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Barney Eaton

Reatta production/rarity

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Reatta owners know we own a fairly rare breed. Just how rare and how do you compare our production number with vehicles made today?

One of the magazines that comes to the house every month list the build numbers of current trucks, vans, SUV's... looking at these numbers I was surprised to see that in Sept 2014 (one month) Chevorlet made 50,176 Silverdo's...... that is 2.4 times the number of Reattas built in 4 model years.

Closer to our 21,751 four year total number is the Ford Escape, they made 21,718 in September. Last the Honda CRV, they made 23,722 in September.

I hope that makes it easier to understand why aftermarket companies are not making unique replacement parts for the Reatta

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There are three elements that drive a car's value: rarity, desirability, and condition. A few years ago I passed on the rarest Pontiac made: one of one. It passed the test of rarety (and I have had several single digit cars but as a rusted out 1966 Bonneville 4 door station wagon with four speed and tripower it made "interesting" rather than "desirable" and failed condition entirely.

In the case of the Reatta, it was never very popular when new (heck Buick was giving them away) and now is on the tail end of just being old but cheap examples are still showing up on CraigsList. I like Reattas because they suit me. In 2001 I could not afford a 'vert so bought an 88 sunroof coupe (today if I ever have a show car, that will be it), now a 'vert is my DD and had two others I sold and all very well under $10k. My purchase was because it suited me and what I wanted in a personal car.. It still does.

Some nitche cars never make it: the Chrysler TC managed about 7200 in three years. Cad managed 21,430 Allantes in seven years and the only hardtop was removable and for the last years was really only compting for market with the 'vette which was and is in a different cmarket.

OTOH the Reatta started out as the odd duck in a four way market between the Fiero (yout), Allante (wealth), and performance (Corvette) which did not leave much for the Reatta. Add to the fact that central Florida was flodded with them for the Buick Open golf thingie and you have the current glut which pushes prices down.

These days my toy car is a Crossfire which sold a bit over 70,000 2004-2008 even thought it is a much lesser car than the Reatta, for one thing even the mags said any one over 5'7" need not apply (took some surgical bodywork for me (5'10") to be comfortable) and it had much more in common with a 1998 Mercedes SLK320 than the Reatta did with a Riviera.

So will it become "collectible" (rare and desirable) ? I don't know but did not buy as an inverstment.

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Very well stated sir, nor did I buy for an investment.I bought because I liked it when it first came out,and still do.

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I think they would have sold more units if they would have named the Reatta "Riviera". It would have had more initial interest from the loyal Riv owners.

But that is all conjecture.

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Guest my3buicks

A lot of the fault lies in marketing, the car wasn't marketed well, product placement would've played a Huge role in getting the Reatta recognized. Why not pay to have it on shows like Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Dallas, Knots Landing. Marketing always seemed to be aimed at empty nest couples as well, I think targeting single professional women of the time would've been smart as well

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I do believe that had it been rear wheel drive,and optional 4 speed,it would have had much greater success.

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When I purchased mine from the dealer, I had a conversation with the dealership owner and he flatly told me that the he, along with most other Buick dealers, had NO idea of how to successfully market the Reatta, let alone explain to any potential buyer the touchscreen. I also knew the local Caddy dealer, and he told me that he and many other Caddy dealers would have LOVED to have had the Reatta vs the Allante. He said the Allante was overpriced for the typical Caddy buyer and the quality of the Reatta was on par with the Allante from his perspective.

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David,

It's funny the Caddy dealer liked it so much. I could almost see the Reatta as a Cadillac except for the body style which failed to fit the prevailing image of either Buick or Cadillac in my opinion at the time. In terms of features/appointment/ride quality and overall build quality it could easily have been a Caddy. Could have put the 4.5l V8 in it easily enough (and the 4.9l in 1991).

Of course, history developed differently and maybe it is just as well. The styling of Cadillac at the time was rife with wire wheels, landau tops and faux luggage racks. Not stuff I care to see spoil the looks of a Reatta (and yes I have seen all three of those on a Reatta). My point being that since it was a pet project at Buick, focus was maintained much better than had it been a typical GM product with a normal development cycle.

As far as marketing, it seems it was best targeted at the country club set and the established (middle age or older) professional. It was too costly for someone just getting started, lacked the performance to appeal to the import sports car buyer, and the status to pull in those who were already sold on BMW and MB. A shame really, as the Reatta was a very well executed idea and was head and shoulders above the rest of GM's other offerings of the time in build quality and reliability. Put another way, it was the answer to a question nobody had asked.

I've pretty well beat the subject of the Reatta's collectibility to death here in other previous threads. It has all the key characteristics that should make it desirable as a collector car - except the interest of collectors.I can't say if that will change going forward but I think we are just now at the point in time where it could begin to turn that direction.

