Thursday, February 22, 2024
Features Florida Trans Am : Vision Turned Hobby Turned Career

Florida Trans Am : Vision Turned Hobby Turned Career

Florida Trans Am is the Mecca for all things Pontiac Trans Am and similar era muscle cars.

Every dream begins with some kind of vision, or memory. For Rick Deiters, an experience sparked a life-long passion for cars that has served him incredibly well. His story would make good plot for a movie about our collective love affair with the automobile.

The moment that would shape his life

Rick was born in the mid-60s, grew up in South America and often travelled to Italy where his family was also from. One year, while staying in Sardinia at his mother’s house in the mid-70s, as he was quietly eating his breakfast, something happened. The house was located near a NATO base and on that morning, a large ship had docked. This vessel was dropping off new personnel who were arriving with their belongings, namely cars.

Chewing away, Rick watched as a big hydraulic door on the side of the ship opened and a silver 1976 Chevrolet Corvette rolled out. His jaw immediately dropped at the sight and sound of this high-powered V8 American muscle car. At the time and in his experience, the rich locals drove 2.0-litre 4-cylinder cars…

Florida Trans Am | Matt St-Pierre

The second car that rolled down the ramp was a black and gold Pontiac Trans Am. Rick had just seen Smokey and the Bandit and could not believe his eyes. One has to believe that this image became permanently imprinted on his psyche.

A few years went by and his family moved to the United States. At the time, his father was in search of a car for the family and Rick knew what he should purchase. His dreams fell apart at the Pontiac dealership as the Trans Am was only a four-seater and he had two siblings. Furthermore, the trunk was far too small especially with the T-Top panels stowed within. Father Deiters went on to purchase a Ford Fairmount followed by a Ford Mustang in 1981 – neither car sat well with Rick, which spawned a mild disdain for the Blue Oval.

A ghost from the past

Fast-forward 20 years, a marriage, three kids of his own, a house in Miami, a stressful yet rewarding job and then, something else happened. As he returned home from a meeting, he spotted, on a dealer car lot, a white 1979 Pontiac Trans Am for sale for $1,500. Without much thought, he ran across the street to the bank and purchased the car. This car ignited what had been dormant in Rick for the better part of two decades: He needed a Trans Am in his life.

Florida Trans Am | Matt St-Pierre

Before long, he’d managed to not only sell the white ’79 for three times the purchase price but had accumulated many more Pontiacs bearing the Screaming Chicken. In time, he rented a storage area to park his prized possessions and, of course, work on them. Interest in his work from fellow Trans Am fans eventually turned his hobby into a full-time job.

Trans Am Specialities

This passion-turned-money-maker has been very good for Rick. He’s managed to create a very successful business based mostly on the Trans Am. His shop, Trans Am Specialities, is quite nearly dedicated to restoring and building 2nd generation 1970-1981 Trans Am. They can retro-mod one, find and prepare a matching-number unit or simply fix you up with a good cruiser. They buy and sell cars from the same era and their inventory changes quickly – they’ve become the go-to place for all things Trans-Am and even Camaro. Interestingly, they also have a few Trans Am Depot cars for sale.

His position in the business has enabled him to accumulate a collection of fantastic cars. It includes movie and TV cars that will make every entertainment nut aged between 40 and 55 lose their minds. He owns an actual K.I.T.T. pursuit-mode car, a DeLorean, a few pieces of the Fast and the Furious franchise, as well as, and to no one’s surprise, a pair Pontiac Trans Ams. These are not just any Trans Ams: One belonged to Burt Reynolds and the other was featured in the movies. He also happens to have a soft spot for the C3 Corvette… Another gem he keeps in the shop is a sublime 1969 Dodge Charger, a very rare Mopar among his fleet of GMs.

Florida Trans Am | Matt St-Pierre

Trans Am Mecca

Rick’s story is one that all car-lovers wish they could live. Few things are more rewarding than turning a passion into a job – this is how you’ll never work a day in your life.

If ever you’re in South Florida, you can always stop by and check out the collection. If you love the Pontiac Trans Am, you may never want to leave.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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