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.
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.
? 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.
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
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
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.
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.