6 January 2016

'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans Am comes to life on the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Scottsdale

When the 1977 hit movie "Smokey and the Bandit” earned $127 million at the North American box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie of 1977 ("Star Wars" coming in at No. 1, of course), the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am followed suit and became one of the hottest selling cars of the year.

Four Pontiac Trans Ams were said to be used during the production of "Smokey and the Bandit," but those cars are unobtainable. For example, the car used for the bridge jump didn’t have enough horses to power itself through the scene, so it was also equipped with a booster rocket. That car along with one other was totaled during production, and according to auction house Barrett-Jackson, the damage was so severe on the remaining cars that they were also destroyed.

But have no fear: On Saturday, Jan. 30, the 1977 Universal Studios Promo Bandit Trans Am that sold at auction last year will be back up for grabs through Barrett-Jackson at Scottsdale. At around 4 p.m. collectors will have a chance to own a piece of "Smokey and the Bandit” history when the black V-8 Trans Am crosses the block. The car has been frame-off restored by McLaughlin Museum, and it has matching-numbers documented by Pontiac Historic Services. The auction will include a Universal Studios certificate listing the VIN (2W87Z7N139933), a plaque from General Motors showing the car was used to promote the movie, and Universal Studios maps showing scene locations. The title states Universal Studios Promo, and the sale will be promoted and autographed by Burt Reynolds.

10-4, good buddy.

