Snooze

Older model vs Newer model

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So,

I have this conundrum. I 've owned a few Camaros in the past, 88-91 range. This will be my first Reatta. I have two options though.

One is low miles. Low. 64000 to be exact. Dealer sell from a location that specializes in classics. The only issues are is that it's an 88 model with a tevis system and the original Magnavox ignition. It's also on the other side of the state, which on my list of concerns is low, but just to see it, I have to drive about 550 miles round trip. It's also about 2500 more expensive. If the pictures are to be believed, the car is super clean though. It's in concourse ready condition.

The other is also a clean car. No undercarriage rust, no wheel well corrosion. Garage kept. 112,000 miles. It's a 1991. It's inspected through August 2019. I have driven this car. There are some clunks in the front end with the suspension rebound. I think this might be loose strut bearings. The brakes feel a bit spongey but I think the system just needs bled. The cruise control doesn't seem to work. (I haven't been able to engage it.). And the sunroof does open and close but it's slow. (might need lubrication). It's also not the original paint. Someone painted it a bright blue color. It has all the original paperwork. It had its brake lines replaced about 5K ago, and the main belt was replaced around 10,000 miles ago. There are no issues that I can hear, see, feel, or smell, with the motor or transmission. The power steering system has no hesitation or weight. The controls and displays are all functional. As the car warms up the temperature gauge rises appropriately. I would describe this car as road ready but would need like 5 or 6 grand of restoration to return to concourse which I don't really care to do.

I'm not sure which I should go with. The less expensive car is enticing because the parts are more modern, but the 88 is so nice looking. The mechanical woes with replacement parts are a concern but the miles are half as much.

Please let me know what you think. I can answer any and all questions.

Edited by Snooze
Adding info. Removing incorrect info. (see edit history)

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Don't know if I can help but lets walk thru the options, price and etc.

 

1988  with 64,000 miles.........$2,500 more than the 1991

 

1991 with 112K miles,  needs $5K  to be in top condition.   has been repainted, cruise and sunroof need work.

 

Since you did not state the price of either car........  I'm guessing they want $6-7 K for the 1988,  maybe less.. (5K would be a decent price for the '88 with that mileage, they don't bring as much as other years)

If forced to go with one of these cars, I would go for the '88,  if the price is under $6K..........otherwise,  I would keep looking and saving for when the right one comes along. 

Most people will say the 1991 is the best year......all things considered that is probably right but there is really nothing wrong with buying any year Reatta as long as you are aware of the potential problems (mainly the Teves system)

It can cost the price of a new accumulator to get the Teves system going,  but you would seldom put more than $600 into the brakes, doing them yourself.

Buy the best car you can find and afford.    It probably does not make sense to buy the 1991,  add 5-6K to fix it and still have a repainted 112,000 car.

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I would go with the 88, each year the Reatta lost a bit more of its sole, The 88’s are pure Reatta. And as long as condition was as expected, I would always go with the lower mileage car Especially that much difference.  I have owned both high mileage and low mileage Reatta’s  and while I have enjoyed the higher mileage ones I have owned  I  find when you climb into a lower mileage one the driving difference can be substantial over a higher mileage car.  Probably the most negative thing I see about the 88 you’re looking at is that a dealer has it, Why not look for one from an owner that you can get the true history of the car, it’s not like nice Reatta’s are few and far between.  

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If I were personally looking at this scenario I would go for the '88. Any car is only original once. It sounds as if the '88 has been ravaged less than the '91. I do not find the Teves system to be that concerning. I have also found that the parts that are completely unobtanium for an '88 are also the same unobtainium parts for a '91. If you are not afraid of working on your own car  the most important thing you can do is get a shop manual. The troubleshooting procedures will take you through any system on the car and you can fix it. There is also a WEALTH of information and knowledgeable people right here on this web site.

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The Reatta is actually 2 different cars. The '88/89 have the touch screen which in my opinion [other then styling] is what makes the Reatta. The '91 has  a different IPC and without the touch screen, and the "better" brake master cylinder but keep in mind the front ABS leads are one year only. The Teves system while "different" isn't that uncommon and parts are still available.

