1990 Buick Reatta Coupe

1990-buick-reatta-profileIf you saw my last post about the Chrysler TC by Maserati, you know the background leading up to the highly competitive luxury coupe market of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, we’re going to take a look at Buick’s short-lived attempt at cracking into this market segment.

The Reatta was a two-seat coupe that went on sale in 1988. Like the Chrysler TC, it was intended to be a top-of-the-line model, available at a premium price. Though the Reatta is in the same vehicle segment as the TC, Buick’s approach was completely different from Chrysler’s. Continue reading

1989-1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati

The 1980s were a wild time for the Chrysler Corporation. After narrowly avoiding bankruptcy and getting a bailout from Uncle Sam in 1979, Chrysler was looking to regain its footing in the market and return to financial stability. Lee Iacocca took over as CEO and pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in the history of American business, but the road to recovery was undeniably a rocky one. We’ll get to the TC in a moment, but first, some background information is necessary.

In 1981, Chrysler revived the “Imperial” brand as a personal luxury coupe to try and compete with Lincoln. Based on the much cheaper Cordoba, the Imperial was expensive and produced a pathetic 140 horsepower from its 318 cubic inch V8 engine. While technically advanced, it was a commercial flop and Chrysler threw in the towel after just 3 years and 12,385 units produced. Continue reading

1986-1991 Toyota Soarer Z20

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The Ford Thunderbird will go down in history as the car that created an entire market segment: the personal luxury coupe. Since that time, many other auto makers have produced their own version of the Thunderbird. Over time, the segment came to be defined by a few characteristics: an emphasis on luxury and the latest technology, powerful engines with comfortable suspensions, and of course, a 2-door, 4-passenger seating arrangement.

Although the American economy went through a recession in the early 1980s, thingsĀ  turned around and the demand for personal luxury coupes was on the rise by the later end of the decade. General Motors had the Buick Riviera, Ford had the Lincoln Mark VII, and Chrysler had resurrected the Imperial name for their 1981-1983 coupe. The United States wouldn’t see the Lexus SC400 until 1991, but this car was its Japanese predecessor: the Toyota Soarer Z20.

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