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Still a beautiful design.

I had one from 1998-2003. Sold it with 144K on it and it still ran perfectly. It got ripped for not having a lot of power, and yeah, another 50HP would have been nice. But it was adequate. The car handles better than people gave it credit for.

A very nice car to live with. I had a 1990 and the touch screen was gone by then. It still had a very nice digital dash, electronic HVAC. But I wish I had the CRT like this one. I just recently watched a review of the CRT and damn if it wasn't really impressive for 1989. Reviewers hated it, but that thing was well ahead of its time.

Funny how that thing was shredded by reviewed in 1989, yet it really isn't much different than touch screens today. It was criticized for being hard to read in bright sun, having to take your eyes off the road to use it, no tactile feel when reaching for a button. All factors that could be said about many current cars.
 
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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.

At that age, the CRT could fail. But I'd bet you'll be okay.

My '88 Trans Am GTA has a digital dash. Nothing so complex as the CRT here. Pontiac only offered it for 1987-1988 (with a very small number of pre-1987s units). It sold about 5,000 units each year, so it was a fairly popular option. I don't know why they discontinued it, but I suspect it was probably due to a high failure rate at or shortly after delivery. But it seems like if you got one that was well built out of the factory - and my '88 apparently has one - then it's quite reliable. Most feedback I've seen from other GTA owners suggests this.
 

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"No more than 2 seats" narrowed down the choices considerably. Allante, Fiero, Corvette, Reatta, SKY, Solstice. Kid couldn't lose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Why only 2 seats? Why only a certain amount of power? Oh and what's with the wife's input
2 seats = fewer distractions by not being able to pile a bunch of teenagers in the car. Decent power means not a dangerously slow car, but not too fast where he can get into trouble with it. And my wife and I made this decision jointly.
 

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At that age, the CRT could fail. But I'd bet you'll be okay.

My '88 Trans Am GTA has a digital dash. Nothing so complex as the CRT here. Pontiac only offered it for 1987-1988 (with a very small number of pre-1987s units). It sold about 5,000 units each year, so it was a fairly popular option. I don't know why they discontinued it, but I suspect it was probably due to a high failure rate at or shortly after delivery. But it seems like if you got one that was well built out of the factory - and my '88 apparently has one - then it's quite reliable. Most feedback I've seen from other GTA owners suggests this.
Yup...My parents bought a brand new '88 GTA in November of 1987 with the digital instruments. The entire dash failed in the first year and my dad, who worked for BOP at the time, fixed it in our garage. Apparently, a harness got pinched during assembly, wore through a wire and shorted out. Such was GM quality in that era!

Anyway, the Reatta's CRT has good support today, so when it does inevitably fail, we should be able to get it fully refurbished for $300 - $400.
 

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I always like the way GM had the rear tire sort of behind the C pillar in that era, was a unique GM look and the Reatta was one of the cars it was most pronounced on. One of the best looking cars from the era and absolutely nothing you'd ever mistake it with.

I know you said it is turnkey, but do you need to do anything with it, like replace shocks, etc that may have deteriorated with time? Or is everything up to spec?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I always like the way GM had the rear tire sort of behind the C pillar in that era, was a unique GM look and the Reatta was one of the cars it was most pronounced on. One of the best looking cars from the era and absolutely nothing you'd ever mistake it with.

I know you said it is turnkey, but do you need to do anything with it, like replace shocks, etc that may have deteriorated with time? Or is everything up to spec?
It's got the usual 3800 oil weeping from the intake and pan, which needs to be addressed. Headliner is also sagging at the sides, so it will need a trip to the upholstery shop. to get one made. Other than that and the aforementioned A/C & moonroof issues, it's solid.
 
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At that age, the CRT could fail. But I'd bet you'll be okay.

My '88 Trans Am GTA has a digital dash. Nothing so complex as the CRT here. Pontiac only offered it for 1987-1988 (with a very small number of pre-1987s units). It sold about 5,000 units each year, so it was a fairly popular option. I don't know why they discontinued it, but I suspect it was probably due to a high failure rate at or shortly after delivery. But it seems like if you got one that was well built out of the factory - and my '88 apparently has one - then it's quite reliable. Most feedback I've seen from other GTA owners suggests this.
Didn't the auto mags rip apart the digital dashes? My dad had a Buick Sommerset with digital dash, I loved the dash and remembered being puzzled by complaints about them. I was a teen at the time, so glitz was more important than functionality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Didn't the auto mags rip apart the digital dashes? My dad had a Buick Sommerset with digital dash, I loved the dash and remembered being puzzled by complaints about them. I was a teen at the time, so glitz was more important than functionality.
Yeah, the mags were definitely in the camp of not liking digital instruments. I thought the GTA had a very legible setup and was easy to read at a glance. The Reatta is simple, too, though it's weird having to look at the CRT for the tach, temp, etc. I personally like a digital speedo but analog for everything else. Fortunately our Acadia is configurable in this way!
 
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Didn't the auto mags rip apart the digital dashes? My dad had a Buick Sommerset with digital dash, I loved the dash and remembered being puzzled by complaints about them. I was a teen at the time, so glitz was more important than functionality.

Auto mags always hated digitals with a passion. I think on principal alone, they were opposed to anything but needles pointing at numbers. I think they were just living in the past.

