Hitman's Pontiac Trans Am Forum

Trans Am Photos => Hitman's Spotlight => Spotlight 2010 => Topic started by: Hitman on September 29, 2010, 11:09:45 PM

Title: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Hitman on September 29, 2010, 11:09:45 PM
This month's Spotlight honors a huge part of the Firebird Community.  He runs his own forum, has many followers, is a huge resource of knowledge and is alway there to help when someone needs it.  I can only be talking about Joe Richter.  He's such a huge asset here on this site and his own 301 Garage.  Joe is an Engineer and finds these cars and more specifically Turbo Trans Am's of interest.  I've been able to actually call upon Joe from time to time and ask him to come to this site and answer a few questions for some of the good folks here that I didn't know the answers too.  So Joe this month is for you.  And for all you do to help the community we here have all come to know and love.

Here's the question I asked Joe.  
  
How did you get interested in the Pontiac Firebird line?

 Well, The Trans Am just plain stole my heart, just like almost
everybody else back in the day! I grew up just 30 or so minutes away
from the Norwood plant, and so frequent road trips were made to
drool at the factory fence and to dream.

There was never any doubt that I'd own one, it just came down to when.

 My first F body came in 1977, it was a disappointment to only rate a
6 cylinder Camaro, but that was as close as I could get back then.

(http://www.78ta.com/fpics/e3f5f1e0.jpg)

I fixed that as soon as my life could manage it with my first TA, a
1979 403 equipped no frills car. Geeze, I loved that car, every darn bolt.

I spent every cent I had on making that car perfect... that was 1983, and I
attended some of the first TA National shows shortly after.

(http://www.78ta.com/fpics/e40207f0.jpg)

? how did you decide to help others with your website regarding the 301/301T?

 After letting my first TA go sometime in the early 90's I found that I had
a gap in my life. My job got fairly secure and I settled down and then
started looking at the classifieds.

 The car I found soon after was a 1981 Turbo Trans Am. While I had always
wanted one, I didn't know too much about them. This was 1999.

(http://www.78ta.com/fpics/e4120b70.jpg)

 So, I ordered and consumed the 1981 Pontiac service manual, and started to
bring it back to life. There was nothing online about that car, but that
didn't stop me.

 As an engineer and professional pilot, knowing my machine came quite
naturally as that is who we are.

 In finding parts for that car, I came apon an impressive craftsman - none
other than Mr. David Mars of what would become Texas Trans Ams. It was
on his early web site that I found links to 78ta and TAC. I lurked at
first, but realized I was home, I had found my people.

 But in reading the very few posts that had anything to do with 301's,
I saw a huge gap in information, and an almost negative bias. I decided
that I'd start sharing some 301 related info and see what happened. The
results were very encouraging and eventually led me to think a site
completely 301 focused would work.

 The 301 Garage went up in December 2007 and took off very quickly. My
premise was very detailed and comprehensive info, and the best assitance
possible.

 Since the main stream of the Trans Am/Firebird world is so well covered,
I found that the 301 Garage has a unique and comfortable place in the
hobby.

 Mike (Hammer) asked me to also include a picture of me with one of my cars,
partly due to having missed me at the recent TA Nationals. He mentioned
that he had no idea of what I looked like. In looking at the hundreds of
pictures I've taken in the last few years I realized that my mug wasn't
in any of them.

 So, here it is, taken just a couple of days ago, with my 1981 Black special
edition Turbo TA bought off of ebay a few years ago. This car barely chugged
off the trailer when it was delivered, but is totally functional today.

(http://www.78ta.com/fpics/e42207f0.jpg)

(http://www.78ta.com/fpics/e4320060.jpg)

We all appreciate your guidance Joe.  Sometimes we have some weird ways of showing it but you are a wonderful resource and a good friend.  Thank you for being here.  And congratulations as this months Spotlight is truly an honor for me to present to you Joe.      
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: SoonerTA on October 09, 2010, 03:57:29 PM
Congrats Joe!  Great story.  You and your car deserve it!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: 80TAPaceCar on October 09, 2010, 04:50:58 PM
Congrats Joe!

