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Reatta: A future collectible? Really??


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Has anyone read the March 2015 issue of Hemmings (page 8, last paragraph but read the entire column by Richard Lentinello).

I can't recall in recent memory where a national publication suggested the Reatta can be considered a future collectible.

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I've beat this topic to death in other threads here over the past few years. I'll do it again here, because I can. The Reatta has the legitimate makings of a future collectible inasmuch as it possesses rarity, unique styling, unique build process, unusual development history and a claim to being one of the first fully computerized cars with a touchscreen interface as it's control and instrumentation systems were derived directly from those of the 1986 Riviera.

Working against it are the perception of having a plain vanilla FWD powerplant and being "just another 80's GM misfit market failure". To those complaints I respond that many now collectible cars have underpowered or unreliable engines and/or transmissions - which the Reatta hasn't -and yet such cars are still desired for other reasons. The issue of it being a market failure probably helps more than it hurts, as that is the very thing that has made it a rare car. As far as dinging it for being an 80's GM product, this is the typical General bashing coming from the those who worship at the altar of imports and would never give a GM product a fair shake. Who cares what they say? They've been proven wrong so many times already, they can all just shut up now because their bleating is nothing more than rote vocalization of opinions they can't even remember a specific justification for. This is equivalent to the drunken taunting that takes place between fans of different football teams.

Really, the issue of official collectible status comes down to groupthink. If enough people - the right people - come to the mindset that the Reatta is worth investing in for it's historical, styling and technological merits, voila, it will be a collectible. If a critical mass of those who drive the collectible car hobby and market chose to ignore it, it won't get mainstream acceptance as a collectible.

The funny thing is that it will still be one as it already is now by virtue of the fact that there are a decent sized group of people of different backgrounds and mindsets who have sought specifically to own a Reatta or two, or four. Thus, by the strict definition of the word "collectible" the Reatta already is one.

Just because "we" (the current crop of owners) don't get the respect and recognition (and in turn valuation) for our vehicles that we would if we chose to own a 34 Ford coupe or a 57 Bel Air doesn't mean it isn't a collectible as it stands presently. If it weren't, virtually all Reattas would have been in scrap yards by now for lack of interest. Look at the survival rate and tell me no one wants this quarter century plus old car. Yeah, that's what I thought.

So really, what is under discussion is whether the powers that be - those who drive public perception and opinion - will give their imprimatur to the Reatta at some future point thus qualifying it with the official status as a collectible car. We see movement in that direction with magazine and online articles, so maybe it happens. Who really knows?

Really, I don't care. Like so many other things I've enjoyed, I was doing this before the cool kids (who never missed an opportunity to criticize me for choosing to be different, with a certain amount of relish) decided to co-opt my style later on and make it popular. Just proves that I was the leader and they were the followers all along. Sure, I'll not get proper recognition for being the trendsetter but I don't need my ego stroked by the lemmings at large. I'll just chuckle at how everyone else was late to the party. Again.

Besides, I got mine on the cheap. When it becomes a collector car (officially) the newcomers will be stepping on each other dropping big coin at auction trying to get one. In real estate, buy low and sell high is touted as genius with near religious fervor. And yet, with cars, those who timed their market entry wisely are ridiculed for years for their "old heaps" that "no one will ever want". Yeah, go on with that line of thought, suckers. I love the smell of vindication in tbe morning.

KDirk

Edited by KDirk (see edit history)
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I've always been told that they are a future collectible. Since I was looking at one at a used car dealer years ago, I've been told they'll be collectible. One of my previous co-workers actually caught the 2 seater fever after talking Reattas with me at lunch every day and he ended up buying a Solstice. I don't care whether they'll be collectible or not. I'm having fun with mine. And there will always be people willing to rebuild, repair and reuse, even when the cool kids are buying restoration quality parts.

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Guest my3buicks

I didn't say I agreed or disagreed, you asked I gave you an answer.

Personally, I think eventually the Reatta will be collectible, but I think it's only going to be prime examples and not as a general population.

