Barney Eaton

Are Reattas being bought and sold?

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We all see the traffic on the Reatta discussion has diminished.    We get an occasional new owner asking the typical Reatta question,  but are there people out there actually looking for a Reatta?

I had a call yesterday from a fellow in Peoria ILL saying he inherited 1990 coupe and convertible from his dad.   He indicated that he had other collectable cars and seemed to be on the fence on whether to keep or sell the cars.

I suspect that some of you regulars on the discussion might upgrade if something better came along .........but just wondering if anyone is actually buying Reattas as a collectable car.

PS I made an attempt to get a new listing of registered Reattas from R.L.Polk and got no response.......my good contact lost his job and last year a co-worker sent the list to me but it looks like we will not be getting updates.

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Posted (edited)

I personally think the internet traffic slows down a lot during the winter. I know I store my car during the winter and I do not have a heated garage so I'm not working on it or anything else out there. Matter of fact the only time I do anything outside during the cooler months is by necessity. You know, clearing the snow off my driveway. Anyway, that said I only put approximately 300 miles on my car last year. I have only driven it 6 miles since last September. I have decided I really should let it go. My wife doesn't really like the car and if we go out she prefers the MOPAR or the F150. Last summer I had a for sale sign in the window but not one call for the car. I thought of trading it but decided not to because it would just be another car that I will not drive enough. I am taking it to the local cruise-in tomorrow and I'm considering stopping at CarMax to see what they will offer.

Edited by fordrodsteven (see edit history)

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That's too bad about the R.L. Polk contact.  In case anyone does not know, Craigs List is now requiring $5 to list a vehicle.  I go in every week and check on Reattas within a 750 mile radius of Des Moines, Iowa and it went from about 50 cars 2 weeks ago to less than 10 listed.   This may increase traffic on ebay, but may slow interest in Reattas over all.  Some are saying the change at CL will drive sellers to Facebook marketplace.  OK, but I'm not on Facebook and I am not sure Facebook was as well sorted out as CL.  CL was so easy to do a search for a specific interest like Reatta. 

 

I sold my 1990 Driftwood convertible to a buyer in Lincoln Nebraska. (ebay) He said he had owned Reattas before, and always enjoyed them.  So he is coming back into Reatta ownership.   Prior to putting it on ebay, where I had 60 + watchers and a lot of traffic - I had crickets on Craigs List.  This was when it was free. 

 

So, is CL evolving away from a easy to use marketplace for modern collector cars anyway?  Reatta numbers on CL were way down from what I saw in 2016-2017.  That seemed to be the last great glory years of finding that decent coupe for $3500 with 80,000 miles on it in nice condition.  Those cars are disappearing. 

 

And I wonder about that 1988 Select 60 that has been on CL for over 2 years, the one from Indiana or is it Illinois?  With a free ad, he just kept renewing it and renewing it. Now, when it costs $5 and you need to pay every 30 days - does he lose interest and keep it, lower the price (as he should) or pony up $60 a year for ads?  One thing I noticed is the ads don't have an option to "bring to the top".  They sink like a dead fish.   This will draw less traffic on CL. 

 

So it's hard to say if we have the right tools to monitor interest, traffic or sales anymore.

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Well Barney, you present an interesting  question. I don't know what the global answer is to your question but I can relate my  personal experience.  I am a car collector and  have three other anticque cars. Two of these are high-end cars that have appreciated  enough that I am very selective as to when i drive them; the other is a 1970 Chevelle Conv. that I've enjoyed for 25 years, a good #4 car without air conditioning.  I had a very nice 76 Hornet Sportabout that I liked as a daily driver but the air-flow thru the venting was almost nonexistant. I sold it and  looked for a good daily driver with air.

 

I found the Reatta on line in Indiana, had some Studebaker Forum friends look at it and drive it. The car is near perfect and I don't think it ever saw rain  with the original owner.  I could not believe that I could get a Convertible with all the options for a bit under $10K delivered. I think it's a fantastic little daily driver and I could not be happier with it. The brake situation scared me a little so with this forum's help i gathered  all the hard to get spares.  The Rube-Goldburg braking system is a downer but pricing reflects that.

 

I think these cars are a screaming buy and actually a car club buddy just acquired one for a daily driver. 