Prior to the 25 year mark, I think it foolish to expect any real appreciation to have occurred. As the surviving numbers are falling off quite a bit now, they will achieve a greater level of rarity which should help. Promotion of the Reatta as a great - and unique - car is clearly needed to draw in those who may have summarily dismissed the Reatta as a worthy collectible.

I will say this is a double edged sword. If, through the efforts of those of us who were early to the party, the Reatta becomes a highly sought after car by collectors, the costs of ownership (insurance, parts, acquiring additonal cars) increases to a point where mere mortals with budgetary limits as myself are likely forced out. Can't say I'm pleased at the prospect of that happening.

KDirk

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The main problem with the Reatta when new, was cost. As we all know, it is basically a shortened Riviera with no back seat. Yet Buick was charging a premium over the Riviera for less capability. Most Buick purchasers would save the extra money and simply opt for the Riviera so they could bring a few grandkids along. One can blame this on several things. In particular, relegating it to the Craft Centre meant the bean counters had to allocate huge overhead costs to its manufacture. Also the MSRP of the convertible was pretty high considering it didn't even have a power lift. Heck - the '61 Lesabre convertible my mother had when I was a yout (as Padgett would say) even had a power top.

If Buick had been allowed to offer some performance options, especially considering that it was released on the heels of the Grand National, I think the situation would have been quite different. Twas a shame it so narrowly missed the supercharged engine, as that would have been a great option. But for some unknown reason even the '92 and '93 Riv didn't get the L67. Bad calls by Buick marketing all around.

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Guest my3buicks

I say every time I use the Reatta's top, thank god it's not a power top, it is so easy, quick and clever. You want to try a not near as well designed top, try an Allante. The Reatta top is quite ingenious in operation. I can put it up or down at a stop light if need be and I can do it quicker than any of my previous full size Buick convertibles.

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Many good points above. I fell in love with the car when it was first introduced and I saw it at a car show in Portland, Oregon. At the time it was priced totally out of my league but I swore I would have one some day. I now have an early 88 with the suede seat bolsters (got a gold for it at the Portland national meet) and would love to find a Select 60 vert to go with it that I could afford. For me the car isn't so much an investment as it is a personal passion. I do wish it was blessed with more power, that would make it more desirable. I think the styling is timeless and the advanced features are still timely and will remain so. A lot of people that see it think it is a new car and are astounded that it is over 20 years old.

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Prices now are certainly all over the place. There are two Reattas on Craigslist near me, and the prices couldn't be more different. Admittedly, the

'vert is a lot nicer than the driftwood coupe, but maybe really nice ones can get interest going.

http://abbotsford.craigslist.ca/cto/4765493092.html

http://www.mertingm.com/VehicleDetails/used-1990-Buick-Reatta--Chilliwack-BC/2064883473

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Call me a dingbat, but I frankly don't give a rip about the "rarity" or "resale value" of either of my Reattas.

My joy in ownership is knowing how much fun they are to drive and not seeing dozens just like it pass me on the street every day.

As for car shows and cruise-ins..........again, don't care if they like it or not, 'cause I'm there to socialize with the people, not the cars. And, just curious, how do you think the guy with the '57 Chevy feels when there are several more almost exactly like it parked a few feet away?

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I agree. I'm not in a Reatta for its resale value, I just like driving it and being in something different, not just one of a million Hondas.

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I totally agree, Reattas are made to drive. I cant imagine buying a car to have it sit in my garage. I drove my Select 60 half way across the country last summer to Portland, about 4000 miles and I will drive it to Springfield Mo. next summer and to Allentown in 2016. It does well on the road and gets good mileage. I got it to drive and that's what im going to do. Could care less about the value, by the time I can no longer drive all I would have is an old low mileage car in the garage that my kids can fight over. I want to leave them an old worn out car they can take to the salvage yard.

Chuck

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... I got it to drive and that's what im going to do. Could care less about the value, by the time I can no longer drive all I would have is an old low mileage car in the garage that my kids can fight over. I want to leave them an old worn out car they can take to the salvage yard.

Chuck

Amen, I couldn't have expressed my feelings about the reason I own a Reatta any better if I tried. Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)

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Dunno, I have always been of the "buy right and sell reasonable". Have also given cars to relatives who needed. I have Reattas (and the 'vert is my DD these days) because they suit me. Once you get to this point "condition is everything" but can also say one reason I live where I do is that things do not rust here (and whenever I go within 5 miles of the beach, the car gets a thorough wash over and under on return unless I driove through a frog strangler.

Have bought new cars before, usually either for "family" or when there was something unusual (like a DOHC 6, 4 wheel disks w/ABS & TC, IFS/IRS tow car) but most have been pre-owned (over 200). Guess having a 2,000 sq ft house with 2,000 sq ft of garage space makes me a bit od^H^H eccentric.

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mines a very comfortable luxury car that get very good gas mileage even compared to new cars.but except for the converts its not worth any more than your average 25 yo car.

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