The 1990 Buick Reatta brought a much-improved instrument panel, with electronic analog gauges replacing the CRT, and the long-awaited convertible, which had been previewed along with the production coupe at the 1988 Detroit show.
Because the E-car had not been designed to have its top removed, it had taken nearly two additional years to engineer more strength into the open-air Reatta's structure.
The ragtop Reatta drew media raves for its beauty and character, but not for its somewhat shaky body or its manual top, a complex design that narrowed in width as it dropped into a well under a hard tonneau cover. Other changes included the addition of an auxiliary power-steering cooler and a driver-side airbag.
This was Reatta's biggest production year with 8,515 (2,132 of them convertibles) assembled by the Craft Centre teams, but Buick's upscale two-seater was proving a difficult sell in a soft market unkind to impractical image cars in general.
Clark commissioned a special task force to "rethink the way we were marketing, advertising, and promoting Reatta. How do we focus on the target market differently? How do we tell a story that's compelling enough to bring people in to test drive and hopefully buy the car?"
It didn't help that the car was a major money-loser given its high cost, low volume, and dedicated plant despite another price increase to $ 28,335 for the coupe, and a whopping $ 34,995 introductory price for the convertible.