 

My car will never see snow or salt and i hope to enjoy it for years and this Forum and it's  experienced posters are a huge plus

 

Just my opinion, Murray

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I bought my 91 as one last year as a collector car. Also helps that it’s a 1of 1 color combo wise. I agree that CL charging for ads is going to hurt. There was usually about a dozen for sale in the NYC area. Now there’s three. FB is not nearly as organized for car sales. The ads don’t say exactly when it was posted. First week it will then only say “posted over a week ago” which isn’t helpful.

When I get off my ship I’m working on In late July I’m going to bring my car to as many shows as I can to help spread awareness. I think if more people knew what this car was more people would be interested in them. The only other reattas I’ve seen are ones I’ve looked at buying and the five in a junkyard by me. Have yet to see one in the wild yet. 

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I don't know if CL has hurt sales.........maybe it has reduced the number of low priced cars listed because some people are too cheap to pay even the $5.

There is also the chance that when it is free.......people will advertise a vehicle at an elevated price just to test the market.   Who know.....as a recent C & W tune says "and people are crazy" 

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Barney

You are correct that CL had a lot of phishers out there putting their junk (not Reattas, but older "ran when parked" stuff) on CL because it was free and ran in perpetuity.


Many of these folks did not even know their cars had been booted from CL!  They would go in and renew about once every 5 weeks, maybe even raise the price.  Now, I think after the initial drop of cars on CL, some will come back.  It's still a viable low cost marketplace.  I did an Auto Tempest search yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at the number of Reattas but it was a nationwide search. 

 

As we have had these discussions in the past, most believe - if I recall correctly - that the driver age of Reattas is pretty much over, and what is left will be collected. Sure wish we could get R.L. Polk data annually to see the drop, that was really valuable as a snap shot. 

 

I'm not buying any more. I have scratched my convertible itch, and have 2 coupes and that will be it.  I see others I really want, like that Silver and Blue 1988 Kevin found in Michigan, but I can't collect them all. 

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The best thing that has came out of CL charging $5 per ad is it has stopped people, mostly dealerships, from posting the same ad every other day to keep their ad on top. Sometimes there would be three ads for the same car on the first page.  Another benefit I see is it has stopped the listings for new wheels for sale in the cars-for-sale category that were flooding Craigslist. I'm hoping that if people have to pay for a ad maybe they will will do a better job of writing their ads instead of posting one liners with blurry pictures. The downside is it reduced the number of Reattas being posted. Especially the cheap parts cars. We need the parts cars made available to our Reatta parts vendors so they can grab them up to part them out so we have a good supply of used parts.

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I cant get anyone to even look at my 90 convertible. Brake accumulator is toast, so it's a running, driving, barely stopping parts car for $1400 and that's Canadian dollars and includes the light switch I just purchased. These are going the way of the Allante'. Which is downhill. I've had 4 Allante's will never have another, but I still want a decent Reatta.

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Ed now is the time to be buying..........still a good variety of low mileage cars out there and as you know the prices are low.

While there is nothing wrong with the Teves brakes......if you can find a mechanic to work on them...the 1991's have a different system that is a more common design and

don't seem to have problems because they have fewer parts.

I worked on a friends Allante and I think part of the problem was the Italian input/design.....the problem we had was the rear latch on the top....it acted as its own ground and if it did not touch and make good ground

it would not latch or unlatch.   They finally traded it off

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I think collectors are buying and searching out low mileage convertibles as collector cars and maybe some low mileage coupes to a lesser degree.  Seems to be a bit of a surge in people searching out the rarer color combinations as well which also points to these cars being sought out for the collecting aspect.  Run of the mill cars are pretty much ignored and supply and demand also comes into play as there is no shortage of available run of the mill Reatta's.  An unfortunate turn of events is that Reatta's seem to have started to become popular with people that want to customize and modify them and turn them into something they are not.  

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24 minutes ago, Y-JobFan said:

An unfortunate turn of events is that Reatta's seem to have started to become popular with people that want to customize and modify them and turn them into something they are not

 

It may be unfortunate for the collectors but dollar-wise maybe not so much.  If you watch the auctions on TV the restomods routinely bring as much or more money than the bone stock restorations.  Altering cars seems to be more the norm than the exception lately.

 

I have made several modifications to my Reatta, all of which can be easily reversed if I wanted to sell it (which would be a losing proposition). A spoiler was added, 16" chrome wheels, fake wood-grain dash and a few other things. The car really isn't appreciating in value anyway so why not make changes I like it to get the maximum amount of enjoyment out of it while driving my money out of it? At my age I probably won't live long enough to see it appreciate in value enough to cover the amount I have invested in it.

