Junkyard Gem: 1990 Buick Reatta

Buick's sporty two-seater.

  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
General Motors built some interesting sporty cars during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the company attempted to claw back market share from European manufacturers of high-end two-doors. There was the mean-looking Oldsmobile Troféo, the Turin-to-Hamtramck Cadillac Allanté, and the gadget-packed Buick Reatta. Here's an example of the latter car, wearing Maui Blue paint and residing in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

There was a lot to like about the Reatta, but the powertrain came as a disappointment: the ancient, rough-running pushrod Buick 3.8-liter V6 engine, driving the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission.

The 3800 engine made 165 horses in 1990, which wasn't bad for that year, but Reatta money would have bought you a new 1990 BMW 3-Series with a tuneful 168-horse DOHC straight-six. The Buick V6 was something of an Albanian grain-thresher motor compared to the engines in the Reatta's European rivals' cars: rugged but crude.

The pre-1990 Reattas came with Buick's amazing touchscreen computer interface, which may have scared off the most conservative Buick traditionalists. This car had more typical-for-1990 controls.

Only 6,388 Reatta coupes were made for 1990, so we're looking at one rare Buick here.

Handcrafted by these artisans in Lansing.

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