Kev
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Jolley_Man666 on October 09, 2010, 05:17:23 PM
Congrats Joe, it's well deserved
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: 4SPEED on October 09, 2010, 05:40:40 PM
very cool , congrats.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: 78w72 on October 09, 2010, 06:55:54 PM
congrats joe!  you got a few more t/a's to be spotlighted with too!  you could finish out this year & beginning of next!

there ya go hammer,  makes it easy on you... just change the pics each month to joe's other cars!   ;)
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: RENOVATIONS on October 09, 2010, 06:59:16 PM
Congratulations Joe...a well deserved spotlight for sure!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: luckyone on October 09, 2010, 07:19:04 PM
congrats joe! glad you started the 301 site otherwise i would not be as far ahead getting my 80 turbo t/a up and running as well. and meeting some diehard turbo owners too!!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: chwkman on October 09, 2010, 07:19:51 PM
Congrats. Thats a beautiful car Joe, never had a turbo car, but always thought that they were a very cool car. Hope to have one one day! 8)
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Orange 81 T/TA on October 09, 2010, 07:37:14 PM
Congrats, Joe!  If it wasn't for you and 301G, I likely would have given up on my car long ago.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Justin on October 09, 2010, 08:40:20 PM
Very cool. Congrats. I like the part where you said it stole your heart. Mine did the same all these years later. Cool impact these cars have huh?
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: RRR76TA on October 09, 2010, 09:07:22 PM
Congrats Joe , nice ride
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Ricky G on October 09, 2010, 09:44:04 PM
AAAhhhh yes. very good choice for spotlight. Congrats Joe.Great car.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: bobspacin80ta on October 09, 2010, 10:07:29 PM
Congrats Joe. Thanks for all you do for the turbo cars.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Mongo on October 09, 2010, 10:48:26 PM
Congrats Joe.  Very nice SE
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: jjr on October 09, 2010, 11:59:52 PM

 What's amazing is that they stole my heart as a young man when
these cars were new (ok, so I'm a little older than some of you),
but what is truly amazing is their power to continue doing so today.

 I see, read and hear the very same excitment today, as there was
back in the day...

 It's a timeless design and passion that will certainly live on.

 Joe
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: dblhh on October 10, 2010, 12:19:49 AM
Congratulations, Joe!

What's amazing is that they stole my heart as a young man when
these cars were new (ok, so I'm a little older than some of you),
but what is truly amazing is their power to continue doing so today.

 I see, read and hear the very same excitment today, as there was
back in the day...

 It's a timeless design and passion that will certainly live on.

 Joe

I'm probably close to the same age as you, Joe, and I couldn't agree more.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: kentuckyyeti on October 10, 2010, 12:49:56 AM
Congrats!!!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: '78 LadyBird on October 10, 2010, 04:44:24 AM
CONGRATULATIONS JOE.  VERY PRETTY!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: ILLINI 79 TA on October 10, 2010, 05:02:06 AM
Congrats Joe , great story and pics.... know what you mean , I have many more pics of cars than me !!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Sir english firebird on October 10, 2010, 05:37:50 AM
A good choice, the dealings ive had with him via forums and hes always been helpfull, insightfull and pleasent, thankyou.
A lovely car you have theyre well done and congratulations on the spotlight.

Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: rad400 on October 10, 2010, 12:43:46 PM
Great looking car Joe.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Prettybird81 on October 10, 2010, 04:35:00 PM
Joe,
You have such passion for what many would consider an undesireable combination with the lowly 301.  Your website and passion for the engine and the Trans Am/Firebird family gives me alot of enthusiasim and pride in my TA.  I thank you for the many years of experience you share and the wealth of knowledge you post through your 301 garage site, on TAC and here on 78TA.

Congratulations on being bird of the month.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Nexus on October 10, 2010, 06:57:12 PM
Congrats Joe, your car is sweet...I really like the turbo cars
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: jjr on October 11, 2010, 01:52:39 AM

 Thanks, yea I sure do have a passion...

 As I mentioned in my story, I really like to help others fix and understand
their cars so as to enjoy the hobby.

 78ta has so darn many sharp wrenches, I hardly get to help as much here - until
it's a 301 issue of course.

