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First time you ever saw one? Let's hear your stories


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I hardly ever start threads here, and I sold my reatta convertible ten years ago, but I still love the car and I like reading about it as well. IMHO it is one of the most striking cars I've ever seen, I think I might wind up buying another convertible someday, I'm constantly looking on ebay and cars.com.

Anyway, let's all share some stories about the first time you saw one. In 1988 I was living in San Francisco and I read a review about the "new" Reatta in the newspaper, the reviewers just gushed about how beautiful it was. I thought "a beautiful Buick? Right." And then maybe a week later I saw my first one: it was a brand new silver coupe on Market street, with the papers still on the window, and it was stopped at a light and there were two guys sitting in it, the driver had the biggest grin. I did a double-take and thought, wow, that's a Reatta. I couldn't stop looking at it, the wide wedge shape, the unusual proportions, the long hood, the short deck, the big tires. And as the light changed and the car rolled past me, I couldn't believe how cool the back looked...that futuristic rear lamp that wrapped all the way across the back of the car (which still looks refreshingly new today).

IMHO there is something special about the design of the Reatta, it's a very stylish car and even to this day whenever I see one I do a double-take.

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I was up in Door County, Wi. 6 winters ago. It had snowed and the roads were snow covered, but still easily drivable. I was in my Buick Roadmaster driving at the posted speed limit when a guy pulled out from a side road. It forced me to have to slow down, which always brings out the "You jerk" or worse. But as I was saying that I also said "What car is that?" So I got up close behind it and looked at the tail light and saw "Buick" and said that is a Buick? I was so surprised to see a car that stylish especially from Buick! I had never seen one before.

First thing I did when I got home was look up Buicks on Autotrader.com. The search was on, I had to have one, even when my brothers good friend who is a Buick mechanic cautioned me that there would be a lot of electrical issues.

Bought my first one 4 years ago this week. Glad I bought it. So much in fact that I bought another one.

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I was at my Buick dealer (6-7 years ago) and parked between the new car lot and the used car lot. After looking around, I headed back to my Reatta and there were two ladies with a salesman. They had just stopped to look at the Reatta and one lady said "what kind of new car is this?"

Then I explained it was 12years old and it was a Buick

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I had the honor of bringing up to Wisconsin from our Regional office in Naperville,IL the very first red and tan 1988 to be in the state. I remember driving it in a snowstorm up the TRi state tollway in Illinois and I couldn't get over how well it handled. The next day we had a dealer meeting at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee and had the car on display in the ballroom. The dealers loved this car. After the meeting I had the use of the car for a few weeks to take around to the dealers, I had them and their salesforces drive the car.It was easy to get dealers to write orders for their order banks in the beginning.

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Tyrel, it is funny you would mention San Francisco. Sometime around 1988, my father was in town and we went up to the San Francisco Auto Show at Moscone. We saw a Reatta there at the Buick booth. I dimly recall wishing it had analog instruments and a manual tranny... (Still do.) Also dimly recall dad talking to a booth droid and saying that a convertible was on the way. A couple of years later I was visiting the folks and there was a white convertible in the garage! I hadn't even realized he bought one, and didn't get a chance to drive it for several more years.

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The first Reatta I ever saw was in Waterville, Me., in 1988. I was stopped at a red light of a busy intersection. As most of the cross traffic had past, from out of nowhere came a flash of white streaking through the intersection (likely on a yellow light). At the time I had no idea what kind of car I was seeing. As it passed through the intersection it almost seemed like time had stopped. There was no sound, the car seemed to be in slow motion and almost floating through the intersection (the road crowned a bit and gave the car a little lift). The experience was almost spiritual. I found out a short time later, the car belonged to a class mate that had just finished law school and was up from Massachusetts visiting family. I doubt he still has his. It was several more years before I saw another one on the road. It took me 12 more years before I would get mine. I now have 2.<O:p</O:p

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I'm a car nut! Have been for a long as I can remember. The first Reatta I saw was a write-up in Motor Trend magazine. At the time, I thought it was a very nice looking car. However, I did not see an actual car until sometime in 1989. While my area is not really very small, none of the local Buick dealers wanted to have a $25,000+ dealer cost car with limited sales potential on their floorplan. For those of you that have been long time members on this forum, you know that I worked in automobile dealerships for many years. Over the years, you get to know people in the same business you are in. One day I got a call from a salesmen who I used to work with that was now working for the local Buick dealer. He said he just ordered a Reatta for an RN and when it came in he would give me a call so I could look at it. Good at his word, he did call me, and I drove the few blocks to the Buick store. There it was out front, waiting for it's new owner. My friend came out and showed me how everything worked and I was smitten! Wow, I thought. What's funny, I had seen the very same dash set-up on the Riviera, but somehow on the Reatta it seemed more fitting. Being a sold car, I did not ask, nor was it offered, to drive the car. After that, I never got the Reatta out of my mind. Over the years I would see one or two on the road now and then. In 1998 I did some accounting work, after my regular job, at a used car lot. One evening I drove up and there was a silver Reatta. The same color combination of the car I had seen 9 years earlier. While sitting in the car, I popped open the glove box and checked the owners manual. It was not the same car, but a match non the less. The owner of the lot told me he had just bought the car from a local wholesaler. I asked what he wanted for it. He seemed surprised that I was interested. He told me he wanted to make $300, so I said fair enough. I was now a Reatta owner, but $6300 poorer. I had my Reatta for almost 10 years. It was a money pit. I did not realize just how much so, till I cleaned out the glove box when I sold the car to a fellow forum member. The engine crapped out and some moron crashed into the side of the car while it was in the shop. Crippled and maimed, I decided to part with my old friend that had given me some much pleasure over the years. Would I do it again? Yes, I think so. Out of the many cars I've owned over the years, the Reatta was one of my favorites. Perhaps someday I might have another, but not soon.

Edited by Howard (see edit history)
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It may come as a supprise to you but I never lusted for a Reatta and don't remember much about them when they were in production. Like Howard the town I lived in was a meat & potatoes mentality and the Buick dealer sold Chevy, Olds, and Buick sedans.... I'm not sure he ever sold a Riviera and a Corvette was out of the question.

After the dealer moved out of town to the interstate and built a super-store, he is now one of the largest Corvette dealers in the state. I was in there last week and they had over 50 Camaros.

Our first Reatta was a fluke.......Nancy was campaigning for a different car and there was a 1990 burgundy/burgundy coupe in the paper (Sept of 1991) so the car was maybe 18 - 20 months old. It was owned by a lady sales person and he had had a baby and needed a sedan for clients and the baby. She had put 26906 miles on it so it was high mileage for its age. I purchased it for the payoff on their loan, which was around $15,000

That is the Reatta that started my problem.... since that time I have owned 3- 1991's, 6 - 1990's, and 2 - 1989's.... no 1988's

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Didn't see mine until mid-2000. Due partially because I was still only 5 y/o then. My grandfather bought my aunt a '90 Maui/blue/black coupe. from what I gathered by looking at the paperwork, tt had originally been a leased car. I've seen quite a few over the years. including a '91 polo coupe in east Raleigh. E. Raleigh is not quite where you'd expect to find a Reatta, as it's not the best side of town, but I've seen at least two, the second being a gunmetal grey vert if my memory serves me correctly.

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From the dates it looks like August 2000. Really did not even know they existed since all of my cars in the 80s and 90s were Pontiacs.

Changed divisions in 2000 and in the process came into some excess vacation money. Daily driver was a Fiero at the time but wanted something bigger. Had a Bonneville and a TranSport with 3800s and really liked the drivetrain so when I discovered the Reatta, it was a no-braner.

Looked at quite a few before finding the triple blue 88 coupe. Knew I wanted the CRT but not much else. Turned out the late 88 was the ideal starter and the measure for all since. Bought the white 'vert a few years later but the coupe is the one I usally drive. Putting a second set of Michelins on more from age than tread.

Frankly have not seen anything newer that fits as well. Did acquire the black 'vert about a year ago but was more of a rescue than a need (is really in better shape than the white car when I bought it but was a lot of mods ago...)

Apparently Buick positioned a lot of Reattas in central Florida for the Buick Bay Hill Open golf tournament so is a "target rich" environment, still have olny seen one while driving (and we stopped and chatted a bit). Do know of a couple of others & looked at a few for sale but really have more than enough.

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Funny that I don't recall ever seeing one (or at least taking notice of it) until about 2002/03 while driving to work one day. Since I was only 13 when the Reatta was introduced, and 17 when the last 91's rolled off the line, I wasn't really paying that much attention to cars, and certainly not new, expensive ones at that.

Anyway, my first spotting that I recall was waiting at a red light on my way to the office, probably summer of 2003 or so. There in the next lane was a polo green coupe, in very good shape. I looked at it not sure of what it was, and when the light changed it pulled ahead of me and I saw the big BUICK on the tail lamp. Didn't give it much thought at the time, but it clearly left a subconscious impression. Of course, it didn't hurt that the young woman driving it was quite noteworthy in appearance herself. So, the image of this car was filed away in deep memory for a few years until I wanted to get a second car just because I could.

