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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's crazy to think that I have a son who will be driving age next year. What's even crazier is that when I joined GMI back in the first week of 2003, I didn't have a son or even a wife for, for that matter. Anyway, as is my tradition here, I submit to you the latest addition to our fleet and my son's first car: A super clean 1989 Buick Reatta. Might seem like an odd choice for an up-and-coming driver, but the wife and I had some criteria for our son's first car, mainly, it must be a GM vehicle, have no more than 2 seats, have decent performance, but not TOO much power, and have a manual transmission. This car checks all but that last box.

Anyway, this car was purchased from the second owner in Washington state and has 186,000 miles. It appears to have spent its life in the garage because the paint still looks shiny and new with none of the clearcoat fade that is so common with GM vehicles of this era. The interior is nearly perfect, save for a wear mark in the leather on the driver's seat. Passenger seat looks to have never been used. More amazingly, the touchscreen CRT works perfectly, as does the rest of the electrical. Only issues are an ABS light and moonroof doesn't open, though the motor spins when you actuate the switch. The 165 HP 3800 engine runs perfectly and the THM 440-T4 trans shifts smoothly, as it should.

All in all, I can't complain for $2600 and my son will have something no one else will in the high school parking lot!

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Congrats! I haven’t seen one of those in years…I always liked the old 3.8L V6. I’m amazed that old paint looks so good.
 

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That's quite the car to have for a first car :). Good luck with it and all. And it looks to be in pretty good shape too, that front passenger seat looks like it's rarely been used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's quite the car to have for a first car :). Good luck with it and all. And it looks to be in pretty good shape too, that front passenger seat looks like it's rarely been used.
Yup...It was literally a "little old lady from Seattle" that owned the car from 1992 to 2019. She was a widow from the mid-90's on, so the passenger seat probably held grocery bags, if that.
 
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Congrats! I haven’t seen one of those in years…I always liked the old 3.8L V6. I’m amazed that old paint looks so good.
Those ol' 3.8 V6s were great engines. Plenty of torque for a passenger car. I had one in an '85 Olds Delta 88.
 

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Awesome first car! Do you have any pictures of the dash and CRT?

Also, I just noticed your T/A in one of the pictures... I had an '85 and LOVED it. Your driveway looks like quite a fun place for conversation.
 

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Awesome first car! Do you have any pictures of the dash and CRT?

Also, I just noticed your T/A in one of the pictures... I had an '85 and LOVED it. Your driveway looks like quite a fun place for conversation.
Thanks!

That's my '87 GTA....60k mile car and all original. It's parked next my wife's '58 Apache.

I'll try to get some pictures of the dash tonight so I can post.
 
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Cool. Congratulations. I always had a thing for the GM two seaters…Fiero, Allante and this. The crt is great because I believe it was discontinued in later models. What does your son think of it? Is he a “car guy”?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cool. Congratulations. I always had a thing for the GM two seaters…Fiero, Allante and this. The crt is great because I believe it was discontinued in later models. What does your son think of it? Is he a “car guy”?
He loves it. He is a car guy and thinks it's pretty cool to have something from this era.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Awesome first car! Do you have any pictures of the dash and CRT?

Also, I just noticed your T/A in one of the pictures... I had an '85 and LOVED it. Your driveway looks like quite a fun place for conversation.
Here ya go!
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
WOW just WOW... what a time capsule. The vintage electronic display is so awesome and the CRT is a huge cherry on top. If I remember right, doesn't that tape player door pop out to receive cassettes? How on earth did you come across this for just $2,600? What a cool post, thank you for sharing.
Yes...There's actually a touchscreen button that opens the tape player door...no other way to do it!

These cars have not yet begun to appreciate, and their reputation for electrical gremlins probably scares a lot of people away. Make no mistake, the technology in this car is wayyyy ahead of its time. I mean, you can read ECM and PCM diagnostic codes from CRT, and it will even tell you if the A/C is low on refrigerant. The one big downside to the design is that there are no manual auxiliary controls, so if the CRT fails, like they often did, you can't do anything with the HVAC, radio, or gauges. Fortunately, there are now plenty of sources to get these services if they fail, so it's ownership is not quite the risk that it was.
 

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It's crazy to think that I have a son who will be driving age next year. What's even crazier is that when I joined GMI back in the first week of 2003, I didn't have a son or even a wife for, for that matter.
Haha! Same here! Time sure moves along quickly. However, I still have a few more years before my boys are driving.

Anyway, as is my tradition here, I submit to you the latest addition to our fleet and my son's first car: A super clean 1989 Buick Reatta. Might seem like an odd choice for an up-and-coming driver, but the wife and I had some criteria for our son's first car, mainly, it must be a GM vehicle, have no more than 2 seats, have decent performance, but not TOO much power, and have a manual transmission. This car checks all but that last box.

Anyway, this car was purchased from the second owner in Washington state and has 186,000 miles. It appears to have spent its life in the garage because the paint still looks shiny and new with none of the clearcoat fade that is so common with GM vehicles of this era. The interior is nearly perfect, save for a wear mark in the leather on the driver's seat. Passenger seat looks to have never been used. More amazingly, the touchscreen CRT works perfectly, as does the rest of the electrical. Only issues are an ABS light and moonroof doesn't open, though the motor spins when you actuate the switch. The 165 HP 3800 engine runs perfectly and the THM 440-T4 trans shifts smoothly, as it should.

All in all, I can't complain for $2600 and my son will have something no one else will in the high school parking lot!
That Reatta looks great! Congrats to your son and hope he has many fun and trouble free miles ahead!
 
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