The digital dash that replaced the CRT in the 1990 Reatta was actually really nice. Digital speedo, graphs for tach, fuel, temp. Simple, easy-to-read. Somewhat configurable too, you could shut off some displays.

As Roger Smith said of the Reatta CRT: "If the Japanese had done it first, they'd [car magazine} have loved it." I only saw a full review of the Reatta CRT recently in one of those retro car reviews, and it really is impressive.

The GTA digital dash is nothing spectacular, just provides the basic information. People who see it love it though. To be honest, I think the standard Trans Am instruments with the four big round gauge pods backlit in orange were the better instruments. But I like the digital for the rarity and as an '80s museum piece. It actually is easy to read, most of it (except for the odometer) is actually easier to read as the sun gets brighter.
 

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Auto mags always hated digitals with a passion. I think on principal alone, they were opposed to anything but needles pointing at numbers. I think they were just living in the past.

The digital dash that replaced the CRT in the 1990 Reatta was actually really nice. Digital speedo, graphs for tach, fuel, temp. Simple, easy-to-read. Somewhat configurable too, you could shut off some displays.

As Roger Smith said of the Reatta CRT: "If the Japanese had done it first, they'd [car magazine} have loved it." I only saw a full review of the Reatta CRT recently in one of those retro car reviews, and it really is impressive.

The GTA digital dash is nothing spectacular, just provides the basic information. People who see it love it though. To be honest, I think the standard Trans Am instruments with the four big round gauge pods backlit in orange were the better instruments. But I like the digital for the rarity and as an '80s museum piece. It actually is easy to read, most of it (except for the odometer) is actually easier to read as the sun gets brighter.
Probably right, especially back in the 80's/90's, if the Japanese brought us the CRT it would've been hailed as the breakthrough of the century. Amazing what GM did with CRT all those years ago - way ahead of the game!

I recall Dad's Sommerset dash being easy to read and use. Though it did go up in smoke, Dad had let my sister drive it, the screen went blank and the interior filled up with smoke while she was driving... My sister has always had the worst luck with cars :D
 

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Yeah, the mags were definitely in the camp of not liking digital instruments. I thought the GTA had a very legible setup and was easy to read at a glance. The Reatta is simple, too, though it's weird having to look at the CRT for the tach, temp, etc. I personally like a digital speedo but analog for everything else. Fortunately our Acadia is configurable in this way!
Funny you say that. My CT4-V is the first year with a analog speedo and tach with a full digital screen nestled in between. I like that a lot better than the full digital dash in my wife's new Volvo. I need to see GM's full digital dash on the 2021's to see what I think. While I don't like the Volvo's all digital as much, it might be apples vs. oranges to Cadillac's all digital.
 

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Congrats, vanshmack on your son's new wheels. One of a kind fershur.
I always like the 3.8, those were great motors that gave excellent MPG. I test drove a circa-2001 LeSabre that had 100,000 on it. Felt new. I reset the MPG, drove it over to Spokane and back and got 30MPG+ showing.
 

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Congrats, vanshmack on your son's new wheels. One of a kind fershur.
I always like the 3.8, those were great motors that gave excellent MPG. I test drove a circa-2001 LeSabre that had 100,000 on it. Felt new. I reset the MPG, drove it over to Spokane and back and got 30MPG+ showing.

Was a great engine.

I had an '02 Monte Carlo SS. Was driving to Cooperstown, NY in 2004 and had been on the road for quite a while. Noticed my gas gauge was still well over 1/2 a tank and thought it couldn't possibly be right. I tried banging on the dash, it didn't move, and I figured it was broken. Pulled over for gas, not knowing how much I needed. It wasn't broken. I was getting almost 39 mpg.
 
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Congrats, vanshmack on your son's new wheels. One of a kind fershur.
I always like the 3.8, those were great motors that gave excellent MPG. I test drove a circa-2001 LeSabre that had 100,000 on it. Felt new. I reset the MPG, drove it over to Spokane and back and got 30MPG+ showing.
Yup, and again being in the era for $4.00 gas, decent mileage is a consideration. Performance-wise, the 3800 has enough torque to be fun without really being fast. 🤣
 

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Ahem. No nonsense in the back seat, or in the front

There is a nice shelf back there, Great spot for a dog to lay. It was a great dog car.
 

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Yup, and again being in the era for $4.00 gas, decent mileage is a consideration. Performance-wise, the 3800 has enough torque to be fun without really being fast. 🤣
I miss torque. My Soul has no measurable torque. 118 ft-lb @ 4800 is not what I consider torque. Just keep that little mill on the boil if you want to go anywhere. As it is, I pull away from almost everyone at lights and in traffic. Keep foot in it.

When I drive my wife's PT, 162 @ 4000, it's like driving a monster truck in comparison. Well, I never drove a monster truck.
The 3.8 had very useful pleasant torque. As God intended cars to have.

There is a nice shelf back there, Great spot for a dog to lay. It was a great dog car.
My previous Soul had a shelf like that in back. When we moved 2000 miles east, one of our cats, Bizzie, sat there almost the entire trip. She kept playing Dylan's


as she watched the highway flow.
 
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I’m amazed that old paint looks so good.
Especially blue! Blue GM paint from that era didn't stay stuck on the car so good.

Ahem. No nonsense in the back seat, or in the front
Where there's a will there's a way. Ask me how I know this.
Then again, the mods will surely censor my reply, if there are mods.
 
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