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Barney Eaton

1988 Reatta question

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Here is an Ebay link to a 92K 1988 Reatta in Florida.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Buick-Reatta-2D-coupe-1988-buick-reatta-/261288360714?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3cd5fffb0a&vxp=mtr

I check Ebay about once a month and add cars for sale to the Reatta database. When I pulled up the database, this car was added in July 2011 and had 92,278 miles at that time. I had info at that time indicating it was apparently wrecked as the entry says Salvage. I do not have space on the database to reference where the info comes from, so I do not know who sent it to me (could have been the owner at that time).

My question is......... Is it helpful or hurtful to have this cars entry showing "salvage"? It should be a benefit to any potential buyers but shouldn't the seller be willing to tell you

it has been repaired? Someday, Reatta prices may get to the point that people are rebuilding wrecks and it would be nice to know a little about the cars history.

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Guest my3buicks

A lot of data slips through the cracks on car fax especially after the car is a few years old - so car fax is not a tidally reliable source, if there is good data showing something of importance about a car it should be included

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Often when a car has had the title lost, and the last owner can't be found, you can get a salvage title from the DMV. Doesn't mean it was wrecked, just the paper trail got broken.

I've bought many a car that had passed thru many hands before me, and there was no title, and the car wasn't stolen. It's expensive; the state police get involved, but in the end, you get a title, but its marked SALVAGE.

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Another example.......... say a 1991 Reatta convertible comes up for sale. Lets say it was 900354, Maui Blue, blue interior with white top. Low mileage and priced right. Who would be interested?

Well, that car is one of the convertibles given to tech schools and GM holds a Michigan scrap title. Thru various legal methods, some states might give this car a clean title. What happens if GM shows up at your door and demands the car back? Look at the database and it will tell you it was a donated car and was never to be used on the streets. You could fight it, at what cost?

I suspect the courts could award the car back to GM.

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all states have different Salvage Title laws, although some states are similar as what defines a salvage vehicle...

i've purchased one salvage titled car in the past. the seller was upfront about it and i inspected the work done prior to buying - at a substantially reduced price from a non-salvage of the same make, year, etc.

trying to sell such a vehicle without disclosure of the salvage title is, at the least, unethical. on ebay, i would think their "buyer protection plan" would get you out of the deal without harm.

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Barney, in your 2nd "what if". i agree that GM would probably get the car back - IF - GM wanted to send one of their "high dollar" attorneys to civil court to go at it with the atty you would have to pay for. the fees and costs to do so would most likely be more than the vehicle was worth.

the only recourse you would have would be to go after the seller you purchased the vehicle from, as he had no legal standing to sell the vehicle (if the above is ruled by the court in GM's favor)...

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Guest my3buicks

A simple Statement on the data page stating that a car marked as "Salvage" would warrant a deeper investigation by the buyer if the car is not so advertised

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Guest my3buicks

Why Steve?

When I bought both my Reatta's one of the first things I did was check the database to see if they were on it - any information that would have been provided about the car, good or bad would have been important to me.

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Unless you have a salvage title in hand, you have no business reporting any vehicle as having a salvage title. Period.

that's crap!:( the Reatta and other "classic/collector car" communities deserve to help our friends/members of any mis-information posted in any "for sale" ads!!!

if any are concerned about possible litigation from the seller of a "not as advertised" vehicle, a poster could write something similar to: "i found some interesting info regarding this (whatever vehicle) for sale (on whatever site)." post a link or "cut & paste" the info into the post. it would be up to any potential buyer to investigate the info provided.

however i see nothing wrong or libelous to prevent anyone providing info about a vehicle for sale in a post - if there is documented evidence to support the claim.

of course, the best way to gain info is to contact a trusted nearby member(s), to ascertain if the member can make a visual inspection (including a look at the title), and give an "opinion" on condition and factual info re: possible title issues, etc...

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Why Steve?

When I bought both my Reatta's one of the first things I did was check the database to see if they were on it - any information that would have been provided about the car, good or bad would have been important to me.

Exactly. If some hero reported the car you bought as "salvage" you probably would never have even looked at it. Crap? Bad unverified information is just that.

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In Florida "Salvage" has a special meaning. While there are a few (very few) "Salvage, rebuildable", by law a "Salvage Certificate of Destruction" (COD) can only be registered three times before dismantling is required. Usually the first is the Insurance company that totaled it, the second is the wholesaler, and the third is the poor unknowing person who buys a vehicle that cannot be registered or sold.

In a few cases I have known salvaged cars to be rebuilt just major pieces from at least two other cars must be used and documented. Fla then issues a new "VIN". It is not cheap or easy. Most CODs head south in containers.

