One of the last truly great (non-crossover) Buicks.
A lot of readers may be too young to remember the Buick Reatta, sold as both a coupe and convertible. Launched for the 1988 model year, the Reatta was special for several reasons, like its transverse engine design and specialized assembly process. Production took place in Lansing, Michigan through the 1991 model year. Today, the brand builds only crossovers like the Envision, but this wasn't always the case.
Buick claims it built around 21,000 mostly hand-built examples of its halo model yearly but, unfortunately, we're beginning to see fewer of them on the road today. Thirty-plus years is a long time for a vehicle to be out of production. The convertible didn't arrive until the 1990 model year, making it even rarer than the hardtop. Both body styles were powered by GM's Buick 3800 V6, a 3.8-liter unit generating 170 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. Power went to the front wheels only through a four-speed automatic transmission.
Buick didn't create an all-new platform just for the Reatta but rather utilized the existing E architecture, which also underpinned, among others, the Reatta's direct predecessor, the Riviera. Other notable features included an independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS (which was still fairly new at the time), and pop-up headlights. It was the only Buick to still have this design trait at the time.
Inside, the Reatta was years ahead of its time. Not only did it come standard with 16-way power seats, but also a touchscreen that Buick called the Electronic Control Center. Like present-day touchscreens, this one contained radio and climate control functions, a trip computer, and a vehicle diagnostic system. Unfortunately, the touchscreen was eliminated after the first model year. GM replaced it with regular push-button controls but systems like the trip computer and diagnostics were gone.
Also in 1990, Buick gave the Reatta a driver's side airbag and an available CD player. The following year saw further improvements like a new 3.8-liter V6 and gearbox, redesigned wheels, and even an armrest-mounted cup holder. The convertible was delayed coming to market due to design issues. It came with a manually-operated top covered in vinyl or cloth, and a glass rear window as opposed to plastic. The Reatta convertible was Buick's last convertible until 2016 when the now-discontinued Cascada debuted. There's no question the Reatta has earned collector's car status and the convertible is even more desirable.
This lightly modified 1991 Reatta convertible is currently up for auction on Cars and Bids with just 85,300 miles on its odometer. The only modifications are a Power Acoustik folding touchscreen, Bluetooth microphone, and a rearview camera. As of this writing, the highest bid has hit $5,950 and the auction ends on February 9.