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ol' yeller

Why I Love My Reatta

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Yesterday I took my roadster, with the top down to the grocery store to pick up a couple items. When I came out there was a guy standing next to my car. He asked me if I would mind answering a few questions about my car. He had never seen a Reatta before so I gave him the nickel tour and told him the Reatta story as well as my Reatta's story. He really liked my car and before leaving he asked me if I wanted to sell it. I explained that I loved my car and while it wasn't for sale, it would take a high offer to get me to even consider selling her. He didn't make an offer but before he left he told me that it was a beautiful car and he hoped he could find another one some day.

How many owners of a car made in the late 1980's to the early 90's have this happen to them? When I had my restored '65 Skylark I would often get a thumbs up or people wanting to look at my car. It doesn't happen nearly as often with my Reatta but it does happen often enough. It puts a smile on my face when it does.

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Good story. I have one similar the first spring after buying the Red. I had it painted over the winter and my mechanic friend and I went over the preventive care that the car needed as well as getting "The Show" to work. After a spring detail my wife and I drove to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A guy caught up to me in a parking lot and complimented me on the car and asked me what I wanted for it. I said no for two reasons; I had just bought the car and was still in the "honeymoon" stage and the other more practical one... How would I get home?

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My '89 coupe is my daily driver, including winter days when the roads are dry.

We also have a '91 vert with 22K, but not wanting to pile up the miles on that gem, my wife bought me the '89 coupe last year as a Father's Day gift so that I could satisfy my "drive the Reatta" cravings. I've given it some cosmetic fixes during the past year, like a new headliner, floor mats, and some minor paint repairs, but nothing major mechanically other than engine cradle bushings from a 12K '90 that was totaled via a rear end wreck.

I get plenty of admiring glances every day and feel like a million bucks tooling around in the "Red Zoomer".

Life is better in a Reatta!!

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I've had no offers to buy, but have been randomly complimented numerous times on my cars. Had several thumbs up and quizzical looks from other drivers as well. Sometimes these come from the most unexpected sources. I had a guy maybe 18 working at a fast food place ask me about it. The car is older than him (he'd never seen or heard of it before), and we got talking cars. He is building up a 93 Honda Civic (tuner style based on his description) and yet he was quite complimentary of the Reatta, despite it not being the kind of car that he was interested in. Somehow this one really surprised me.

Another reason I really enjoy these cars is that they provide an outlet for my skills and talents in both mechanical and electronic repair and maintenance. The process of solving problems and the challenge of developing fixes for unusual situations is something I derive a lot of satisfaction from.

And of course there is the pride that comes from taking a car that is rough around the edges and turning it into something I can look at and say "I did that!" If others appreciate my efforts that is a nice bonus; I do this primarily for my own fulfillment as it is reassurng to know I can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

KDirk

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I had a similar experience recently, a friend of a friend saw me pull in with my (serious work in progress) 90 coupe and freaked out. He wanted the full unabridged tour and told me if I ever sell the car to call him first. Before that it was an old high school friend who saw it tore apart in my garage over the winter and told me the same thing. On my road trip a few weeks ago, I had a lot of people pull up next to me on the freeway and read the badge on the side of the car, and I had a couple people where I was camping checking the car out. My favorite incident though was when an older fellow in a corvette pulled up next to me at a light and wanted to race. I've owned many cars, all within the 80-99 model years, and this one gets more positive attention than any others.

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Another reason I really enjoy these cars is that they provide an outlet for my skills and talents in both mechanical and electronic repair and maintenance. The process of solving problems and the challenge of developing fixes for unusual situations is something I derive a lot of satisfaction from.

And of course there is the pride that comes from taking a car that is rough around the edges and turning it into something I can look at and say "I did that!" If others appreciate my efforts that is a nice bonus; I do this primarily for my own fulfillment as it is reassurng to know I can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

KDirk

You might be my long lost brother. I have pulled back from the brink several cars that others wouldn't have attempted. The '$300 '69 Riviera almost bankrupted me. I replaced a frame on a '65 Skylark 4 door that was bent from an accident with a John Deere tractor. My'65 Skylark 2 door hardtop went from "Most Ambitious Project" award one year at my local's car show to "Best in Class" and "Most Improved" the next year. I do it for my own personal fulfillment as well. If I did it for a living I'd starve. There is something to be said to be tooling around in a beautiful car and be able to say, "I did that".

As I grow older and less able to do as much as I could before, I still take great pleasure in figuring out things myself and fixing what I can do physically. I take great pride in knowing my Reatta took a Gold award at the last National and knowing that "I did that".

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Maybe it's because I live in Ca but I rarely get any comments or looks on my 90 red/tan. If one were to just give it a quick glance you might be inclined to just assume its a " newer" car. I think that is what happens to me. I do keep my cars extra clean. The other reason is that most Californians are in a hurry to get somewhere and their all into themselves. So their focus is where they are going and not what's around them. Just my two cents ...

