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April 2006
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Broken (and Fixed) Reatta

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Since Brandy never did, I figured I’d go ahead and post about her car. Well, one of them. You see, Brandy has a Nissan that she drives every day (and hates). But in the garage she keeps and only very rarely drives, a Buick Reatta, which she loves. There were less than 22 thousand of them ever made, and it is getting to be a decently old car. (And hers was one of the ones with the touchscreen computer, of which they made less than 12 thousand.) The resale price of these cars has bottomed out and is actually starting to go up again as they start becoming collectables. Brandy hopes to keep it until someday we are actually able to do a full restoration and make it a nice classic car. (Something I wish I could have done with my 1976 Dodge Colt, but alas, it is long gone…)

Since we moved to the Palm Bay house, the Reatta never left the garage. It needed a new battery, some repairs to one of the seats, and some other things. Last month it was time. Brandy took the Reatta to the local Buick dealer. They did the work they were supposed to do. Then they called her and said it was ready to pick up. She said she would pick it up the enxt day. The next morning, before she came in, she got another call from the Buick dealer. Overnight her car had been broken into in the dealer’s parking lot. The lock was smashed and removed and then inside the car whoever it was had completely ripped apart the center console. Lovely.

The first call to the insurance company… Insurance company felt this was all the dealer’s fault and they should pay everything… however, they said that if a claim was made, they would most likely just declare the car totaled due to the age and the fact that replacement parts are no longer made and are in many cases very hard to find (particularly for that center console). This was very upsetting. Losing the car was not desired. Brandy had carted this thing around for many many years and was very attached to it. At first the dealer said they absolutely would not be responsible. (Oh, and by the way, there were not even any security cameras pointing at the lot… what’s up with that?) A few calls up the management chain though fixed that and they decided they would after all handle the repairs due to the break in. Well… as best they could… they couldn’t replace anything for which no replacement parts were available.

So, next question… was there anything missing? The pattern of the break in matched someone scrounging for parts, not someone looking to steal the car itself, or grabbing valuables from inside the car. When they did the complete examination though, nothing was missing. The biggest difficulty was the center console though. It was pretty beat up and torn, but that is one of the parts that there are no replacments for absent scrounging through junkyards and such.

In the end though, they were able to patch it up relatively well, replace the lock, etc.

Brandy picked up the car on Friday. The immediate things needed for it to be drivaable are all done. A bunch more would still need to happen to do the whole full resoration thing, but that wasn’t the goal quite yet. We just wanted it out of the garage and ready to drive and such. The Nissan will not be coming to the West Coast, only the Buick will be. The center console is a little worse from the experience, but not as bad as it initially looked and the lock and such has been replaced properly, and the intial things Brandy had taken the car in for in the first place are also all done.

And so yet another adventure on the way to the move…

Fun.