U.S. Markets closed

Junkyard Gem: 1990 Buick Reatta

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.

Related Video: