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Buying Advice for Reatta Rooke???


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Ladies and Gentlemen: 20 years ago I restored old cars as a hobby -- a '38 Chevy Business Coupe, a '60 Buick Invicta 2 door hardtop and a 1965 International Scout 80. Now that our precious twin daughters are about to graduate from college I am thinking about selling our old reliable '96 Chevy Prism (Corolla -- 39 mpg!) and buying something else that is small but with a lot more comfort for my old bones. Like maybe a Reatta, since I hold Buicks in very high regard. (But used Reattas are so rare in my area (Eastern West Virginia) that I have yet to even drive one.)

From the reading I've done I'm pretty sure I want to buy a 1991 coupe for a number of reasons (engine, transmission & brake upgrades, larger wheels, etc.). But as I look at the ads I am puzzled by a number of things. I would greatly appreciate any words of wisdom you might offer.

  • One of the big reasons I favor the 1991 over prior years is my understanding that the power brake system changed in '91 to return to the more traditional and reliable vacuum system that eliminated a problem of sudden loss of brakes. Am I right about this?
  • I tend to put great weight on the mileage of a used car and expect prices to be directly related to mileage. But the Reatta ads I see seem to display almost no such relationship (except for the odd piece with something like 2000 miles). For example, I've seen examples with 40K to 55K miles with asking prices of $3K to $4.5K but many examples with well over 100K miles for well over $10K. What's up with this?
  • By the way, a major factor in my priority on mileage is the idea that an automatic transmission is likely to need replacement -- a major expense relative to the price of the car -- at about 150K miles. Is this expectation of 150K miles for a transmission about right for the Reatta?
  • Is there any issue related to performance or reliability on which the 1991 model is LESS favorable than the 1990?
  • I've read that Reatta windshields are no longer available new and are VERY pricey in good used condition. Is there any other particular component that is extremely expensive to renew or replace?

At this early stage of my search I am looking to find a 1991 coupe in polo green with a 16 way seat, CD player but no sun roof. So if anyone out there who is about finished with one of these and wants it to have a very good home please let me know.

Thanks very much for your help.

Bob Kirk

Slanesville, WV 25444

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Mods, can you combine the other post from the "for sale/wanted" section to here?

no offense, "Captain"! just for those that don't want to repeat info already given. :)

re: the transmission - on a higher mileage car, i'd check the fluid for "redness", which will show proper maintenance. the Reatta i purchased a few years ago had around 179K and the fluid was brown(!) - but it performed fine and i replaced the fluid and filter after some other work that popped up...

good luck on your quest!!!

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  • One of the big reasons I favor the 1991 over prior years is my understanding that the power brake system changed in '91 to return to the more traditional and reliable vacuum system that eliminated a problem of sudden loss of brakes. Am I right about this?
    Problems with the Teves system are no where near as bad as some have made them out to be.
  • I tend to put great weight on the mileage of a used car and expect prices to be directly related to mileage. But the Reatta ads I see seem to display almost no such relationship What's up with this?
    No its condition, condition, condition. Paint, rust, interior parts are much more significant and expensive than mechanicals.
  • By the way, a major factor in my priority on mileage is the idea that an automatic transmission is likely to need replacement -- a major expense relative to the price of the car -- at about 150K miles. Is this expectation of 150K miles for a transmission about right for the Reatta?
    Tend to agree with this.
  • Is there any issue related to performance or reliability on which the 1991 model is LESS favorable than the 1990?
    No real performance edge even with mild HP improvement, worse MPG, no CRT.
  • I've read that Reatta windshields are no longer available new and are VERY pricey in good used condition.
    Not a problem just make sure you get an undamaged one and your insurance covers replacement if it gets broken. They are available new.
    Is there any other particular component that is extremely expensive to renew or replace?
    Your ability to live without one once you've owned at least one.

.
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I'm sure others will weigh in.

As an fyi, as someone else mentioned, the Teves system isn't as bad as others make it to be. Maintain it as it should be and you'll be fine. On all the cars I've bought, first thing to do is have all the fluids changed or flushed. Be more concerned obtaining wheel speed sensors; which are more difficult to find for a 1991 MY then for 1988-1990.

Price is all over the place based on condition and the fantasy/imagination of current Reatta owners that these are collectable and desirable cars (these are fun & enjoyable cars to own/drive). For those who have bought a low mileage (under 50K) Reatta for five figures,...what was it that PT Barnum said? Nevertheless, there are people who will spend waaay too much money for a clean, low mileage Reatta.

Looking for a 1988-1990 clean coupe that's under 70,000 miles...all things being equal I wouldn't spend more then $5,500 ($7,500-8,500 for a very clean convertible). Red/tan cars seem to go for less as this color combo is not uncommon. The more rare the color (driftwood, silver, polo green) seems to be more in demand (just my observation). Up the price $1,000 for a 1991 MY (coupe & vert). BTW, these are for rust free cars.

One more thing, when it comes time to re-sell the car, very, very few people are looking to buy a Reatta. Possibly once it becomes a collectable and desireable car, more will look for one. But that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon.

Also, if maintained properly, the paint/clearcoat on Reattas are top-notch. There can be a blanket of tree sap and bird poo on the car for months but as long as there is no peeling or fading of paint, the car will wash up (and wax) to a spectacular shine.

