Reynolds’ Final Bandit Trans Am Roars Across the Auction Block

Barrett-Jackson/Rafael Martin

So many Smokey and the Bandit tribute cars have crossed the auction block in recent years that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. What’s different about this one? According to Barrett-Jackson, the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE being auctioned at its April 18-20 Palm Beach event was the last one personally owned by Burt Reynolds.

Burt-Reynolds-1977-Pontiac-Firebird-Trans-Am-leather film set chair
Barrett-Jackson/Rafael Martin

As the story goes, Smokey and the Bandit was such a runaway hit that General Motors promised Reynolds a new car every year for life. Reynolds, who died in September 2018 at age 82, later joked that when the cars stopped showing up he was told that the deal was not for the rest of Reynolds’ life but “the president’s life—and he’s dead now.” That didn’t stop Reynolds from owning several Bandit Trans Ams, however, including a custom 1979 model that sold for more than $300,000 in June 2019.

Barrett-Jackson describes this ’77 Trans Am, painted black with gold and emblazoned with its iconic screaming chicken, as “the only currently licensed and tagged Burt Reynolds’ Trans Am left,” and it says the car has been authenticated by Reynolds’ estate. “Carefully restored by Bandit Movie Cars in Florida to Mr. Reynolds’ specifications, every detail was thought out and discussed with Mr. Reynolds, from the correct antenna to the proper tires from the movie.”

VIN 2W87Z7N146448 is powered by a 6.6-liter 8-cylinder engine paired with a three-speed automatic transmission. Since Reynolds passing, the car has been cared for by Reynolds’ friend and business partner, Gene Kennedy. It has 45,330 miles on the odometer and wears Reynolds’ famous “BAN ONE” Florida license plate.

Burt-Reynolds-1977-Pontiac-Firebird-Trans-Am-rear three quarter
Barrett-Jackson/Rafael Martin

A 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE in #1 (Concours) condition carries an average value of $124,000, but considering Reynolds’ ownership and his second-place standing on the Hagerty Power List, it should go for much more than that.

Reynolds was Hollywood’s top-grossing star for five consecutive years from 1978–82. In addition to Smokey and the Bandit (and Smokey and the Bandit II), he was best known for Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Semi-Tough. Of course, it was the original Bandit movie that struck a chord with American moviegoers for its rebellious theme and hilarious banter, and it catapulted Reynolds to superstar status. 

Barrett-Jackson/Rafael Martin

And, although technically Smokey and the Bandit starred Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, and Jackie Gleason, Reynolds admitted that the real star of the 1977 comedy was the Trans Am.

“When we saw that car, we all fell apart,” Reynolds once told Powernation. “I’d never seen one; Jerry’d never seen one; the whole crew was amazed. And then we got in it, and I had fun with it … It was a rush to drive that car.”


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    Most of these cars are scams. Burt was given a 1978 TA for the movie and later a Turbo for the second movie.

    Toward the end of his life several places were buying up Trans Ams and registering them in Burt’s names and then selling them. He was getting a cut of the money to be there to deliver them.

    A number of these cars he never drove as he had stopped driving. You may want to check just when and what years he owned these cars before you buy.

    The movie cars were scrapped and the 1978 he did get after hounding Pontiac on their offer is in a private collection in FL and not likely to sell anytime soon. The Turbo I am not sure where it is.

    So yes Burt technically may have owned these cars they are not exactly the car that many think it is. It was a money making deal and it went on for a while before we lost Burt.

    Yes he did need the money. He was hurting in his later years with bad investments, poor saving and trusting the wrong people with his money.

    So if you have interest here I would check the years before I would put any money down. Also I would ask for the cowboy hat he often supplied with the car when he would be there for the delivery tot he new owner.

    FYI this will not be the last Burt car. They keep popping up. Note too some are modified cars with larger wheels and bigger engines. These were called Bandit TA models. These were not the same as these cars claimed to be owned by him. They were special performance models he endorsed.

    Divorce was just one of many things he failed at financially. USFL, a number of other things just hurt him in the end.

    Note there was 3 movie cars. All were destroyed. One 4th car was used for promo work when the movie came out in 1977. The movie cars were 76 TA’s but with a 77 Trim. They were not in production. The Promo car was not Burts and was later found at an estate sale and was restored in 1985. It is in private hands today. It was documented as the Promo car but it never appeared in the movie.

    I forget the exact number, but I’ve heard that Burt would let you title your car in his name for either $10,000 or $20,000. Pretty sure I heard Richard Rawlings mention it on his show several years ago.