That said it is easy to find the title status for a Florida car if you have the VIN: https://services.flhsmv.gov/MVCheckWeb/

Just a little more: I looked up the title of this car and there is no mention of "salvage" HOWEVER it was issued in 1999. In Florida it is also possible for a totaled car owner and the insurance company (if covered by insurance) to come to an agreement whereby a settlement is reached and the title never changes hands. In that case the title remains "clean".

ps when I buy a car, I check all available databases while realizing that none are perfect. I don't depend on any for more than an indicator of what might have happened. Nothing beats a personal inspection. Keep in mind that in Florida titles are no longer notarized but MUST be accompanied by a Bill of Sale. Current titles have this on the back but older titles do not. One effect is that there are a lot of quasi-legal "open" titles floating around. Unless the person who is named on the title signs & dates in all the proper places, things can get sticky. If two people are named and it says "AND" both must sign. If "OR" either can sign.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)

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Tennessee has three certificates of title besides a clear title.

A "Salvage" certificate of title is issued by insurance companies if a car is considered totaled but is repairable.

A Salvage title can be converted to "Rebuilt" certificate of title. It is issued after a Salvage titled car has been rebuilt and inspected by the TN DMV. Full documentation for the work done must be included in the application for a Rebuilt title.

From what little I know about the wreck rebuilding business in TN the rules on the titling of wrecked cars are seldom followed by body shops and the rules are seldom enforced by the DMV. It is a buyer beware market here. Cars with Rebuilt titles are very hard to sell here in TN so the rebuilders try to keep the title for wrecked cars clean if possible.

There is also a "Non-Repairable" certificate of title that should be applied for and issued for cars damaged beyond repair before they go to the junk yards. It isn't required by junk yards if you want to sell them a wrecked car so basically it is useless. Maybe the insurance companies are required to get them before disposing of wrecked cars?

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Part of the original intent of this post was to get input on how to post these cars on the database. Let me ask you for input on.......... If a Reatta is in a lot (wrecking yard, pick-n-pull, scrap yard, etc) and parts have been removed. What designation should the database show? Over the years I have tried to be somewhat more specific, example "Omaha salvage yard" or "Savannah Pick-n-pull" this information is given IF the person sending it specifies where he found the car.

As most of you know, a car in one of these lots might look perfectly OK except for wear and tear, however some have actually be in a collision. I figure if parts are being pulled, it is scrapped.

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Part of the difficulty is that every state is a little different (as all of the "Salvage" designations show). In Florida the reason is easy: recycling centers won't touch a car without a title. For an insurance company a clean title is about $70. A Salvage COD is $7.

At the same time wholesalers, notably ones who advertise on the web, rely on people who do not know the difference or those who take out of state and can "fix".

"The rules are different here."

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The Reatta division should purchase the comp9 data on Reattas and have the data professionally maintained. Then the old I unverified data can be deleted

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The compnine database isn't perfect either. I have found mistakes in it, including one car that I used to own. And in the case of Reattas, compnine is missing just about all of the 1988 and 1989 cars.

That said, it would be interesting to compare compnine against Barneys database to see if there are any discrepancies.

Edited by wws944 (see edit history)

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I have used Compnine to fill in some of the blanks (that some people think I make up). The problem is without a subscription you can only do a couple a day.

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This car was on Craigslist for about 6 months starting at 1980$. Owner was a bit vague about the history, early pics showed a nice exterior with no sun fade. The pics on Ebay were taken in the rain.

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I have used Compnine to fill in some of the blanks (that some people think I make up). The problem is without a subscription you can only do a couple a day.

A subscription is super cheap. Only a couple bucks to do dozens of cars.

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My 88 is not in there, wonder why it would be spotty, would think they would have all or none.

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Compnine appears to be using the GM database and I was told by my dealers people that the GM database stops at 1990. This cutoff happened around 2000 when GM consolidated division back into Detroit (Buick closed their offices in Flint) If correct, they apparently chose to only keep, or download 10 years of old records into the database.

Compnine information on cars seems to be fairly correct, the problem is with the software they use to project rarity. Some of the numbers are obviously way off. A good example is 1991 Reattas. GM has published the number of coupes and convertibles built but Compnine projects an options rarity using numbers not even close to the Buick numbers.

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Compnine lists my now-gone 1990 Regal as a "Limited", when in fact it was a "Custom". Different options level. The car was in my family since new. So I know 100% that there there wasn't any "funny business" with VINs, titles, low-ball collision repairs, etc. But if I had advertised it on ebay, and someone looked it up on compnine, it might have raised some questions. I could easily answer them though, since I also had the original window sticker for the car. Doesn't really bother me.

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