 You may want to consider how much you plan on driving your car. 2000-3000 miles a year? Buy the 1988. It will probably not cost you much in repairs. If you drive your cars more 10,000-20,000 a year then it really doesn't matter as you will soon have a high mileage car.

 For me the Red and Black get driven the latter amount of miles and I am replacing parts. The 'vert gets the former amount and other then fluid maintenance has not had anything done to it.

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Seems like everyone is saying go with the '88.

I would say before reading the responses I would have saved the trip, bought the '91 and not given it a second thought. Now I'm thinking the least I need to do is drive the '88 to get a comparison.

I am looking to keep this as a second car. My daily is a 2012 Lincoln MKz Hybrid with 48,000 miles on it. I would be driving the '88 on nice summer days that I want to cruise some of the backroads we have around here. I live less than 10 miles from work. I would drive it to work every now and then in good weather to show off a piece of late 20th century swag every now and then. Choosing this over a RWD pony car cause it snows a bit around here and I don't want something that's only practical 5 months out of a year.


Also if the Lincoln has to go into the shop for anything, I want to know I have something reliable-ish to back it up with. Just to clarify-- I'm not afraid to work on the car, just concerned about future availability of parts. Some people have also noted the Magnavox ignition assembly is also something that is tricky to update properly. Can anyone attest to this positively or negatively?

One benefit if I go with the 91, it has a Buick service manual for the car, with complete notes taken by a previous owner that did a decent amount of work to it already.

 

@Y-JobFan Partly because with it being more expensive, I can't just pay the whole thing out of pocket, and I'm pretty sure this dealer has finance options for classic cars right off the bat. Since it's not a very expensive classic car, I'm not afraid to get taken for a moderate sized ride. Especially if it's from a reputable credit company.  That being said it is something I could finance out over the course of one year. Or probably until I get my tax return. And for anyone who is about to say. "Just save the money and do a cash sale then." Eh. I'm not going to do that. Some fancy thing will land in front of me in April, like a gun or a girl that I have to have, and I'll wind up blowing the Reatta money on that so. Yeah. Long story short, this is happening one way or the other very soon.

Edited by Snooze (see edit history)

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Also have to say when I drove the '91 I was impressed by the Reatta's road presence. It was a very comfortable ride for a low down hunkered car. It shifted smooth and glided over the bumps, and I just wanted to keep driving forever.

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I own an 88 and love it.  I fixed all the normal problems and it is a pleasure to drive.  I just wish it had a bit more power.

Parts can be found and repairs can be made.  Buy the 88.

 

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The Magnavox swap is an easy swap. Just look for a Delco coil pack for a 1991 Reatta and you have what you need.

 I have also said this for years;

 "The Reatta is an easy car to buy and a hard car to sell"

 Reason why is that most people don't know what one is and then  are turned off by the two seat design. If you can wait a bit, maybe they will drop the price. I am sure the dealer didn't pay much for it, unless it is in on consignment, then there is no urgency to drop the price...

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My 91 is a sort of twin to that cars original color combo. I believe there’s only two in that exact combo,I have to double check the database. That 91 has been for sale for a long time now. I would imagine you can get a better price than what they are asking. (I assume it’s the one for sale in PA). Also how early is the 88? I think if it’s an early one that would be worth it over a resprayed 91. 

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Always easy to spend someone else's money but I would at least look at the '88. Unless I am the one that commissioned a repaint, I always wonder what is really underneath? I know I looked at five or more Reattas before I bought my first one. There were steady improvements from one year to the next, for better or worse, but an original would be my preference. JMHO  

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I was not sure until I looked last Night. Is this the Bright Blue car in PA that has been posted on FB for a long time? The one I am referring to is a 91 with 112K miles on it. It states it was originally a maroon color. I have seen the price drop over time on this from $5500 to as low as $4800. Some of the things you say about this cars suspension noise and brake lines being replaced do not sound like a rust free car. The paint Job looks good but I wonder why someone would re-paint a car in a non original color if they had no plans to keep it for awhile. I think the cost of the re-paint is why this car is priced so high. As of last night this car was listed with $4900 price. If the 88 is $2500 more. I will assume the price on the 88 is $7400. Both of these car are way over priced. I know of a nice 90 Convertible  I could pickup at $4900.