19 Reader Comments

  • 1
    JK Himes Destin, Fl. January 13, 2016 at 19:04
    I bought my "first smokey car 3 months before the movie premiredin my home town. When I drove up to the theater they ask If I would mind parkingit at the front door so people could see it. I did and when I came out of the movie about 100 peope were all arond it takingtheir picture with it. wish like hellI had it back!! Oh yeah LV wa swith me Hint: Miss Hurst.
  • 2
    Linda South Carolina January 13, 2016 at 19:22
    I, for one, appreciate the article on the "Smokey and the Bandit" Trans Am. I enjoyed reading about the cars used in the movie. Any time you see a car with the "Bandit" decals; you can't help but remember the movie and how much fun it brought to all the viewers. Who wouldn't love to out run the law? Thanks for a great article.
  • 3
    DAVID SERRA FLORIDA January 13, 2016 at 19:23
    The cars were crushed because of the policy from Pontiac. Not because they were damaged. I personally worked on all of the Bandit cars for all of the movies. The cars did not have vin numbers on the dash. They were taken off prior to delivery. Pontiac's policy said that they couldn't take a chance on having a movie car out there in the public and some flaw that was created in the movie cause an accident. And that makes sense. That being said. One of the four cars was fully intact. It was the inside cockpit car. That had movie camera mounts all over it to cover the cockpit shots. That car was not used for jump shots.
  • 4
    Mitch brousseau Ontario Canada January 13, 2016 at 19:51
    I am also a proud owner of a 1980 black bandit with t-top !!!! Keeps us young and brings back the amazing old days...
  • 5
    Joe Central VA January 13, 2016 at 19:54
    This says it all: " the car used for the bridge jump didn’t have enough horses to power itself through the scene" To T/A fans of that era, I say "more for you." For me, these cars look good without the bird, but to me they are all Smoke and no Bandit. I smoked a '78 with a stinking 145hp Buick Apollo.
  • 6
    dave keilholtz az January 13, 2016 at 19:57
    At the time Smokie and the Bandit was filmed I had the Pontiac Division , GM proving Grounds acct . I owned a Body Shop in Mesa Az. I repaired one of the Firebirds that was damaged during the filming. I also was showen the pictures of the 4 or 5 Firebirds being destroyed. They were taken to Levine, Az. and fed into a shredder," in Firebird out small chunks of scrap".
  • 7
    Bob C Port St. Lucie, FL January 13, 2016 at 21:46
    Another nice car to collect would be the bandit car that GM gave to Burt Reynolds. Burt used to drive it around near his home in Jupiter, FL. A few years ago he sold it to NPD for a decent sum.
  • 8
    James Hayton Palm Springs Baby, Ca January 13, 2016 at 23:01
    As the owner and former thrasher of hi performance "F" bodies (Z28's and T/A's) I can safely opine that these cars were so beat up that you wouldn't have to jump or ramp one to have it fall apart. My '78 4spd. T/A is immaculate 9+ however as I have matured, somewhat. lol
  • 9
    Michael A Schley 738 Ruie Road January 14, 2016 at 10:40
    I want to get a ballpark Value on my 1977 Monte Carlo, The car is in mint condition. It also has only 45,000 original miles. It has been stored every winter since the car was brand new. It also has been very, very well maintained.
  • 10
    kent ks January 14, 2016 at 10:56
    The booster rocket was used in the movie Hooper that Burt Reynolds made using a 1978 red Transam. A nascar engine was used in the Bandit bridge jump. Hal Needham wrote that in his book
  • 11
    Don Denver January 14, 2016 at 22:56
    It's funny how the stories on the movie cars change over time. I've read from different sources that they used anywhere from 4 to 7 of the cars but all versions agree that they were all destroyed in the end. The thing that doesn't match up here is that I've read from several sources that they put a high horse Chevy engine in the car for the bridge jump scene. I think they are getting this mixed up with the movie Hooper that also starred Burt wit a Trans Am. They did use a rocket engine in that movie. I wonder if Pontiac Historical Services has records on the movie cars and how many were actually used? They were 1976 models modified to look like 77's.
  • 12
    Dan Fletcher Detroit January 16, 2016 at 14:46
    My dad bought this car new when I was 17 years old. Went to a multiple screen drive-in to see Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit was playing on one of the other screens. Everyone stopped at the car to let me know that it was on the other screen. Bought the car from my Dad when my Mom made him sell it. Still have it and love it today.
  • 13
    Lee Elberta, Al. January 18, 2016 at 03:09
    I have a gold 1979 Trans-Am with 68,000 original miles. It turns heads everywhere. People always ask me if it is a "Smokey & The Bandit" edition, I reply, no. Those were black 1977's with T-Tops!
  • 14
    Ken Sole Long Island, NY January 27, 2016 at 14:30
    I have a 1977 matching numbers car that looks like it came out of the movie (except mine is a 4 speed). It is one of the most recognized cars by the public! Whenever I take it out, I get lots of looks and compliments. Everyone knows this car!
  • 15
    Jeff Scott Long Island January 27, 2016 at 17:01
    Ken: If that is the car I am thinking of it is in great shape. I'm one of those people who complimented you on it.
  • 16
    Mitch Brousseau Onterio, Canada January 28, 2016 at 10:19
    I was checking the internet this morning and decided to run the vin number from the Barrett Jackson site. This same car was once being auctioned off on Connecticut by a guy named Marc. Heck, his phone number is on the auction. It started at only $200, had a reserve, but says it never received any bids. I was looking at the photos of this beat up, rusted out mess and have a hard time buying into this being the one they are auctioning now. Someone from the restoration shop would have to show me photos or a video of this car in it's before, during and after state before I would plunk down $50,000 or more.
  • 17
    Mike Upstate NY January 30, 2016 at 21:56
    To Joe in VA - Joe either that person had no clue how to drive the car, or it had a serious mechanical issue going on. There is no other way it would have been outrun by an Apollo, lol.
  • 18
    Pamela Davis Madison, Wisconsin April 25, 2016 at 15:39
    I'm one of the lucky kids who's mother bought the 1977 Bandit black with golf eagle and T-top with 6.6L engine. I was 16 and every time she dropped me off at school all the boys noticed me. And now I own that car b/c my mother passed it down to me. Under 15 thousand original miles. It was her baby. And yes I feel 16 all over again when I sit in it!
  • 19
    LB Webster, NY September 11, 2016 at 15:32
    This discussion brings back some fond memories of my younger days. I ordered/purchased a 1977 Trans Am in the fall of 1976. I equipped it with the "T/A 6.6" engine and a 4 speed manual transmission. Black, with a black interior, solid roof, for the structural rigidity, and NO goofy bird on the hood. I kept it until 2001. I liked the car a lot, but SADLY, the build quality of those cars wasn't all that great. Even though I never drove mine in the winter, it eventually developed rust issues in the RH rear quarter, and along the edges of the hood, where the inner frame and outer skin were spot welded together. Too bad, as it was initially a nice car, and fun to drive. Like all of the cars I've owned in the past, and later sold, I hope its still on the road, somewhere.

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