When I decided to get another car in 2007, I was really leaning towards a 2000 or 01 Eldorado (still love the way that car looks in white diamond), but the notoriety of the Northstar blowing head gaskets and needing time-sert rebuild jobs spooked me out of buying one. That, and the asking prices at the time were still beyond what I was willing to spend. That's when I recalled the polo green coupe I'd seen about 6 years prior, and started researching the Reatta.

The more I read about it and the more pictures I saw, I just knew I was going to get one. This entailed a 9 month search for just the right one, but the payoff was quite satisfying. I still plan on buying a second but I am having to be patient [again] due to economic reality. Still hoping to get a CRT car in 2011 if I can find storage space close to home that isn't too costly.

The Reatta is truly an outstanding car in most respects, and the few shortcomings are minor and excusable IMO. As well, while I always preferred to keep a low profile it's nice to have something really unique.

KDirk

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My first real memory of a Reatta was when a good friend bought a '90 in late '91. I was driving a Fiero at the time, but really liked the R.

My friend doesn't like to fly, so for several years, if he had to fly, I told him I would inherit the R if his plane went down. He got tired of hearing this, so in 10/2004, he showed me an ad from the local Cadillac Dealer for a nice, 1 owner '89 white/burgandy. I bought it and was hooked. He thought he was over hearing "inheriting" comments, but the next time my wife saw him she put her claim in for his car.

After about 4 years, found a nice 2 owner silver/blue with low mileage. Bought it in 6/2008 and sold the white one about a year later.

Ironically, the only real problems I've had were the same on both cars: water pump, front speakers and pass side window motor, plus an alternator on the white one.

My almost 5 year old grandson likes "Grandad's Reatta" even though it doesn't have a "Tri Shield" emblem on it. Hoping that it (and I) will be around for him to drive........ Jim

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My first memory of a Reatta was seeing one that was evidently on a test drive from our local Buick dealership. It was Burgundy. I remember it going in the opposite direction from where I was going. About broke my neck watching it go by and remember looking in my rear view mirror and seeing the bar of lights from the tail light. Wow! I thought that was one good lookin' car. Went by the dealership to check them out. Saw the sticker price and immediately dismissed the car altogether. Flash forward to '97/'98. Saw a red '90 sitting for sale in a parking lot. It had an aftermarket spoiler on it and was really slick. Did not buy it but seeing the car revived my interest in what was now an affordable car. Spent many months looking and finally bought my first '90. It was Burgundy w/Burgundy interior. It had 120k on it and was in need of many things. Learned alot about Reatta's from that first one. My love affair with the car has continued through a total of seven cars. I've owned 2-'89's, 3-'90's, & 2-91's. Bought my '91 Polo four years ago and vowed to myself that it was the last one. Then a little over a month ago a Burgundy/Burgundy '90 popped up with only 32K on the clock. Went and looked at it for grins and was so impressed by the overall shape of the car that I started a month long dialogue with the owner and wound up with the car. I find it ironic that I've come full circle and am back to owning the same year/color Reatta as I started with so many years ago. The only difference is this one's in much better shape. This is definitely the last one. Oh, did I mention I see a '91 Gunmetal Gray model on E-Bay. Looks like a nice car.

Mike

'91 Coupe

'90 Coupe

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To be honest, I havent seen many over the years and really never considered owning one. But I sure do remember when I first heard about it. Probably was Motor Trend or Car & Driver. I had been following Buicks' ups and downs after they made the bone head decision to stop focusing on performance and get back to its luxury roots. Regardless I remember feeling that Buick was doing it's best to not only bridge the performance/luxury ideal but the whole RWD vrs FWD thing that was a major part of the automotive scene at that time.

It seemed the whole world was switching to FWD and GM was caught red-faced in not having, first, not having a tranny that could accept higher horsepower and second, not having anything "Cool" to represent that a FWD car could be "cool". I figured that they were "looking ahead" and wanted to start making people comfortable with a FWD car. I felt safe that Buick was on its way to correct the mistake of cancelling the T-Types and Grand Nationals that had been their sales leaders and performance leaders as well.

