Monday, November 14, 2016

Seldom Seen, Buick Reatta

Buick Reatta 1988-1991. Could have been a classic but the quality control was terrible. They were unreliable money pits. Any over five years old were nearly sale proof. Other than Credit Unions, few lenders would touch them.

GM earned their decent into bankruptcy. Take the Pontiac Fiero. 1984-1988. Fun cars, utterly unreliable with a reputation for catching fire. The 2nd generation with a V-6 was a great car but too late to undo the damage of the money pits before it. Same money bought you a Toyota MR-2. Great car but my rotund body couldn't slide past the side bolsters.

You can have great engineers and great designers but lose your customers by seeing how damn cheap you can build them. Dodge Intrepid comes to mind.
In 1993 it was miles ahead of the competition. However, the rear seat was terrible. Blasts of cold air coming from the door handle area just right to hit the legs of a child in a car seat. So much noise coming in from the trunk the rear seat passengers couldn't hear the front seat passengers talking. 

Ford? Using cheap plastic parts in their automatic transmissions which failed around 60,000 miles.

Still, it made me smile today in Scottsbluff to see that older car carefully maintained and still going.


  1. One of the car magazines, I think it was Road & Track, once asked a Porsche engineer why their engineers were so much "better" than GM's engineers.

    He looked at them and said GM had many excellent engineers, as good as Porsche has, but Porsche simply "tells us to do different things".

    1. As a used car manager, I wholesaled all European trade ins except Volkswagens. I only kept VWs because they sold well. Getting European cars front line ready and then keeping them running until we could get them sold was expensive. Many of my salespeople resented this. Oh well, there is always Down The Road Motors looking for salespeople.

      The store's bottom line (and my compensation) was much healthier swapping out the Mercedes/Audi/Volvo/BMW stuff to other dealers who lusted after them for US or Asian vehicles back of book that we could get good financing calls from the banks.

      VW? Just as expensive as the rest so we only kept the choice stuff. Noticed I didn't mention British? Worst of the worse.

  2. Yeah, I've worked on way too many English cars. Most of them could be leased to the county as road oilers!

    When you're in business, you do what's best to maximize your profit, even if it includes alienating some employees.

  3. I'm amazed to see one still running!

    1. Probably the result of money and perseverance. Not something I would do.