Junkyard Find: 1990 Buick Reatta

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1990 buick reatta
The Buick Reatta is one of the more interesting attempts made by The General to steal back some North American buyers who had defected to European luxury brands. For a while, I’d photograph every junked Reatta I found, but more and more kept showing up in big self-service wrecking yards and I stopped paying attention for a while.Only about 20,000 Reattas were made, but the last 10 years have seen Full Depreciation for these cars. Still, I hadn’t done a Reatta Junkyard Find since 2012, and I spotted this shiny-looking ’90 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple of weeks back, so here we go!
The E-Body Riviera served as the basis for the Reatta, which meant that this supposed Mercedes-Benz 560SL-killer got its power from a primitive pushrod V6 engine. Shifting was slushbox-only, of course.
The Electronic Control Center went away after 1990, but the ’90 model came with a futuristic-looking digital instrument cluster.
Like many GM cars of this era, this Reatta had a broken hood latch, and I wasn’t willing to tear up all my knuckles trying to pry the hood open for engine-compartment photos. If you must see an early-90s Buick 3800 V6, you can look at this car.
The Reatta’s radical styling and two seats scared away the increasingly elderly “traditional” Buick buyers, and the younger crowd preferred the R107 Benz (which outsold the hell out of the Reatta in the United States). The same sort of thing happened with the Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo.
Handcrafted luxury for two.
If you like these junkyard posts, you can reach all 1600+ right here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand!
Join the conversation
3 of 58 comments
  • Garak Garak on Mar 26, 2019

    Slow, ugly, impractical, leaf-sprung front-driver, what a truly epic halo car.

  • Hifi Hifi on Mar 31, 2019

    Seeing this sitting next to an Aveo, which is over 20 years newer than the Reatta, it's clear that GM has not evolved since the 1980s. In fact, GM has regressed.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 31, 2019

      hifi, Here are the vehicles GM cares about/makes an effort on (US market): - Fullsize utilities - Corvette - Fullsize pickups, sort of Now even judging them on just those products, they still aren't evolving very quickly.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.