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Guest 1991Reatta

Just in Time for Christmas! THE PERFECT PRESENT for that special Reatta enthusiast. The Complete History of Buick Reatta book, 60 pages, 98 pictures + actual press releases....most pictures have never been published before, even a 1992 Reatta prototype. perfect for your coffee table! $25.00 + $5.00 shipping (check or credit card accepted. Limit numbers being printed. Contact Duncan at duncan.smith@juno.com, or call 231.631.1075 EST. I will start Accepting orders the day after Thanksgiving.

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Um I didnt see any Paypal buttons on that site - is the email address posted also his paypal payment email?

Also interesting letter by Mertz on the picture gallery...

So after 4 years (and a boost in overall luxury car sales) Buick dumped the Reatta in March 1991 to make room for the Roadmaster??

Now I have to deal with guilt-feelings b/c I own a Roadmaster wagon... does that make me a traitor? :P

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest blue72beetle

Just got the book in the mail, and immediately flipped through it. Very nice!

No polo green convertible, but there is some neat 92 Reatta stuff.

Well done, thanks a bunch!

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Received mine today and a very nice addition. Interesting that there are two October 87 memos and a 88 spec sheet that mention the power sunroof. I wonder what held it up ?

Also had never seen sales vs production figures. Could the 902 more sales in 89 than production have included left-over 88s ?

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Received mine today and the photos are outstanding. While thumbing thru it the first time I have some comments.

(1) The Reatta cutaways..... I did not realise there was a coupe and convertible.

(2) 1988 spec sheet shows sunroof availabity, we know they were, but I have production documents that shows no reference to 1988 sunroofs and number made.

(3) 1989 second page, tan interior has suede bolsters, only early 1988 had suede

(4) 1990 spec sheet shows vinyl and cloth top colors available (same as Product manual) however we know there were black vinyl tops made and data I have shows only one red and one blue produced and they were probably scrapped.

(5) 1991 document by Corby Casler dated 5/21/90 shows Driftwood being available for 1991 and no Polo Green

(6) the Reatta concept car with ground effects looks exactly like the PPG car except for the color..... PPG had the paint.

(7) the high boost turbo/front drive cars specs shows 245 x 50 R 16 tires but they are not on stock wheels, wonder what the backspacing was?

(8) the 1992 advanced specs shows they dropped blue interior and added Graphite interior, it also appears the white seat option would be available with Graphite or Flame red interior.

(9) Last page....... production and sales numbers need an explination.

We have been lead to believe that the 1988's were selling as fast as they could make them but of the 4708 production only 2759 sold?

Then in 1989 how can you sell more than you make?

1991 procuction and sales numbers are goofy. Sheet shows a total of 1,492 produced and the accepted total is 1519, they numbers do not jive even if you count the cars donated and scrapped.

The picture book is good, I hope Gary explains all these thing when he writes the book.

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Gary Witzenburg ? I used to know him through Pontiac. Until the book I did not know he was involved with Buick.

Could have picked things apart. Spotted something in the 89 photos that Barney didn't mention but no need to mention (unless there is a 2nd edition, expect there will be and hope it is different - that's what makes first editions valuable).

Were the Sunroofs contracted to ASC ? If so they might have the records and might explain why Buick doesn't (other than some bills). I noticed in some of the later records that what became convertibles had EC97 (coupe) codes instead of EC67 (convertible). Wonder if some were changed in assembly.

It is nice having five decades of Pontiac billing history, are even better than an SPI because they have notes about odd things that never appear elsewhere (like "body in engineering").

Production numbers make me wonder if the "extra" 88 production was recoded as 89 sales. Was the 88-89 changeover later than usual ? Note that a number of things - Teves return, Horn button, drop of suede - were slipstreamed during the 88 model year. Also a number of things (latch on glove box, move of trunk and gas buttons inside) were to maintain commonality with other E bodies.

That question will be answered when all of the serial numbers are accounted for.

As to the 16" wheels, in 1988 Western Wheel was making 5x115 16x7x46 mm wheels for GM, just not Buick. Same for 245x50x16 tires (Bonneville SSE and IROC Camaro) so both were in the Schwartz Creek inventory & just a phone call away. That is how I had a body colored bumper on my 70 GS. No big now but a Pontiac exclusive then.

I would have also liked to have seen the "death memo" but the page count is keyed to the printing process so maybe they just had no room.

ps the book was downstairs. The wheels on the High-boost FWD car are aftermarket and were called "Ultra"s. I used to have a set for a Fiero.


Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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Padgett, the book is done by Gary Duncan Smith, his bio says "he was hired as a commercial photographer with Buick Engineering........then was promoted over to Buick Public Relations.....where he photographed the upcoming Buick prototypes...."

Gary Witzenburg worked for Buick Public Relations and there is a release by him in the book

Witzenburg owned a 1991 burgundy/tan convertible for many years and sold it about 4 years back.

I read more of the book (actually there is nothing in the book written by Mr. Smith, all the reading to be done is copies of press releases, copies of specs, and other GM documents)

From these "official" documents, interesting convertible information.

From a Sept 6, 1989 Press Relations document written by Lawrence (Larry) Gustin, Larry writes about the convertible top operation. This starts with the top down and he tells you how to raise the top. "...the operator stands next to the driver's door and presses the sill-mounted release switch (this was the prototype switch location BE) The cover pops open and exposes the convertible top............(his instruction goes on to raise top) ........ closes the hard tonneau and activates the power pull-down switch, tightening and sealing the top."

Like some of the showroom literature this September document shows they planned a power pull down and this would be the start of 1990 production.

Now jump to the 1991 Reatta information written in October 1990 by Corby Casler....... covering the same subject on the 1991 convertible. It starts with the top up and tells you to "a pull handle releases the rear bow and a switch releases the hard tonneau cover" We know all 1991 convertibles had the power pull down and not the 1990 style lever.

If a person was trying to document these cars and had no hands on real experience, the documents and the actual cars are totally different.

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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Guest mgibson


Glad you got yours! Still waiting on mine that was ordered just after Thanksgiving. Update: Book finally arrived, but not in time for my daughter, who had ordered it, to give it to me for Christmas.

Guess it can be a New Year's gift!

Edited by mgibson (see edit history)
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Padgett, I overlooked you question about the Reatta sunroof.

ASC had nothing to do with the Reatta sunroof.

Webasco makes sunroofs for OEM and aftermarket and the Reatta used the same one that is on the same vintage Mazda RX-7

Several Reatta owners have installed the RX-7 mechanism when their Reatta sunroof developed problems.

Several years ago I contacted the Webasco US office in Detroit and ask the question about parts interchangability. The answer was they were referring the question to the headquarters in Japan. About a week later the reply stated that they were the same except for 3 parts, and they listed the part numbers. The part numbers were Webasco numbers and I did not have a way of determining what they actually are....they did not give me the name of the part.

We know the top (painted) panel is not interchangable between the Mazda and Reatta because there is a slight difference in contour. If you think about an outside vendor supplying this assembly, I would think it would be ready to install minus the painted panel (inventory control with the different body colors would be difficult) which I suspect was made and painted in the US. The Reatta dome light mounts on the sunroof frame so maybe the base was part of the assembly, also the control switch for the Reatta and Mazda are different styles with different mounting so that was probably another uncommon part.

As many have noted, GM does not carry sunroof parts and the last I heard, you had to purchase the entire unit if you got it from GM. Mazda dealers do carry the parts and if you live in a large city, the Webasco distributor may carry spare parts.

However with so many RX-7 available, most people can get a complete assembly for less than $100 and a new single cable can approach that price.

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Thank you Barney. So American Sunroof did the convertibles and Webasco (better known for diesel heaters) made the sunroofs. Interesting.

My question was not about parts though, rather that if Buick does not have the 1988 sunroof number of installations, the supplier might.

When I research something, at least three different sources are needed for me to be certain and sometime use canary traps - it has been surprising how may times the root source turned out to be something I wrote years ago.

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Watch the phrasing of "ASC did the convertibles"..... they did not do the convertibles like they did the Buick Riviera convertibles.

ASC did the engineering of the top and components. They built the convertible top mechanism complete and shipped it to Lansing to be installed at the Craft Centre.

At this time, I have never heard who did the boot, which would have probably been installed when the convertible was painted.

There is a retired Reatta engineer that lives in our local Sun City and he gave me the names of the engineers and the part they were responsible for..... turns out the convertible parts guy has passed so, at least from him, it will be difficult to get information.

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Guest tempest6cyl
Watch the phrasing of "ASC did the convertibles"..... they did not do the convertibles like they did the Buick Riviera convertibles....

There is a retired Reatta engineer that lives in our local Sun City and he gave me the names of the engineers and the part they were responsible for..... turns out the convertible parts guy has passed so, at least from him, it will be difficult to get information.

The mid-80's Riviera convertible was a conversion program where ASC converted coupes into convertibles. The engineering and all the assembly work took place in ASC facilities. This was pretty typical for convertibles at the time.

The Corvette and the Reatta were the beginning of the OEM's trend to start bringing the assembly back into their plants. ASC's Engineering developed the convertible specific components for installation in the OE's plant and assembly process. The ASC made drawings were released into the GM system. Major vehicle level testing was handled by GM at their proving grounds but smaller system level testing was done by ASC.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

For the Reatta, the tops, along with the convertible specific structural and trim parts were designed by American Sunroof Company (ASC). ASC's Lansing Trim Plant was maybe 10 minutes from the Craft Centre. Lansing Trim assembled the tops and made most of the convertible interior trim. Other convertible components, like the structural reinforcements and tonneau cover (boot) were made by the ASC supply base and shipped to Lansing Trim as a consolidation point before shipping to the Craft Centre. The quarter panels were the only convertible parts still made by GM. They revised the coupe quarter panel stamping dies so they could make either coupe or convertible quarters on-site, in the Craft Centre's stamping plant. The convertible body was assembled in the Craft Centre's Bodyshop along side the coupes. the tonneau's were installed there also.

I worked with three different GM release engineers during my time on the Reatta convertible program. Sorry to hear one of the them has passed.

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Received the book yesterday (as a gift). Quite pleased with this, as there are some very good photos and interesting memos provided. I found the 1992 pics, and planned changes for interior/exterior colors very interesting. The pictures and spec sheets for the turbo charged prototypes were also nice to get a look at.

One very interesting photo was the interior mock-up (of the 88 style interior) in which it appeared the touch screen was to have been 2 color, blue and yellow. Looks like the digital dash would have been yellow as well by this design. Also, the vertical load console mounted CD player was an interesting touch. Too bad it was never offered in production.

I would highly recommend a copy of this for anyone who has a strong interest in the Reatta. Some of the quibbles already posted are minor, and the useful information and great pictures far outweigh any small inaccuracies.


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ASC did the engineering of the top and components. They built the convertible top mechanism complete and shipped it to Lansing to be installed at the Craft Centre.

Well I wondered why a guy from American Sunroof Company was on the Reatta Convertible adjustment video... Guess he would know his stuff since ASC made the tops! ha! :D

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