Buick Reatta

The Buick Reatta was a sport coupe designed by GM which was powered by a 3.8 liter V6. It was the first car Buick advertised as a two-seater since the 1940 Buick model 46. It was a handmade luxury sports coupe produced at the Lansing Craft Centre in Lansing, Michigan and sold by the Buick division of American automaker General Motors from early 1988 to 1991. Like the Cadillac Allanté, it was based on a shortened version of the GM E platform used by the Cadillac Eldorado, Oldsmobile Toronado and particularly the Buick Riviera, with which it shared many mechanical parts, advanced electronics, and interior furnishings. While a sport compact car, it was only offered with an automatic transmission. It was also Buick's only sports car at the time.

The Reatta sported its own unique body style and was crafted with an attention to hand finishing uncommon for a mass-produced automobile. The assembly was performed at a small series of craft stations - each with a specialized team of workers, rather than a conventional assembly line. After a team had completed their portion of the assembly, the car would be moved by robots to the next station in the series. All of the paintwork was subcontracted to PPG Industries personnel - who performed the work on site.

Initially offered for 1988 as a hardtop coupe, a convertible version was added for 1990. The Reatta used GM's ubiquitous transverse "Buick 3800" V6 with 165–170 hp and 210–220 lb·ft of torque with the highest output in the last year of production. The car sported a fully independent suspension, 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS, and front wheel drive. Top speed was electronically limited to 125 mph. The Reatta was rated at 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The Reatta was conceived during a period in the early to mid-1980s when Buick was marketing higher performance editions of its vehicles (such as the turbocharged Buick GNX). However, midway through the development of the Reatta, GM decided to refocus the brand on a more traditional and mature image that was thought to be more in keeping with its core older buyer demographics. The resulting vehicle had a shape that carried performance car styling cues but provided little in the way of actual high performance. The lack of Buick's turbocharging is often blamed on the fact that GM, at the time, didn't have a suitable Hydra-Matic transaxle that could withstand the extra power.

The Reatta was intended as a halo car for Buick, but sales, originally planned to be around 20,000 units a year, were extremely disappointing and GM announced the end of Reatta production in early 1991.

Source: Wikipedia

Gallery: Buick Reatta