Jump to content

2 Odd Reattas in one day

Barney Eaton

Recommended Posts

As you might expect, I get lots of cold calls from people that own Reattas.

Some of these people are Reatta Div members but most are new Reatta owners with question/problems or just owners with problems.

On Saturday, a fellow in PA called me 7 time while he was working on this car.

Then on Monday, two calls from different ends of the country from Reatta owners and strange questions.

(#1) A fellow on the East coast called asking how he could get his "hub cap" off. He had a '89 and my first thought was he had locking lug nuts on his car and no "key". Turns out his car has 14" steel wheels and wire wheel covers. They appear to be the common Buick cover and there is a "keyed" screw under the Buick emblem that "locks" the hub cap on the car.

He thought they were original because they have an "R" logo in the center, but the pictures he sent so they are the Riviera "R" logo.

So here is a case of someone switching wheels and tires from another Buick and this new owner had no idea that all Reattas came with alloy wheels.

(#2) Even stranger is a San Diego owner that purchased a 1990 convertible from a friend because his wife wanted the car. This 1990 Black convertible has a early model dash complete with touch screen and a non-air bag steering wheel.

After getting the facts straight I was hoping we had found another convertible prototype made from a 1988 coupe, but this car has a correct 1990 convertible vin number. So someone in this Reattas past has converted the car to the touch screen. It is not even an early production number that might have been made from 1989 parts, the vin is 906952, that would be close to 80% into the 1990 build, a late 1990 vehicle.

This San Diego owner is sending me pictures.

Like other old cars, 20 years after they were built, we are seeing cars that have been modified for various reasons.... like the one that has been on Ebay with the Riviera front and if some people have their way, Reattas without the original Teves ABS

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have long been amazed at what can happen on a rainy day with a broke car on one side and a pile of unrelated parts in another.

Back in the day, SBCs appearing in everything from Vauxhauls to Boston-Beany's to Volvos was common. Have even seen an Allison stuffed into something I cannot remember (Jag maybe ?).

Replacement Teves are probably based on whatever was "out back". Brakes are pretty much brakes and just need a front/rear proportioning valve (with drums this was done with different sized wheel cyl. - smaller in the rear).

Just think of it as hot rods - east coast syle.

So wheels and hubcaps, maybe the original owner just did not like alloys or maybe when the GT+4s wore out he had this stack in the back.

Touchscreen is much harder and would require a certain amount of reprogramming to work properly since the 1988-89 BCM is programmed differently from the '90 and the ECM/BCM must be able to talk to each other.

Of course that is only necessary if you want it to work properly - enough to just be able to drive is easy.

So really my surprise is that there are not more like that particularly as the availability of broke cars increases and proper parts de.

ps I'd really like to build a touchscream 'vert, only thing really missing is the dash assembly, have all of the electrics. Oh and also need a round tuit.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest steveskyhawk

Barney and all,

I saw that car advertised and looked at it in Del Mar just prior to it being sold to the present owner. I should have bought it but didn't have any room to store it. In any case I drove it and talked to the previous owner at length. He said the wire harness from the 89 donor car took up an entire shop bay floor. I believe he said the work was done by a shop in Vista CA. Wouldn't tell me what he paid to have it done. Previous owner so liked the dash in his previous 89 that he decided to put an 89 dash in his 90 convertible. Previous owner's wife drove a white Reatta coupe.

Nice car. Everything worked. Touchscreen is visible in daylight with the top down. Upon reviewing this post I just realized that the 91 coupe I sold is seen in the background of one of these pictures.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some odd ones out there, modified by owners. One that comes to mind is David Hall in MI bought a lot of parts from me and converted his '89 to look like a '90 on the inside, replacing the whole dash with the '90 dash. Because the bodies look the same a person would never know except by the vin that his car is actually an '89. He also did some customizing of the external body adding some completely different door handles among other things.

I always have lots of ideas but no actual time or desire. I do my own mechanical work and body work and painting but would rather play golf or travel than actual work. :)

For many years I wanted to put a Reatta front end on a Riviera so I could have a five passenger Reatta. Would have been very easy the only thing slightly a problem was the line between the front fenders and the doors is different so the Riviera door would have had to be modified to match the Reatta fender.

The other thing I really really wanted to do but never did was---

I had a high mileage '90 convertible sitting here for several years. I wanted to paint it green, put on some '91 wheels and bring it to the Iowa BCA meet and parking for one day in the motel parking lot with a piece of paper over the vin by the windshield and then that night when no one was looking remove the car.

That would have been proof some '91 convertibles were made. NOT, but would have been fun.

I ended up selling the car locally and the owner is happy with the car the way it is. He even comes over when I am not home and helps himself to parts, with my blessing.

Edited by Jim (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having looked at what would be required to make a touch screen 'vert myself, the best way to do it would involve swapping the entire dash, the BCM, ECM and entire harness from an 88 or 89 to a 90 'vert. Since the 90 had the same powertrain as the previous two years, by swapping the harness and all pertinent modules, you could do this and everything would work as it was supposed to.

The only other detail would be to reprogram the BCM EEPROM to have the correct 1990 VIN number, this is easy as it is stored unencoded (I have dumped a few of these chips and have found this to be the case) and correct the mileage, also in the BCM EEPROM.

This approach would be much easier than trying to reprogram the 90 BCM and ECM to broadcast and receive an 88 or 89 data stream. Would be more difficult to convert a 91 drop top since the engine was revised, the ECM became a PCM to have control over the transmission as well. Also, the 91 omitted the CPS and some other things that were in the previous three years.

All in all, not an easy project, but certainly doable with the right amount of time, funds, and determination.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree - start with 89 ECM PROM (88 has different ALDL configuration and go from there - HVAC programmer is the same for both. Can use the same ECM & BCM just programming change.

Wonder if the back of the CRT is 86-87 Riviera - would need to see the logos on the hard buttons. Would have to use the BCM PROM from a car with Teves though or would be missing some inputs.

Foundling might be a candidate, would need 88 dash soft pieces and switch panel though, have everything else, have always thought a 'vert should have the electric glove box release.

I also would like one of those screens that goes behind the seat, last vendor I talked to did not have one for a Reatta.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest steveskyhawk

Roger and all,

When I last saw this car I contemplated what I would do if it were mine of course. Like I said earlier it was a real nice car where everything worked. There were three things that needed attention in my opinion. It had 2 sets of window switches. One set in the console which i believe worked and the other set in the door panels which were inop. I would have replaced the late door panels with a set of early door panels to eliminate the inop redundant switches. Next I would have put on an early Reatta steering wheel. And third I would have refinished the dash so the color looked just right in the slate grey interior.

I believe Mike has sold the present owner parts so maybe you could stay in touch with the present owner in the event he decides to sell. FWIW

Link to comment
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
  • Create New...