 

For most Reatta owners it's better to gauge your return on investment in miles of smiles instead of an increase in value. I bought my Reatta to drive and have fun in. I don't see that changing even if it's value does start to go up.

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Posted (edited)

I've had 3, all 1990's, 2 coupes and 1 convertible.  I don't have one now and I doubt I'll buy another.  The problem with the desirable cars, those with less than 100K miles, is that the economics don't pencil out.  Every one I have owned or considered had some issues due to age or miles.  Most needed struts, $1,000, all needed AC recharge (which means a complete R134A change and a new compressor, $1000+, and then add in other stuff like ABS issues, new tires, a windshield, or weatherstripping that is not available and you are well into a car over your head.  Then there is the issue that most folks don't understand what a unique car the Reatta is.  While some are willing to pony up to a slightly inflated purchase price, they find the car either impossible to sell to get their money back when they tire of it or they take a bath and sell at what the market will bear.  Even cars that are 1 of 1 because of a unique color combination or equipment don't get an added value because of this.  There are some that will eventually become collectibles (like 1991 convertibles or 1990 Select 60's) but even those will be a tough sell. 

 

Please understand that I love the Reattas and I was ecstatic when I bought each of mine.  Unfortunately they are just an interesting little car with a small cult like following.    

Edited by ol' yeller (see edit history)
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I have yet to not make nice profits on any of the ones I have sold, and a couple were huge profits.  Why change to 134A?  There is more than an ample supply of R12 still available, I have yet to change over any of mine and all have had ice cold air after recharging with R12.  I have to disagree about the price on cars that are rarer color or color combination, I see them almost always bring a premium as long as they are nice cars to begin with.  Of course that may not be the case if it is not a desirable combo, I personally like Driftwood, but it seems to usually flop on the sales chart.  

 

Ronnie, the modified ones I am referring to are not done to the standards that would bring any kind of premium, they seem to be in favor with young kids now that buy beat up examples and end up as road rats. But alot of the undesirable driven to death cars are meeting that fateful end of life humiliation.  

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3 hours ago, Y-JobFan said:

I have yet to not make nice profits on any of the ones I have sold, and a couple were huge profits. 

 

If you would share your secret to being able to do that I'm sure most of the people on this forum would be most appreciative. I think most Reatta owners would be more than happy to just break even when they sell a Reatta. I know I would. :)

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I might be able to break even on the'vert but never on the Red or Black. It's hard to expect to even break even when one puts 170,000 miles on top of the 112,000 miles the Red had on when I bought it [now 285,000 miles]. And the Black I added 110,000 [now 305,000 miles] and mostly 8 winters so too rusty underneath.

 But I am still glad I bought them. They are fun to drive and for all the miles I drive pretty low maintenance.

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Posted (edited)

Know I have not been able to sell my nice #3 (Hagerty) '90 'vert for even $5-$6k. Choice of wheels (have 15, 16s, and 17s) , cold AC, replacement Hartz top, and Bluetooth. Just seems to be no market. Had the 88 sunroof  Coupe out the other day, had forgotten how nice it drives.

 

Of course how can I compete with this ? https://tampa.craigslist.org/hdo/cto/d/spring-hill-1990-buick-reatta/6878309054.html

Edited by padgett (see edit history)

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9 hours ago, Ronnie said:

 

If you would share your secret to being able to do that I'm sure most of the people on this forum would be most appreciative. I think most Reatta owners would be more than happy to just break even when they sell a Reatta. I know I would. :)

 

You start with the right car, buy it right, make sure it's a no excuse car, and then market it properly.  Most people throw up a few pics, don't present the cars well, and expect great things.  It's like any other thing in retail, it's all about marketing.  You can't expect great things out of average cars.

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4 hours ago, padgett said:

Know I have not been able to sell my nice #3 (Hagerty) '90 'vert for even $5-$6k. Choice of wheels (have 15, 16s, and 17s) , cold AC, replacement Hartz top, and Bluetooth. Just seems to be no market. Had the 88 sunroof  Coupe out the other day, had forgotten how nice it drives.

 

Of course how can I compete with this ? https://tampa.craigslist.org/hdo/cto/d/spring-hill-1990-buick-reatta/6878309054.html

 

Your car is nice and well sorted out,  but as you have shown there are lower mileage cars out there for similar money.    There are not many 1990 era cars that have any value or collector appeal, the Reatta is actually holding its own and hasn't totally tanked like many cars of that era.  When you think of decent but not pristine convertibles selling in the $5k range and pristine low mileage ones having sold for $20K or more you can't scoff at that

 

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Well I do not need to sell so guess I'll just keep it or swap for something interesting.

