What does a brand-new Jeep Wrangler have in common with the iconic car-guy movie Smokey and the Bandit? We’re left scratching our heads with this very question as a gold and black Bandit-themed JL-series Jeep is set to roll across the block at Barrett-Jackson’s upcoming Palm Beach Auction later in April.
The 2019 Wrangler features a host of changes clearly designed to invoke the spirit of the late Burt Reynolds’ most beloved on-screen character. Jet black paint is supplemented with gold pinstriping, trim, and, of course, the gigantic bird on the hood. A Trans Am-style Shaker scoop, complete with “J/L 3.6” text is also in the correct location, and judging by the underhood photo, its benefits are cosmetic only. Gold-accented bumpers, 20-inch snowflake wheels, and gold-leaf-style side decals round out the exterior differences.
Underneath, the JL has received custom shocks and suspension to allow the wheel wells to clear the beefier, 37-inch off-road tires. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission remain stock, and the majority of the driveline is guarded by a suite of factory skid plates.
With a 3.45:1 gear ratio and Dana 44 rear axle, the Burt-ified Jeep should be plenty capable off road, though I’m doubtful it has the same grace as the Bandit’s T/A while flying through the air. The trend of identity confusion continues to the interior, where the dashboard proudly proclaims “Ghost Rider Edition,” seemingly defying the six visible “Bandit” logos on the SUV’s exterior.
Overall, this Barrett-Jackson listing provides a great overview of the who, what, where, when, and how. No amount of photos, text, or gold and black add-ons, however, will provide the “why” for this build (or the other three identical builds that exist). It would appear that buyers at Palm Beach will be left to connect these dots on their own—something Scottsdale bidders were unable to do, leaving the Jeep unsold in January. Until then, the only answer we have is a question: What if Bandit, but Jeep Wrangler?