Featured Member of the Week: BanditRich

Please tell us a little bit about yourself (2 or 3 sentences).

I’m 46 years old, and married for 20 years. I have 4 sons and 2 daughters. In 1975 at the age of 10, I saw a Trans Am for the first time and I was hooked instantly.

How did you first get interested in this hobby/passion?

Like I said, when I saw a Trans Am for the first time, I was hooked instantly. I thought it was the coolest car I had ever seen. I had my mind made up from that day that a Trans Am was the car I wanted. Two years later when the movie Smokey & The Bandit came out, it made my reserve to own one someday even stronger. The first car I ever bought, in 1985, was a Trans Am. A red 78 with t-roofs and power everything. That was followed by a red 1985, a totally original documented 1977 Special Edition – The Bandit.

What Rides do you currently own?

Since 2002 I have owned a 1978 Bandit show car. It has been on TV, featured in 5 nationally sold muscle car calendars and won more car show trophies than I can remember. The coolest trophy it has won was at a local show – “Most Likely To Be Pulled Over.” My car has won first place in its class at some big All Pontiac shows.

My car has the Pontiac W72 high performance 400, .030 over with the Edelbrock Performer Power Package – carb, manifold & camshaft.

Functional ram air with the K&N X-Stream filter setup. Ceramic coated headers with crossover & true dual exhaust. Turbo 350 with a trans cooler & shift kit.

Aluminum radiator with 160 degree thermostat. WS6 high performance suspension system with polyurethane sway bar bushings and subframe connectors. My car also has very rare gold – tinted t-roofs

What do you like most about your current rides?

To me, a Trans Am is the coolest car ever made and I feel lucky to own one. I am also very proud of the fact that I was into and wanted a Trans Am long before Smokey & The Bandit came out.

What is/are the fondest memories you have while owning your Cool Rides?

All the thumbs up, honking horns and “Nice car!” comments when I’m driving it. When I’m at shows and little kids run up to my car yelling “Bandit! Bandit!” Whenever I see someone getting their picture taken standing by my car I offer them the opportunity to have their picture taken sitting in the driver seat. The smiles on their faces and thank you’s are unforgettable. This happens with little kids and with people older than me.

I have a friend who owns a 1969 Dukes of Hazard General Lee Dodge Charger and when we’re driving our cars to and from shows, mouths drop and the looks on people’s faces are unbelievable. One time a couple kids saw us driving down the street and they almost fell off their bikes. At car shows where we can park together people come up to our cars and their heads keep going back and forth because they can’t decide which one to look at first.

My car was on the cover of Pontiac Registry magazine with a 5-page feature on it, too.

What was the first car you ever owned?

My first car was a 1973 Dodge Dart Sport – graduation present from my parents.

What is/was the BEST car ever made?

Always has been, always will be: a Trans Am.

What is/was the WORST car ever made?

Probably a Yugo.

How did you first hear about the Cool Rides Online website?

A friend of mine with a Black 77 Bandit Tribute Trans Am who recently won a Cool Rides contest.