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 7:33 AM, Y-JobFan said:

I think collectors are buying and searching out low mileage convertibles as collector cars and maybe some low mileage coupes to a lesser degree.  Seems to be a bit of a surge in people searching out the rarer color combinations as well which also points to these cars being sought out for the collecting aspect.  Run of the mill cars are pretty much ignored and supply and demand also comes into play as there is no shortage of available run of the mill Reatta's.  An unfortunate turn of events is that Reatta's seem to have started to become popular with people that want to customize and modify them and turn them into something they are not.  

I would say with abundance - in a macro sense - of Reattas, go ahead and customize. A kid can get one cheap and have fun.  I was never an anti hot rodder - modifier.  Supply always exceeds demand it seems.   There have been many Reattas offered for sale with no takers.   Just my opinion.

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21 hours ago, Y-JobFan said:

 

You start with the right car, buy it right, make sure it's a no excuse car, and then market it properly.  Most people throw up a few pics, don't present the cars well, and expect great things.  It's like any other thing in retail, it's all about marketing.  You can't expect great things out of average cars.

Yes, Ronnie's advice helped me essentially break even on my Driftwood convertible.  It took a better presentation, less negativity and ebay instead of Craigs List.

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 8:22 AM, ol' yeller said:

I've had 3, all 1990's, 2 coupes and 1 convertible.  I don't have one now and I doubt I'll buy another.  The problem with the desirable cars, those with less than 100K miles, is that the economics don't pencil out.  Every one I have owned or considered had some issues due to age or miles.  Most needed struts, $1,000, all needed AC recharge (which means a complete R134A change and a new compressor, $1000+, and then add in other stuff like ABS issues, new tires, a windshield, or weatherstripping that is not available and you are well into a car over your head.  Then there is the issue that most folks don't understand what a unique car the Reatta is.  While some are willing to pony up to a slightly inflated purchase price, they find the car either impossible to sell to get their money back when they tire of it or they take a bath and sell at what the market will bear.  Even cars that are 1 of 1 because of a unique color combination or equipment don't get an added value because of this.  There are some that will eventually become collectibles (like 1991 convertibles or 1990 Select 60's) but even those will be a tough sell. 

 

Please understand that I love the Reattas and I was ecstatic when I bought each of mine.  Unfortunately they are just an interesting little car with a small cult like following.    

You make some very good arguments - statements here.  There is a S60 driver on the For Sale side that isn't selling. Normally in a unique marketplace like Reatta Forum, or Camaro Forum or whatever, the unique cars get snapped up pretty quickly.   A lot of regulars from this forum are gone, one of which is all it takes to buy. 

 

I'm not on Facebook, Marck's group, so don't know if they are having more enthusiasm for inter group swapping.  It used to be in the "old days" of a marque club like the BCA, swaps of important models never made the classifieds.  It was all member to member.  One thing about the Reatta's low prices, is we all have several (like Daves89) or we could have.  I don't consider my Driftwood convertible a huge loss, I have 2 more. 

 

No one wanted my 1988 very early car. I over paid for it to get it at $2500.  He had it on CL a long time and no one wanted it in Cincinnati.  If I get it restored, and correct, it won't be worth much either - and my 1991 is a 1 of 1 and no one wanted it. So you made good points there.  Maybe the separator is only low mileage?

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5 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

I would say with abundance - in a macro sense - of Reattas, go ahead and customize. A kid can get one cheap and have fun.  I was never an anti hot rodder - modifier.  Supply always exceeds demand it seems.   There have been many Reattas offered for sale with no takers.   Just my opinion.

 

 

 

a kid can keep one cheap?  Really?  Maybe if they run them with nothing working.  

 

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From what I’ve seen it is the low mile verts, and 91s that tend not to last too long on Craigslist and Facebook. And cars with weird color combos. Red/tan cars do appear to be lowest in value. I made a spreadsheet last year of all the 90s and 91s for sale east of the Mississippi when I was looking for my car just to get a good idea of what to pay for one. That was February to June 2018 and cars did move. 

 Marck’s group is alright. Lots of people trying to sell and asking the normal new to a reatta questions. Me and a few others direct people to search here. The guy with the 88 gauge problem a few posts up is one of them.  There does seem to be some inter group trades though. I don’t remember  anything too crazy passing through it. 

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