The Buick Reatta has it’s own special charm
Most car enthusiasts we meet are usually older, with lots of life experience under their belts and a wealth of knowledge from having been around many of those cars growing up. But David Murphy, Service Client Manager at MacMaster Buick GMC, breaks that mould and proves that when it comes to cars, age isn’t always a factor in knowledge and passion.
At 23, David is one of the younger members of the MacMaster team, and as one of his colleagues said, knows more about cars, especially Buicks, than most. What stirred this passion in his heart was a breed of car that was originally not meant to be anything special – the Buick Reatta.
“When I was a kid in Orangeville, growing up here, I would always see a red Buick Reatta, probably an ’88 or so, driving through the Walmart parking lot,” he said. “I always thought they were unusual and pretty interesting looking and kind of sporty. They were always stuck in the back of my mind.”
After getting his driver’s license at 16, he pursued an interest in Buicks and eventually he had the opportunity to purchase his own Reattas. Since then, he has taken them to many different car shows.
“Everyone seems surprised when they see someone my age with a Reatta,” said David. “A lot of people ask me if it belongs to my dad. I’m still working on them and they are still project cars, but they are meant to be driven.”
The Reatta was a failure for GM as far as being a selling product. The concept design came from an attempt to market the Buicks to a younger crowd, but only limited amounts of the vehicle exist. David’s black Reatta is one of over just two-hundred 1988 Reattas sold in Canada, and his grey 1990 Reatta is one of only 17 sold in Canada and the only one in existence in its colour.
“They only made 21,000 of them in four years and out of all that we’re sold in Canada, I don’t think they even sold 600,” said David. “So there wasn’t a whole lot sold, but they were kind of a niche in their day. They were fairly expensive, but everything was high quality – they were built in a production facility where everything was hand built.”
A lot of work went into the cars, and the workers were required to have at least 15 years of experience working on GM vehicles just to be able to be part of the project. Each worker would sign off on their production portion of the papers, meaning vehicle owners could track who worked on their car.
And while many classic car enthusiasts can only dream of meeting the masterminds behind their favourite vehicles, David has met both the vehicle designer and the design director, who also happen to be named David. He even travels to different car shows with the design director each year and speaks with him regularly.
“It’s an absolutely awesome feeling,” said David. “I actually took design in school too, and these are big leaders in design so it’s been a great experience. I’ve gotten to apply what I learned in school to learning about the details of my own car. It makes for a great backstory to give with my cars at the shows.”
Written by Tabitha Wells