 In a recent post to help a couple of folks, and in my own style, I suggested a free
tool that makes a static timing setup a bit easier on a rebuilt or unkown timed
engine. Here's my custom made tool, free by just cutting up an old distributor cap.

----

 Ok, I often need to set approx static timing on engines
that could have been anywhere in timing, so I made a free
tool out of an old (and initially disliked) pink/red distributor
cap.

(http://www.301garage.com/forum_pics/DS_Tool.jpg)

 In order to be really helpful, I made some special marks -
including some approx timing marks.

 Since there is 45 degrees between any two Spark towers,
(360/8) it was a simple matter to split it again to get
22.5, 11.25 and 5.65 degrees. The next pic is to only
illustrate the procedure as I used a better tool when I set
this thing up, but it's still kinda a real close guess
with the parts - but it works.

(http://www.301garage.com/forum_pics/D_Tool_calibrate.jpg)

 Fitting my tool on a distributor that's now in an engine
letts me see where I am, cause the top is off.

 Here's 0 degrees BTDC

(http://www.301garage.com/forum_pics/D_Tool_0bf.jpg)

 and about 11 degrees BTDC

(http://www.301garage.com/forum_pics/D_Tool_11bf.jpg)

 Here's an important tab, as it interlocks the cap, it also makes
for somewhat of a guide.

(http://www.301garage.com/forum_pics/D_Tool_Tab.jpg)

 This is meant to help guide the timing process, and is well
worth the time to cut up an old distributor cap.

---

 Joe
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Nexus on October 11, 2010, 02:32:27 PM
That's a very cool Idea Joe!!!

A bit of thought put into the tool for sure

Now that is some cool stuff
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Maryland Bandit on October 11, 2010, 02:45:11 PM
Congrats Joe! Theres a cool trick with a timing light you can use too, in case of no cap to cut up.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: blue81ta on October 11, 2010, 06:32:31 PM
Congrats Joe. Sweet Turbo you've got there. 8)

Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the 301 engine. I'm sure many 301s will survive because of your passion for this engine. Contrary to what some people believe... this is GOOD news. 8)
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: jjr on October 11, 2010, 09:03:14 PM

> Theres a cool trick with a timing light you can use too, in case of no cap to cut up.

 Would love to hear about that!

 Joe
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: 1980MNT/A on October 12, 2010, 05:36:53 AM
Congrats!  Well deserved!  Thanks for preserving the 301!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: 80ws6ta on October 12, 2010, 09:39:54 AM
Congratulations!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: CT Bird Fan on October 13, 2010, 06:04:57 AM
Congratulations Joe!!!  8)

Turbo Trans Ams are my favorite, and yours is certainly a beauty!!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: Trans am Oz on October 13, 2010, 07:46:08 AM
Congrats Joe

Love the look of the turbo and i love your sweet SE ride too 8) 8)
If i ever get one i'll know who to turn to for info
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: BACnBLK on October 14, 2010, 10:14:33 PM
Congratulation's, Joe & well deserved.. Man that was a sweet story too & Can't say enough about your Nice Turbo SE.  When you commented it stole your heart,  I can relate as well & still do to this day.  It's down to earth people like you, That make this site get better & better.
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: snap_point on October 17, 2010, 08:06:52 AM
Congrats Joe, Very nice ride mate, well done!  8)
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: roadmapdj on October 19, 2010, 08:34:31 AM
Congratulations Joe! A well deserved spotlight for such a caring person who puts everything he can into helping others. We are very honored to have been complimented by you on our efforts on Dalton's car. It seems every show we go to, people know Dalton and his car because of you, and that is a great reward for Dalton coming from such a GREAT guy. You truly are the best. Again congratulations on your Spotlight award!!!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: TA5150 on October 23, 2010, 11:44:09 AM
Very cool.  Always thought the 301s deserved more attention.  Love the way the turbo wheels look on the black and gold cars.  Nicely done!
Title: Re: August 2010 Spotlight - 1981 Special Edition Turbo Trans Am of Joe Richter
Post by: luckyone on June 17, 2011, 10:46:52 PM
bump... for a great post about a great guy!