Well, I guess I missed that one, or perhaps Buick did. When it finally came out I followed the reviews and was quite dissapointed in what Buick ultimately put out. Like many, we were looking for performance and while it is quite capable, it is no tire burner. I instantly recognized that this was NOT the car Buick or the US needed to make us accept FWD cars as cool. It certainly wasnt going to make us forget the T-Types or the Grand Nationals. Then when I saw the price tag, I knew that the days of hot Buicks were over. The car sure did look the part, but from what I read, it wasnt the standard bearer or "Halo" car we were waiting for. I even remember reading about the Turbo ones and thinking... "ah ha, they finally are getting it". We know the rest of the story and I quickly forgot about The Reatta and rarely ever saw one, even here on car crazy Long Island in NY. I frequent the car shows & cruises regularly and have never seen one. That will change next summer when me & my Reatta hit the local cruises and I get to reply to the question that I am sure we all are familiar with... "That's a Buick?"

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Had to be early '92 when I encountered one for the first time. A friend of mine was in town for the day having dropped his wifes' Pontiac wagon off at the local Pontiac-Buick-GMC Dealer for service. They'd given him a leftover red '91 to use for the day. Assumed they thought he might be a "potential"

He was doing some running around town dropping off X-Mas gifts and picked me up from my office to see the car. Sticker on the window showed a manufacturers' suggested list price of $54,000. Canadian-WOW I was hooked. Three years later I acquired the blue '88 and handy 16 years later picked up a red '88. Thinking about "bookends" now, I'd like to have a '91, maybe a Vert, better yet a '91 Vert!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I will never forget "the first time" LOL. About 1998 or 1999 or so. I used to walk my dogs by Officers Row in Vancouver, WA. At the east end of fort Vancouver there was a red coupe parked every day. I thought it was the most beautiful car I had ever seen. I lusted after the car every time I walked by. It looked brand new. I assumed it was some kind of luxury import until one day my curiosity got the best of me and I noticed the Buick logo in the back.

I could not believe my eyes. A Buick? Wow. I immediately went home and did some research on the car. After learning about the CRT setup I knew then and there that one day I would have one.

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Back when the Reattas were new a friend who worked for a GM dealership picked me up so we could go play racquetball. I had never seen a Reatta before and thought this is a really nice car and would like to have one but at $ 29,000 it was way out of my league.

Five years later I had been doing "repairables" as a sideline to my phone company job and wanted to get a new project. I was looking through a magazine called the Locator that junk yards subscribe to and found an '89 in Iowa that was hit in the front but they had all the parts to fix it.

I bought the car, fixed it and had some left over parts.

In a million years at the time I rode in that first one, would never have thought in the future, I would have owned over 60 Reattas, been an assistant director of the Reatta division of the BCA and would have met hundreds of really nice people.

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My Reatta adventure began in a driveway in Bakersfield, Ca. :)

A former member on this forum (Dale / Songman) and I had been talking

(at a Fiero get-together) about all the "projects" he had and that he needed to get rid of some. He showed me some pics.....a green Miata, a black 88 T-top

Fiero and a 90 red Reatta. The Reatta had recently been painted at Maaco and it looked great. I picked it up on a sunday afternoon and drove it all the way home to San Jose. Driving home was kind of stressful though. The headlights had multiple issues: dead passenger side motor, up-stop's completely shot and driver's side headlight aimed right at the ground! :(

Since I took the car (in Bakersfield) in full daylight I didnt bother to check out the headlights. Pacheco Pass (Casa De Fruta) is a bad place to be when it's night, there is fog and you have a Reatta with poor lighting! :(

Kit

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I was driving down the main boulevard in my home town and saw the striking lines of a red '89 a few cars ahead of me. It was one sharp car, as was the petite blonde driving it. I noticed it had dealer tags on it and followed it down the road a ways, checking them both out. About a year later, I get a job remodeling the interior of the Buick dealer's house. The blonde is his trophy wife. I meet her and tell her about seeing her in the Reatta awhile back. She says it's on the used car lot now, being sold as a demo. I go check it out. I'm drooling over this car, mind you, and am told they'll let it go for $19,200. That was quite a drop from the MSRP at the time. Before making the deal, I decide to look around in the Raleigh area for comparable cars. Lo and behold, I find a red '90 program car for $18,900. It had 6.9k miles on it from being in a rental fleet in Florida, but was like new. It had never been smoked in, from the looks of the cigarette lighter and ashtray, and I bought it. I couldn't pass up a year's value for the significance of owning the '89.:o

As an aside, a funny comment was made to me by one of the other subcontractors on that job re owning a Reatta. I had told him about seeing the homeowner's wife driving it months before and how much I liked that car. He told me people like us could never afford such a car. I guess the jokes on him. I still have mine and love it more as the years pass. Like others have said, people approach me in parking lots wondering what it is. They can't believe it's 20 years old....makes me smile. :D

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