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In my opinion the Reatta is already a collectible car. If you look at prices for Select 60 models and convertibles in excellent shape, people are asking and getting good money for these cars. Trust me I know after a 6 months search for a convertible. Other than a Corvette, what other 1990 and 1991 model cars are people asking 12-20 thousand dollars for? Mustang? Camaro? Any Mopars? Even the 1990 and 1991 Corvette prices are way down. I see good examples of Reatta's turning up at major televised car auctions, on the pages of Hemmings and the like. I have only taken my car to one car show here in Phoenix since I bought it but I can tell you, it drew lots of attention and people loved the car. Another indicator is Hagerty insurance accepted the car and deems it collectible and they do not accept many 1988-1991 model year cars. I asked him what the Hagerty valuation guide listed and he told me $20,000. You can look it up at www.hagerty.com if you like. The Reatta is a rare and special car and has a unique story as well. Time will be good to this model car, of that I am sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If the powers that be decide that the Reatta is now a collector car would be nice. But I bought my two 90 coupes, one new because I liked the car. I hunted down my second when I was looking for another car. I then remembered how after being hit drivers side front fender by an impaired driver changed my direction of travel into a large square concrete pole at 50 mph. Impact was drivers side pushed engine into floor and raised floor to back of brake pedal. Airbag deployed. A police officer witnessed the event and when I opened my door and was able to stand up he was amazed. Most cars would require the jaws of life to remove the driver he told me. By that time my neck had turned blue from the shoulder belt and I began to feel bad. Fire rescue took me to emergency room then intensive care. I was told that I should have become paralyzed or dead after that hard double impact. So that is my long story on why I bought a second one and enjoy driving it. The fact that it could become a collector car never emtered my mind on my search.

Sorry for my rant.

Richard.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest my3buicks

Not saying it's worth $50K but I would think being a 91 and with that mileage it should bring premium money possibly even close to it's window sticker price. There are buyers out there if the "right" car pops up.

I hope it does bring big money.

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What a great day for Reatta fans!! It is so wonderful that someone bought new and kept a time capsule Reatta like the one for sale. At that price, I suspect the new buyer will take care of it as well(if it sells). Hopefully, one day it will end up at a museum where all Reatta fans can go and admire it. I see a very bright future for the Reatta as a collectible car. When I take mine out (going to a car show later today) it always gathers a crowd. Most say, "wow, that's a Buick? I didn't think they made that sort of car."

I always remind them of the Grand Nationals (one hot V-6) and the GS's.

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This Himmings Reatta! What a shame such a fine Reatta was left to sit and rot. post-59602-143143013894_thumb.jpg I hope it sells! Just think of all the fun the owner didn't have!!! Reattas are just too much fun a ride to be kept under a cover in a shop. I know!!! I have a Reatta with less than 5,000 miles--A SoCal factory original. It just sat in my shop. I've taken it to a few car shows in the past twelve years I've owned it. The least fun of all my Reattas.

post-59602-143143013864_thumb.jpg

post-59602-143143013879_thumb.jpg

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If I ever have a show car (unlikely) it will be my faithful triple blue 88 sunroof coupe I bought in 2001, the 90 vert is my daily driver and rarely put the top up (if inclement or too hot I take the Crossfire).

The key to being collectible is twofold: rare and desirable. I know of two "1 of 1" cars that are certainly rare but not desirable (e.g. 66 Pontiac Bonneville with a 421 Tripower , four speed, four door. The other a 1967 Tempest Sprint with 4 bbl OHC 6, four speed, with ac also a four door. Or my '78 Sunbird V8-4 speed. 63 built. C&D clled it a "rite of passage". Point there is that it never got any respect. I traded it for set of wheels.

I can think of several cars that were thought of as underpowered when new and bring big bucks today for example a Merc 190SL. When new it was something a parent would give to a daughter on graduation. Fieros are in the middle but in the end I suspect only the GTs and the rare Fornulas will be worth anything particularly with a 5-speed Getrag. Is a good chace that by 2028 everyone will have 1 liter 3 cyl and a 3800 V6 will be a big engine. Certainly 170 and 200 hp 77-79 TransAms are starting to bring real money particularly with a Pontiac engine.

So the only thing I know about the future is that it will be different. I do find it remarkable that a 1915 almost anything can fill up on current 87 PON and run happily down the road. Wonder how long that will be true.

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... Is a good chace that by 2028 everyone will have 1 liter 3 cyl and a 3800 V6 will be a big engine...

It has already happened. V8s are dead outside of trucks, pony cars, and a few high end luxury cars. That 1 liter 3 cyl in 2028 will be turboed within an inch of its life, and have VVT so it can run in Atkinson cycle. Electric assist will be standard to provide low-end TQ. Prius/Volt on steroids.

Or simply full-time electric without the ICE. Tesla has really shown what is possible when you start with a clean sheet of paper. (Rather than converting an existing ICE platform for California compliance.)

So the only thing I know about the future is that it will be different. I do find it remarkable that a 1915 almost anything can fill up on current 87 PON and run happily down the road. Wonder how long that will be true.

And with a few hundred dollars worth of modern lithium batteries and a charger, a 1915 electric could get several hundred miles of range. Albeit at max speed of 25 mph or so. They didn't know much about rare earth magnets and PWM motor control back then.

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I have a bad case of "Sellers Remorse"! I sold my SoCal twines to a will known auto collection. Most certainly, they would not have scarfed them up so fast had they not anticipated what the future holds for Reatta. I'm seventy five years old and most likely won't see my accumulation sell for sticker price; however I have little doubt they will. {if I were younger I'd do a Marck imitation}!!!! The sale of the "twins" almost wiped out my total Reatta investment and injected cash to upscale my convertible obsession. I don't feel good about sending two fine autos to museum jail.

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What do you mean about SoCal twines? Did you have a twin turbo Reatta? If so, if you could send me a link to a thread or article about your car I would love reading it.

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here and say he had two identical(twin) so cal cars. If he had a twin turbo car, don't you think one of us would know it at least existed? There were what... 12? Turbo Reattae, one wrecked, another was purportedly found in part in a Flint MI warehouse, the rest who knows? My co-worker claims to know someone in Lansing who has one tucked away.

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Well to really make a turbo work on a gasoline engine (87 PON) you need VVT i&e and direct injection. I know of a car like that producing 125 hp/liter and available today for about $25k.

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In 2013, by accident found a garaged well maintained 88, Red/Gray, sunroof, with 64,000 miles. Owner still had the window sticker and everything else that came with the car. He even gave me the Dealer plastic model of the car. The dealer who was only allotted 1 Reatta for sale. This car was bought from a Ft. Worth Texas dealer (since gone) and is now here in my Dallas Texas garage.

Whenever I take it out with my wife we always get comments from people. She tells me we are never selling this car.

A lot of people would like to have a Reatta but most for sale would exceed there value to restore. I saw one a few days ago on Craigslist for $1000.00 but needed at least $4000.00 on just paint and leather alone.

Rarity is one thing but replacement cost according to insurance companies holds back appreciation in the car. I insisted on a higher value and paid extra to insure mine for $10,000.00. To bring a $1000 Reatta back to show is at least $9000.00.

Insuring your car to its value to replace in like condition is one way the Reatta's will see future collectable status.

By the way, I like my Reattta because its fun.

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Guest my3buicks

That is one thing I have had no issue with Hagerty Insurance Company insuring my Reatta's for excellent values, especially the low mileage red one.

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If I ever have a show car it would be the 88 sunroof coupe. I consider it the first real computer car. It really just needs detailing but while I have the original wheels, I like the 16x7 snowflakes a lot better. Don't drive much since have the Crossfire coupe & needs a power steering pump but have pleanty of room and now even time to work on it.

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  • 6 months later...

First post here. The only reason I bought a Reatta was because of a story on a mainstream site that listed 10 cars that should be collectible but aren't. Perhaps they meant these cars would be collectible in the future. That led me to a Canadian seller's site (not Ebay) where I found the gem that I have now. Low price, great condition and a project that I can spend time with until it purrs. Wonky colour (red with silver interior) but the dash and computer still work. It's an '88 with 150K miles on it but most of it looks to be in perfect shape. Points in another post aside, this car looks good and it's unusual. If other 'collectibles' had an engine that was in millions of cars, I'd say they'd be even more collectible. The thing that keeps ringing in my head is that it's hand-built. Two grand for a hand-built car ain't too shabby, 

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I recall Henry N. Manney mentioning that he could no longer just drive his Cobra because it was too valuable. Hope I never feel like that about my toys.

Got the PS in the 88 and took it to the Silver Spring Show and Cedar Key cruise. 300+ miles and never missed a beat. Lots of interest particularly in the electronics. Do have albums by Heather Alexander (Midsummer is best) on my cell phone that sound great through the stereo.

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