While there is much information available on the Reatta throughout the internet, as an owner of many, allow me to offer my short introduction and summary of the car.
The Buick Reatta is a hand built, luxurious sport coupe and convertible made at the Lansing Craft Centre in Lansing, Michigan. The Reatta was the first car Buick produced as a two-seater since the 1940 Buick Model 46. As the car was based on a shortened version of General Motor’s E body platform (shared with the Oldsmobile Toronado, Cadillac Eldorado and of course the Buick Riviera, it also shares many mechanical, interior and electronic components with its distant cousins.
The assembly of the Reatta was concentrated on the attention to details. Each car during its production run was not produced on a conventional assembly line as we know it. Each car was hand-crafted at assembly stations without time constraints. Each station would concentrate on a specific portion of the car and when complete, the car was moved to the next station. Even the painting of the Reatta was done at the Lansing Craft Centre (and not shipped to an off-site location) by PPG personnel who worked at the facility.
From 1988-1989, only coupes were produced. Beginning in 1990, a convertible was added to the line-up (the conception of the Reatta included a convertible model). The car was rated at 18 MPG city/27 MPG highway and used nearly the same suspension as the Buick Riviera and also used the same ABS and very reliable 3800 V-6 engine (also found in many Oldsmobile’s of the era).
During 1988-1989, the Reatta coupe came with only two options: A sunroof and 16-way power seats with lumbar and thigh support. These models also came equipped with an ECC (Electronic Control Center). This touch screen unit controlled not only the radio and climate control functions, but provided access to high level diagnostics for the car’s electrical and mechanical system and various sensors.
As mentioned, 1990 introduced the convertible to the Reatta line up in addition to a new instrument panel and steering wheel, which included a standard driver’s side airbag. The options for 1990-1991 models remained a sunroof and 16 way power seats, in addition to an optional CD player. While 1988-1989 models are considered the touch screen models, 1990-1991 became the push button models. The ECC was accessible through the climate control unit and instrument panel.
For the entire 3 year production run from 1988-1991, 21,751 Reattas were produced, of which only 2,437 were convertibles. While the Reattas continue to increase in value, those that are most desired are the 1990-1991 coupes and convertibles (due to their limited run). Yet many prefer the 1988-1989 models because of the touch screen ECC. But no matter the model year, every Reatta owner is comforted knowing the nearly bullet-proof 3800 V-6 is as reliable as any engine ever produced.