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A Couple months back they had a cruise in at the local k-mart, We took our 90 reatta top down in all its glory. Not one person came over to look at it my wife inquired around with the other owners and they said we can see those new cars any time .We were about the third oldest there enough said. Bill

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Bill, that is a kind of blessing/curse unique to the Reatta I think. In most respects, it looks like a current model car; especially if it is really clean and well kept. Call it timeless styling. The give aways on it's age are the smallish (by current standards) rims, the pop-up headlamps and the fact it uses sealed beam rectangular headlights.

As well, the interior is relatively typical of late 80's GM, save for the uncoventional instrumentation and the fact the interior fit and finish is superior to most GM assembly line built stuff at that time, including Cadillac.

A combination of that and uninformed types (snobs perhaps?) can make going to shows frustrating because us Reatta owners can feel slighted when this type of thing happens. My advice: find a different cruise night or show to hang out at.

I'll reiterate though that I do this for my own enjoyment. Never concerned myself with others opinions, which is probably good as I always do it my way. Most people just don't get it. When they do (and say so), I appreciate it but don't expect it.

KDirk

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KDIRK, We are car people we have three Reattas all prestige and many show cars dateing back to a 1920 Buck touring and just having fun with the spectators. We took that as quite a complant. Bill

Edited by WEB 38 (see edit history)

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Well yes, I suppose it could rightfully be considered a compliment for someone to mistake a ~25 year old Reatta for "one of those new cars". I have had that happen randomly when uniformed strangers ask things like "wow, that must be the first one in town, did you just pick it up? Haven't even seen ads for that one!"

I find it rather absurd someone could think it is a new car but then I tend to overlook the fact that most (non-car collector) people are not as detail oriented as I am. Thinking about the things a new car has - large wheels, HID/LED lighting, turn signal indicactors in the mirror housings and all manner of other modern appointments. The Reatta has none of this (unless added) and yet the lack of these things seemingly goes unnoticed by most people.

No matter, I enjoy the car for what it is. I also take a lot of pride in keeping original tech on the car. I think having a working 25 year old CRT touchscreen and digital instrumentation in the car is impressive both for it's longevity and the fact it was standard equipment in 1988. Most people cannot believe those things are factory equipment when they notice them and ask about it.

I have added some LED lighting (license plate, backup lamps in my nice 88 and some aftermarket stereo gear (in the 91's) but other than that, some minor interior appointments and wheel upgrades, I'm running stock on all 4 cars.

I kick around more substantive mods now and then but generally resist doing to much that isn't easily reversible to stock. I figure there will be a point where the Reatta looks "old" like a 33 Buick or a 57 Chevy does now. For now, it is like the Dick Clark effect - it's appearnce never seems to age beyond certain point.

KDirk

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when i was out and about in the Reatta, the question i usually received was: "What is that?" and the comment: "Nice Riviera"...

the "weirdest" question: "Is that a Nissan Pulsar?" :D well, maybe i can see that if one had not seen a Pulsar for 25+ years and forgot how small they were...:)

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It happens to me too, even at Buick shows. I once had a friend ask me, when was I going to get a real Buick? It makes it that much sweeter when someone approaches me out of the blue and asks me questions about my car. I have had older nice Buicks at shows and because I was parked next to a 57 Chevy, my car was looked right past so it happens to lots of us not just us Reatta guys. I don't have much of my ego wrapped up in my car, but I really do like it when someone else shows an interest. Our cars are like a fine vintage wine, unless you taste it you really have no idea how good it is. It is also an acquired taste, not readily appreciated by the great unwashed.

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I've been to two car shows this year in North East PA and I would say about 8 to 10 people asked me about the car and knew what it was.

Firebirds, Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes are everywhere. I like having something a little different. But if it's not a muscle car then I feel like most guys don't care what it is.

I've owned the Reatta for about a year and 6 months and I'm surprised how many people know what it is. I've heard over and over " They didn't make to many of those". People always approach me to ask questions or walking by will say "nice car".

What I love about my Reatta is the ride. I can't believe how smooth this cars drives and it's so low to the road.

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I was parked right in front of the door with my '89 coupe yesterday at the corner party store. At the same time I came out with a nice bottle of wine for dinner, a guy around 40 rode up on a bicycle. He parked about 10 feet away, swung off the bike, smiled, and said "Nice!"

That's all he said, just "Nice!"

As I got into my car and backed out I watched him continue to stare at the car with a smile on his face. It was the same smile usually seen when I guy is staring at a beautiful woman. His eyes never left the car until I was pulling out of the parking lot.

That's the kind of stuff that makes your day as a Reatta owner.

'Nuff said,

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When I take my Reatta to a cruise-in or a car show, one or two people will know what it is...get all excited about seeing it...let me know they haven't seen one in years...and are jumping all around it. Then, on the other side of the scale...I have a friend that calls it a "Regretta"...tells me I wasted my $$ buying one...should have bought a real Buick....and he's a Buick guy! Go figure.

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