I think you should do some more shopping around.

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Dashmaster. Yeah it is. I looked under the floorpans and wheel wells, and saw no signs of systemic corrosion. I think the guy inherited it from someone who was a car guy. He didn't repaint it himself but it was done by a shop not some guy with an air compressor. It looks like the door panels were removed and the underbody was sprayed as well. Though there is some signs of overspray on the tailpipe and frame, there isn't any on the glass or plastic trim pieces.

I had no interest in convertibles for a number of reasons. Will report back again after I've driven the '88.

 

Edited by Snooze (see edit history)

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The fact that it is the wrong color instantly knocks alot of money off of its value.  If you buy a non-authentic colored Reatta, prepare to live with it until either you or it dies.  It has been for sale forever so that should speak volumes to you.  Havin owned multiple Reatta's I would not even consider the car at any price.  It is easy to buy the wrong Reatta there are lots of wrong ones out there. but there are also lots of good ones. You seem to be in a hurry to buy one, that is the biggest mistakes one can make in buying any car, limiting the number of cars you are going to look at limits greatly your chance of finding a good one.   But thankfully you have to live with your decision in the end, we don't.    Hopefully the 88 will be more promising 

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When I learned of the Reatta I started looking for one. That was about two And a half years ago.  In 2017 I went and looked at a 90 vert that needed some work. Realized although I knew more than the owner I didn’t know enough. I discovered this forum in January of this year. I made a spreadsheet of all the cars for sale east of the Mississippi from February til June. To figure out what a good price for the rareity, mileage and color combo was.  I knew I wanted a 90/91 either model. I test drove a few. Saw my car I have now on autotrader. Went and looked at it a few days later. Bought it the next week. That was in July.

Guess I’m confirming what a few above have said. It’s easy to find a reatta for sale. Just the best one you can buy is harder. I think my wait was worth it. It could be worth it for you. 

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I'm not in a rush to buy anything. I did my homework, found out which parts have been known to fail and located alternatives. I know I don't want a convertable because in all convertables the front and rear ends are connected only by the floor and frame rigidity is compromised.

I've been looking at Reattas for over a year. Just prior to this month I was also looking at GTIs, Hyundai Tiburons, and Volvo C30s as well. These are the two that are in my price range, in the condition that I want, in my area. If you know of any others, by all means, throw them in the for sale submenu and I'll consider it.

I drove the '88. Mechanically it was without fault so I put some money down on it until finance is sorted out. I think they're out until the new year.

As an addendum, I'm not getting this as a show car or an investment. It's also not a beater whip until I can afford something better. It's going to be sort of in between. If something breaks on it and it takes a few months to source a part, I have my daily driver already so it's not a big deal. I also don't have a 120 sq. ft. showroom in my house. I have a carport with a shed nearby. It's going to be parked on gravel mostly outdoors 365 days a year.

Edited by Snooze (see edit history)
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Good for you. I was betting on the '88. You will find most of the guys who post try to drive their cars as much as possible. I think that is mostly because the ones who drive more have more "things" pop up.

 I will not judge what you have or don't have in the way of storage for your car. Right now with 4 Reattas I have two in my 22'x28' garage  [one cross ways along the back in winter storage so my wife's Enclave and the Black can be under cover] one in winter storage at a widow's house that I shovel snow for [free storage] and the last one [maybe a parts car] at my buddy's farmette under an overhang for the winter [also free storage, I'm cheap that way].

 It's hard for most of us to have a hobby car and deal with parking. 

 Just glad you bought one and welcome aboard... 

