Sedans & Coupes

The Reatta Is The Coolest Affordable Buick You Forgot About

More often then not cars get forgotten with time, especially if they aren’t anything extraordinary or collectible. Once in a while, a cool car will slip through the cracks, only to be remembered by the niche collectors and fans. This is the case for the Buick Reatta, a small coupe from the 1980s that was truly a memorable car. So that begs the question: if the Reatta had so much going for it, why does everyone seem to forget that it ever existed?

The forgotten Buick

Buick as a brand seems to be as underrated as ever, with their newer vehicles like the Enclave being underrated in just about every way simply because of the badging. Even by today’s standards, the Reatta is a pretty spectacular looking car, with a long good, speak body lines, and iconic pop-up headlights, this car looks like something worthy of being featured in a movie.

1990 Buick Reatta Convertible
Red 1990 Buick Reatta Convertible | Bringatrailer.com

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The sports car status for the Reatta is debatable as it lacked a lot of performance, and really the ability to be a well-performing car. It was only offered with front-wheel drive and possessed a meek four gear manual transmission that wasn’t capable of harnessing what little power the engine produced. What the car lacked in performance it made up for in technology that was well before it’s time.

A car before it’s time

With just 170hp this car wouldn’t be out to kill any supercars of the time, but that wasn’t Buick’s intentions anyways. The Reatta was the halo car designed to showcase the future of Buick’s technology, and it is what makes this car so incredibly cool. Sure, by modern day standards we’ve come to expect a lot of technology and advanced safety features, but in the 1980s and 1990s it wasn’t uncommon to find cars with crank-windows and cassette platers.

The car was equipped with a touch-screen infotainment system from the factory. That’s right, you could get a 1980s car with a touch screen, which is something that has only become standard in cars within the past few decades. The screen controls the radio settings, can provide information about the car, and even held all of the climate controls.

Interior of a convertible 1990 Buick Reatta
1990 Buick Reatta Interior | Mecum

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The screen also showed information about the car’s engine, like your speed, oil temperature, and anything you’d really expect to see on your dashboard in any other car. You could even set schedule reminders like an old electronic agenda from 1992. These were all designed to be cool, futuristic features that made the car desirable, but most of them weren’t as useful as intended.

The Buick Reatta was considered a failure in terms of sales figure and the manufacturer inevitably cut them from production. The coupe versions are pretty uncommon, and the convertibles even rarer yet, but if you aren’t looking for a high-performance classic car there is still a lot to be said about the Reatta’s beautiful styling inside and out.