Ladies and Gentlemen: 20 years ago I restored old cars as a hobby -- a '38 Chevy Business Coupe, a '60 Buick Invicta 2 door hardtop and a 1965 International Scout 80. Now that our precious twin daughters are about to graduate from college I am thinking about selling our old reliable '96 Chevy Prism (Corolla -- 39 mpg!) and buying something else that is small but with a lot more comfort for my old bones. Like maybe a Reatta, since I hold Buicks in very high regard. (But used Reattas are so rare in my area (Eastern West Virginia) that I have yet to even drive one.)

From the reading I've done I'm pretty sure I want to buy a 1991 coupe for a number of reasons (engine, transmission & brake upgrades, larger wheels, etc.). But as I look at the ads I am puzzled by a number of things. I would greatly appreciate any words of wisdom you might offer.

  • One of the big reasons I favor the 1991 over prior years is my understanding that the power brake system changed in '91 to return to the more traditional and reliable vacuum system that eliminated a problem of sudden loss of brakes. Am I right about this?
  • I tend to put great weight on the mileage of a used car and expect prices to be directly related to mileage. But the Reatta ads I see seem to display almost no such relationship (except for the odd piece with something like 2000 miles). For example, I've seen examples with 40K to 55K miles with asking prices of $3K to $4.5K but many examples with well over 100K miles for well over $10K. What's up with this?
  • By the way, a major factor in my priority on mileage is the idea that an automatic transmission is likely to need replacement -- a major expense relative to the price of the car -- at about 150K miles. Is this expectation of 150K miles for a transmission about right for the Reatta?
  • Is there any issue related to performance or reliability on which the 1991 model is LESS favorable than the 1990?
  • I've read that Reatta windshields are no longer available new and are VERY pricey in good used condition. Is there any other particular component that is extremely expensive to renew or replace?

At this early stage of my search I am looking to find a 1991 coupe in polo green with a 16 way seat, CD player but no sun roof. So if anyone out there who is about finished with one of these and wants it to have a very good home please let me know.

Thanks very much for your help.

Bob Kirk

Slanesville, WV 25444

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Guest my3buicks

Two red/tan convertibles sold at Mecum Kissimmee auction last week, one went at $9500 the other at $11,000, one had 50ish thousand miles the other had 34K. I thought those were good figures for a big auction.

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Two red/tan convertibles sold at Mecum Kissimmee auction last week, one went at $9500 the other at $11,000, one had 50ish thousand miles the other had 34K. I thought those were good figures for a big auction.

Good to know. On the flip side, Barrett-Jackson declined putting a two-owner Reatta on the block during their auction last week (I don't know why).

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Guest my3buicks
Good to know. On the flip side, Barrett-Jackson declined putting a two-owner Reatta on the block during their auction last week (I don't know why).

Maybe a title issue or similar, there was certainly stuff there less worthy than a Reatta

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There was plenty of garbage there. I think the luster (their extended "15 minutes") has lost its shine. A couple of their major bidders have moved on to other things and they are not getting the sponsorships they've received in the past that allowed for that extra Hollywood glitter.

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Looking for a "small" car and your in the neighborhood for a Reatta? Personally, I think for a two seater the Reatta is a pretty big car. (just sayin ) As for expensive , nobody mentioned the Teves pump unit. That 'll cost you a few bucks. :)

And if you end up getting a not so pristine Reatta and you need a few trim items to get your car back to "kosher", here are a few items that are getting pricey and/or hard to find: front abs sensors, console armrests, 88-89 steering wheels, tail light letters and reflectors, tail light letters, seat belt guides, power mirror internals, power mirror inside covers, 88-90 door panels, orange glass globes, 90 headlight switches. (this list is for parts in good, unbroken condition)

Kit

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Kit - why don't you just be transparent and say a Fiero would be a better choice. :)

Looking for a "small" car and your in the neighborhood for a Reatta? Personally, I think for a two seater the Reatta is a pretty big car. (just sayin ) As for expensive , nobody mentioned the Teves pump unit. That 'll cost you a few bucks. :)

And if you end up getting a not so pristine Reatta and you need a few trim items to get your car back to "kosher", here are a few items that are getting pricey and/or hard to find: front abs sensors, console armrests, 88-89 steering wheels, tail light letters and reflectors, tail light letters, seat belt guides, power mirror internals, power mirror inside covers, 88-90 door panels, orange glass globes, 90 headlight switches. (this list is for parts in good, unbroken condition)

Kit

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I think Jim or Marck do an excellent job of getting used parts. I have made it a mission for me to get 1988-90 Front ABS sensor leads. I just looked and I have 18 each fronts and 4 rears. All either in original condition [not cracks or frays] or completely reconditioned to like new.

I even came up with a couple of 1990 Headlight switches.

Parts are also available in salvage yards just got to look hard.

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A Reatta is not small, is 184 inches long, Crossfire 160 (two feet shorter), and '12 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4-door blimpmobile 190. It's all that nose.

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The best advise I could give you is to be patient. The key to finding the perfect car is to wait until you find Mr or Ms Right. The longer you look the more knowledgeable you become about the cars and when the right one presents itself, you will know it without hesitation. Good luck.

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Hi Bob,

In your initial post, you mentioned that you have yet to drive a Reatta. I live less than an hour away from you and I would be more than happy to meet somewhere like Berkeley Springs so that you could spend some time inspecting and driving a '91. I would prefer we wait a week or so until the weather gets a little nicer :)

Feel free to use the PM function on this forum or give my cell a call at (814) 44one - 479seven if you would like to get together.

Jim (Nittany)

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