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33 minutes ago, Snooze said:

 If something breaks on it and it takes a few months to source a part, I have my daily driver already so it's not a big deal. I also don't have a 120 sq. ft. showroom in my house. I have a carport with a shed nearby. It's going to be parked on gravel mostly outdoors 365 days a year.

I have always been able to get parts. I think the longest I ever waited for a part was less than a week. Sometimes I took a week to find a part because I was trying to find the best price. That said. I did take my car to get the A/C compressor replaced and converted to 134A. It was two weeks before they had the right parts and had it back together then they could not get the AC to function. After four weeks of going back and forth with them I took the car back from them with a non-functioning AC. I went through the troubleshooting per the manual and compared my results with a couple of guys on the web sites. I came to this website and the ROJ. We finally determined the reason my AC would not engage was because the power steering pressure switch was bad. A new switch (less than $10 at the local Auto Zone) and my system worked perfectly. The mechanic could not get it to function for 4 weeks. With the guys here and my manual I had it functioning in one day.

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They make some excellent car covers for outdoor use, Barney Eaton can get you good prices on some of the best.  A good cover is a very good friend to a 30 year old car that sits outdoors.  

 

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Steven, I've found that with mechanics as with many other specialist professions sometimes it's hard to sit back and look at the project as part of a greater whole. They're so used to fixing one part and then moving on to another part they can't see how parts can affect each other down the line.

Y-JobFan. I was thinking Sealskin. 10 year warranty on those. Price is okay.

 

Thanks all for your helpful responses, with any luck I will have some pictures start of next week.

Edited by Snooze (see edit history)
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In a coupe I would definitely go for the 88, eventually its position as the first production touchscreen is going to make a difference. I have both an 88 coupe and a 90 convertible. Frankly I would like to sell the convertible but not going to accept $5,000 for it, can stay in the garage for now.

 

As mentioned the issues (small wheels, Magnavox ignition) are bolt on replacements, keep the originals in baggies. Or not.

 

The big problem is that there are still too many that have been run into the ground on CL for many to even pay $3k for one.

 

Maybe in 2025...

 

ps I prefer "interesting" cars and just bought a 2011 CTS Coupe for a road/trip car. 3.5 year production run and has little in common with a "normal" CTS.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)

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The "small wheels"  is not a problem, but a preference - all the tests of the car at the time didn't seem to have any issue with the Reatta's wheels/..handling.  Having owned half dozen Reatta's and driven them thousands of miles, I have only had 1 instance where the Magnavox ignition failed, the car got me home and replaced with the same.  Reatta's have  several "issues" that are truly an issue, no sense making more issues out of preference related items.  There are many of us that love the Reatta's right out of the box without having the need to modify them and then touting the modifications as improvements 

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What I listed are "my preferences" and keep the originals in baggies. Personally liked 60 series tires in 1970 and still do. Personally prefer a rim that is as wide as the tread for a street tire and that has to do with ride. At the time of the original article Delco ignitions were a lot more common in junk yards than Magnavoxes and I could gap the plugs wider.

 

Having hands free phone capability in my cars I consider a necessity rather than a preference even though GM did not get Bluetooth right until about 2014.

 

ps agree tests at time did not find fault with handling, what they found was a serious lack of power so the handling really did not matter. The single biggest improvement this century has been in engines and transmissions. Have been touting DOHC and DI for year but is just hitting the mainstream now. The Reatta (before 91) was 3800s with 165 hp and died after 5k rpm. Modern 3.6s are DOHC and develop over 300 hp at 7k rpm. That is something you can feel and why my new DD is a CTS Coupe with fold down rear seats & a roof vent.

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:26 AM, DAVES89 said:

Right now with 4 Reattas I have two in my 22'x28' garage  [one cross ways along the back in winter storage so my wife's Enclave and the Black can be under cover] one in winter storage at a widow's house that I shovel snow for [free storage] and the last one [maybe a parts car] at my buddy's farmette under an overhang for the winter [also free storage, I'm cheap that way].

 It's hard for most of us to have a hobby car and deal with parking. 

Wow, four Reattas!

 

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