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1988 Reatta Number 196

B Jake Moran

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I rarely post Reattas for sale over here where hopefully they will get more exposure.  This one needs to be purchased by a BCA member or Buick fan. It is located in Minneapolis St Paul area.   We all know Reattas are a collector car bargain right now and they are not everyone's 'cup of tea', but seldom do we see very early 1988 cars for sale.  As some collectors do gravitate toward special editions or early or last of cars, this one is a golden opportunity.   Forget the $2750 asking price, as one who has tried to sell a couple of Reatta coupes and lost thousands, I can tell you there is little interest in these from possible new Craigs List collector-buyers. 


The pool of potential buyers is very limited, not even many BCA members.  Like most BCA collectors of Reattas, we all have a stash of these cars because of their low cost.  I really don't want to buy another one despite the low cost of Reattas because even a Reatta takes up space!  But if you can spare some space, you would be getting a very rare early Reatta.


For those not aware of Reatta numbers and their importance, here is a quick refresh.  Reattas started being built in September 1987 (Barney, I may be off by a month or two) and were sequentially assigned a VIN with the last 6 being 900 - - - .  I own 900105 for example.   Many of the Reattas from 900001 to about 900070 were scrapped, used for experimental work.  So that means true cars being sold to the public did not start until around 900070 and no cars have been located older than mine yet, although Barney Eaton has evidence that they may be out there. 


They made a bit over 4000 1988 Reattas. (Again, I am typing quick and not fact checking) .  The "early" cars included suede seat bolsters.  Many of which wore out quickly and were replaced with smooth leather.  About 1100 in, Buick made 60 or so - so called Select 60's in Black and Tan leather, and I believe 16 way seats.  I owned one of these, which was sold for $700!   These Select 60's are sort of the watershed point in production where any cars before those numbers, which was approximately 901070, are considered "early" cars and can be more collectible, especially in another 20 years.  (Not too much more in value wise, but more collectible)


Now, consider this car.  Number 196 here is also in rare company as I and others have seen very few of the 100-200 production cars.  Most "early" cars are in the 500 to 1000 of production range.  Add to this, that this car has the original suede bolstered seats, showing wear but presentable, and a decent driver interior and "only" 123,000 miles, then this gives a new owner a driver they can enjoy now while chipping away at visuals.   Owning #196 would put you in rare company in the club as there is no evidence of another 100-200 production car in the club or known to be out there. 


Reattas do get a bit ubiquitous.  They came in many exterior colors and interior colors but for the most part, Buick stayed conservative and produced a lot of these Bright Red (name of the color) Tan cars in all years, lots of whites, black that sort of thing.  Therefore, it is fun for me to try and play the numbers game and find these unique cars, as it is for some other Reatta collectors but not nearly enough.  Last year a rare 1988 color combination out of Michigan, a 1 of 7 car - was not purchased by a BCA collector and fell off the grid again after being noticed by a forum member, a $1000 coupe!


Barney Eaton keeps a database of all Reattas.  There is no prior record for #196.  This is part of the fun of tracking these cars, is finding one that is out there, that previously was dead silent.    I am trying to get the message out to buy this car for $2000 or so.  Otherwise, I can see this seller, whom I have spoken with, trading it in on some used car lot for $500 for a beater SUV, and then the car is off the grid again, maybe forever. 


There is a lot of Reatta help on the forum and in the club.  Restoration costs are much less then the "chrome" era of Buicks, where an entire bill for new chrome could cover the cost of a Reatta restoration.  Please consider buying #196.   Thank you.



Edited by B Jake Moran (see edit history)
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