Div and would like the car to be saved.

The Reatta Div officers have been working on this and I know it is flustration haven been involved with the original move.   

I became disenchanted with the San Diego Auto Museum back when they were doing the restoration.

They would ask questions that even a backyard restorer would have recorded for reference.   I was just happy when it was finished and on display......now they want to dump the car.  

 

There are people that believe GM has no claim to the car after the GM bankruptcy, but who is going to challenge them.   Common thinking is (1) they wrote off the car, so  should ever get titled and on the road,

the IRS could challenge the write off (I sure they have better things to do)  (2) the other is liability.....if it were to get titled and driven and was involved in a serious accident, if a lawyer discovered that GM owned the car

they would surely try to get a judgment.   Just a hassle that GM or anyone else does not need.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some who would just buy the car for scrap and swap on a couple of junkyard VIN tags. Life goes on and they are happy.

 

I am all for charity, but after nearly 70 years of, mostly unsolicited, charitable acts, I am beginning to think I can never satisfy the recipient.

 

And gifts given with a string of regulations and stipulations aren't really gifts if the giver keeps control.

 

About ten years ago I thought about donating my large personal collection of automotive books to our local library. My Wife is a librarian. She warned me that most of my books would end up in one of the fund raiser book sales that finishes up with a day of 50 cents a bag and then, maybe, a trip to the Good Will store- if they will take them. That is a common scenario nationwide. I envisioned some 11 year old kid finding the shelves the way I had and reading the ones relevant to their interest. Don't happen that way.

Cadillac Ed from Rochester, New York was a good friend of mine. For decades he served dinner at a local mission every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I called to make a donation in his memory one year. On one remembered him or his 30, I think, years of service. But we will gladly transfer your call to our credit card collections department. Nah, I wasn't getting into their spirit.

 

To the topic of the Reatta, I bet you would be on the phone for a long time locating the collections manager with authority on that car. "Our mission, for the stockholders, is to manufacture new cars at a profit". I have heard it before. I still think, get the car and make things work is the route.

 

AND if you would like some good reading, this book is cheap now, and a great read:

https://www.amazon.com/Charity-All-Charities-Failing-Better-ebook/dp/B00957T6NQ

 

Bernie

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bernie has some reality-based points!  A title might be obtained via a Bill of Sale, in many states, for a "used car" with no MSO.  If research indicated that a MSO never existed for it, that might throw up some red flags.  Having GM donate it to "a trust" run by the Reatta Division (the division or individuals therein) with stipulations of "no sale allowed", "display only" would be the best option, I believe.  Along with all rights to the car being transferred to that trust.  That gets GM out of the mix and lets Reatta enthusiasts ultimately control the fate of the car, the way I see it.  This might extend the car's "life" for several more years before it ultimately might end up in a dusty storage facility to be discovered by Barn Finds or similar 15 years in the future?  Donation to any museum might be problematic, all things considered.  

 

NTX5467
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Henry Ford has  63 Riv on Display, or lat least did this past summer.  A few minor details were wrong but it was the way it was when it was donated.  Would be great if they would take it.

IMG_20170916_143929631.jpg

IMG_20170916_144005487_HDR.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, riv2x4 said:

The Henry Ford has  63 Riv on Display, or lat least did this past summer.

 

It was still there in February.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this may be a longshot , but author Clive Cussler has a private museum in Denver Colorado , and his car of choice seems to be 2 door convertibles. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 5:34 PM, Barney Eaton said:

There are people that believe GM has no claim to the car after the GM bankruptcy, but who is going to challenge them.   Common thinking is (1) they wrote off the car, so  should ever get titled and on the road,

the IRS could challenge the write off (I sure they have better things to do)  (2) the other is liability.....if it were to get titled and driven and was involved in a serious accident, if a lawyer discovered that GM owned the car

they would surely try to get a judgment.   Just a hassle that GM or anyone else does not need.  

 

 

I was involved in donating cars to the schools in the day including Reattas.   This is the problem as I see it and I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY, but.

 

The car was given to the school for training purposes.  The reason that it was donated is because it probably has non production approved parts on the vehicle. These parts may have been made to test design and operation and did not go through the PPAP process.   In a training environment the students can take the car apart and reassemble it and not have any liability to fitness on the road while driving.  Worst case a part might be damaged beyond repair.  So what, the car will never be on the road.

 

In todays legal environment if the car would be in an accident the attorneys would be involved and even though GM would be involved, the actual responsibility for the car would go back to the school or current location that the car would be on loan to.  A large potential liability from my view.  That is why I think the contract for donation would require the car to be crushed if it is not being used for training any more.

 

As for changing VIN tags, we all know that it is a felony to swap tags, at least in Michigan.

 

Not an attorney, but just my thought process.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

 

I was involved in donating cars to the schools in the day including Reattas.   This is the problem as I see it and I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY, but.

 

The car was given to the school for training purposes.  The reason that it was donated is because it probably has non production approved parts on the vehicle. These parts may have been made to test design and operation and did not go through the PPAP process.   In a training environment the students can take the car apart and reassemble it and not have any liability to fitness on the road while driving.  Worst case a part might be damaged beyond repair.  So what, the car will never be on the road.

 

In todays legal environment if the car would be in an accident the attorneys would be involved and even though GM would be involved, the actual responsibility for the car would go back to the school or current location that the car would be on loan to.  A large potential liability from my view.  That is why I think the contract for donation would require the car to be crushed if it is not being used for training any more.

 

As for changing VIN tags, we all know that it is a felony to swap tags, at least in Michigan.

 

Not an attorney, but just my thought process.

I agree WITH YOU, IANAL either, but the problem I see is the car likely doesn't even have a VIN and isn't approved for street use.  Chevy made some Camaro's recently like that for track use only, no VIN's= no plates.  I think Chrysler was doing something similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to keep the facts straight on this car.....it was made from an early 1988 Reatta coupe and the VIN ends in 900039

I have built a Reatta database that presently contains about 1/4 of the cars built....when I went to see this car, one of the things I did was record the VIN.

As soon as I saw the VIN a light bulb went on ......the car had a 1988 VIN number and no Reatta (production) convertibles were made until the 1990 model year.

I may have said it earlier but there were other thing that made this car special.....it was so early the convertible top had not been designed and engineered,  so this car never had a top

or even the mounting pads for a top.   It was made to resemble the final product, shown at dealer meeting to get reaction and probably was on the new car show circuit.

We know of another 1988 that was converted but that car has a convertible top.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the original idea, history gets lost due to some potential legal issue. Crush a car, fill an old salt mine with nuclear waste. Just something one learns to live with. At least you don't have to worry about interpreting the disclaimer on the car 2,000 years from now.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now