Last post on Jun 07, 2011 at 6:30 PM
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Buick Reatta, Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible
#55 of 108 Re: The Lost Reatta (tinker8r) [hpmctorque]
Jan 13, 2008 (7:18 am)
I think the Reatta might have sparked more interest back in the day, if they had offered a convertible version of it right from the get-go. And a stronger engine might have given it more of a premium, upscale feel. I have a feeling the 231 turbo that Buick had used in the Grand National might have been too brutal for this FWD platform at the time, but it really needed more than the 150-165 hp it was putting out. Reattas were HEAVY, too. Despite their small size, they weighed more than the FWD LeSabres and Electras of the time.
Now in later years, GM was able to supercharge the 231 and use it in FWD platforms, but I have a feeling these cars were much more beefed up than the 1986-era E-body (Toro/Eldo/Riv) upon which the Reatta was based.
Buick's demographic was starting to shift in the later 80's, as well. Buick had once been looked upon as an upper medium price brand, which in modern terminology, I believe they call "Near Luxury". Buick once was the Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, etc, of its day. Earlier in the 80's, there was a definite market for the pricier Buicks. Rivieras and Electras were popular, and the more expensive LeSabre Limited tended to outsell the cheaper Custom by a wide margin. In later years though, Buick made more of its volume off of smaller, cheaper cars like the FWD Century, Somerset Regal/Skylark, cheaper versions of the LeSabre, etc. The Electra saw a few good years at first, after it went FWD, mainly because the economy was coming out of a recession, which kept sales of the earlier RWD models lower than they normally would have been. But it fell from grace pretty quickly. And Buick really shot themselves in the foot with the 1986 Riviera. Sales fell from about 65,000 of the 1985 models, down to a paltry 22K for the shrunken 1986 models. Similarly, the FWD Regal never took off in quite the way that the RWD model had. It had a few upward years at first, probably because the RWD model had just gotten long in the tooth and buyers were looking elsewhere. But the trends were pretty obvious, that Buick was moving downscale. Truthfully, it had been doing so since perhaps the late 50's, when platform sharing became more pronounced, but it seemed to accelerate in the 80's.
The Reatta was also pretty expensive, for what you got. The 1990-91 convertible stickered for around $35-36K. In contrast, a Corvette convertible, which had the heritage and power to give it some prestige, didn't sticker for much more..$37-38K.
Jan 13, 2008 (10:47 am)
Was the touch screen digital dash they used.
These caused troubles when they were new and if one of them went bad now, it would probably condemm the car.
Where would you ever find another one?
#57 of 108 Re: One big problem [isellhondas]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 13, 2008 (10:51 am)
I think on the whole the interiors on the Reatta and Allante disappointed buyers as they looked too cheap for the price of the car.
The digital dash on the Reatta got pretty temperamental in cold weather, too.
#58 of 108 Re: One big problem [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 13, 2008 (11:01 am)
There was a big "gee whiz" factor with those nifty (at the time) digital touch screen dashes but I remember the mechanics at the Buick dealers just hated them. They are primitive as can be now.
I remember, hearing in the late 80's that to replace that big dash unit cost someting like 2600.00 plus labor!
I don't know if that was accurate but today, I doubt if you could find one at any price.
#59 of 108 Re: One big problem [isellhondas]
Jan 13, 2008 (11:02 am)
Didn't the Reatta use the same dashboard, and touchscreen, as the Riviera? I'd always heard these were troubleprone on the Riv, too. I guess it was a good idea in theory, but just too far ahead of its time. The technology just wasn't there yet. But then, I wonder how long-term durable touch-screen type stuff is today? Things like Iphones and such.
#60 of 108 Re: One big problem [andre1969]
Jan 13, 2008 (11:10 am)
Yes, they were available in the Rivieras of that era but I think as an option and not standard like the Reattas.
Everything was controlled through that screen. Climate control, radio etc. They would tell you things like if your AC freon was low etc.
Kind of nifty, actually but troublesome and not very practical.
The early Allantes were nothing but trouble and the Cadillac dealers REALLY hated working on them!
#61 of 108 Re: One big problem [andre1969]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 13, 2008 (11:48 am)
I know folks like these cars and I'm glad they do....but if you sit in one, you do get the sense of them being an arrow that missed its target. GM was really out of touch with the market, the world and people's desires.
#62 of 108 Re: One big problem [Mr_Shiftright]
Jan 13, 2008 (12:25 pm)
This wasn't the first time GM missed the mark.
Those Reattas were VERY expensive as I recall.
A question for my buddy Mr. Shifty.
HOW in the world do you monitor all of these boards? Is it a 24 hr 7 day a week job for you?
You can answer that in a private email if you wish. I'm just curious.
#63 of 108 Re: One big problem [isellhondas]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jan 13, 2008 (12:29 pm)
A lotta buck, not too much bang.
Sep 21, 2008 (3:48 pm)
I'm wondering whether Buick could have saved the Reatta by offering a performance version.
I don't know for sure, but I imagine one of the objectives of the Buick Reatta was to pull younger people into the showroom, but it failed to do that. I think the Reatta was nicely styled for its day, but its driving dynamics weren't sporty enough. As an expensive premium model, it wouldn't have had to target the below 30 crowd, other than as an aspirational. "one day I want to own one" sort of way. However, it certainly would have had to appeal to the upwardly mobile late-30s and older crowd, instead of only (with few exceptions) the 55+ motorists.
Suppose the Reatta had offered a supercharged or turbocharged version, with a tight suspension and a 5-speed manual, a Reatta "Grand National" or "GNX", in addition to the regular version. Could that have saved the Reatta?
In mesage #13 british rover wrote the following:
"Well the Reatta was deal by the time the Series II 3800 engines came out and those were the first Supercharged 3800s. They never did a series 1 Supercharged 3800.
You can't even put a supercharger from a supercharged 3800 onto a NA 3800. Everything about the engine is different. THe SC 3800 motors used completly different heads."
That doesn't really explain why Buick couldn't have made the necessary modifications to offer a supercharged or turbocharged version. Money wasn't nearly as tight then as it is now.