    Richard Rawlings is not an authority on anything except getting drunk at auctions and verbally abusing his shop staff. You are just misremembering something he likely made up in an attempt to be interesting.

    I have a non SS TTop 86′. Granted 71′ 10 block
    W/7R4, 373 posi nd beefer srung.
    No way on this earth should u have bought a
    Can over your G body!

    That was GMs name for it. To sell Bill Mitchell on the hood decal he rejected was to paint the 74 super duty TA black and gold to match the Norton John Player Special Motorcycle. It was his favorite.

    I can attest to the movie cars being totalled & sent to either salvage or scrap; I looked at them in a Pontiac dealer’s body shop back lot in Woodland Hills, CA as the appraiser for the entertainment-industry part of Fireman’s Fund Ins Co. They were absolutely beat to death, and Pontiac was NOT happy. At the time, they were promotional cars, not celebrity souvenirs. I also handled the Rockford Firebirds, which were repaired several times at the same dealership. I recall some amusing things about those cars, to minimize downtime.

    Yes at the end of the movie the movie cars were done none were running. The final scene filmed was where the car and truck come flown the hill into the stock car race with the beer. They had to use the hill as the car was dead and blown up. It coasted down hill to finish the movie. That is Aldo why they took the Cadillac to leave.

    The car in the bridge jump had a race engine and a small jet engine to boost it over the gap per Needham. When it landed it was done too.

    As for Rockfords cars they were detailed in the POCI magazine. Most of them still collector has three alone. Even Rocky’s truck is still owned by the man who bought it from Garner. It is all original in Florida now.

    They just covered the Fall Guy mid engine truck being restored. It had to be built as GMC was upset that they were wiping out too many trucks in jumps. So the built a mid engine truck that could jump at will.

    There are so many of the cars floating around for sale it just seems phony. Plus there is always a guy at a car show with his own replica T/A driving around. I’ve seen a few of those here in Austin, Texas.

    I was at the 2015 Spring Carlisle, PA Auction of his owned 1977 Trans Am SE, one of Burt Reynolds cars, & it was authentic! As the title was present in the window with his Jupiter FL address on it.
    Word around town was he wasn’t going to be there for this Auction but at my Hotel room, a pizza delivery guy told us he was seen in Carlisle in a white Chrysler Limo at a convenient store after rolling down a window.
    At the Auction, that car, Jacket, hat, and title sold for 87 thousand dollars to an older man who now has it somewhere in Indiana.

    Hate to tell you that sounds like one of the temporary titled cars. They gave hats, jackets and signed dash.

    The trouble here is #1 It is documented by him that he never privately owned a 77. He was given an 78 by the time Pontiac got around to it. It was delivered to Jim while he lived in California.

    That is what is tricky here. By law owed these cars but not in the way you would think. He may have driven the early ones a few miles but the later ones he only rode in them for the delivery.

    When it came to Burt TA’ s if they ran short they just made more.

    Are they really worth the extra money that is up to buyers but I feel that might not always be clear to all buyers.

    The people selling are not breaking any rules but the buyers are not doing their due diligence in all cases. If they are fine with temporary ownership more power to em.

    I remember those Trans Ams and got to drive one when they were new. Those cars were mind blowing in an era of increasingly lame vehicles. It seemed absolutely everybody wanted one.

    My first car was a 1978 Gold T/A, it sits in my garage. Every time I walk past it, I hear it say. I hate you! Fix me!..One day I will cruise down the road again with the T-Top down and music semi- blasting reliving the old days!

    Now that sounds like a good plan. I hope you actually get to do that. I am blown away at all the things I thought for sure I would do. But I think the clock has gone around a few too many times now and I don’t think the time is left to do most of those things now. DAMNIT!!! Definitely the rabbit!!! I was sleeping too much during the race. Well actually it was more playing around. Not paying attention to the clock.

    I had one of these bought in 77 with only 3000 miles on it paid $6000 for it. Went to see the movie had no idea this car was in it. It was a blast to drive had it 9 years and got rid of it with 98K miles on it. Very little rust on body but the frame was starting to go (Midwest winters) Dumbest thing I ever did was get rid of it.

    My first ‘real’ car (my actual first was a ’74 Maverick I bought from my dad my senior HS year) was identical to this one, except it had the cloth ‘valor’ interior, a ’78 Y82. I had it about three years and sold it to a co-worker who totaled it in less than a month. The quarters were starting to rust (Michigan), but man, lots of college stories. I now have a low production ’98 Formula WS6, not a ‘trailer queen’, but has some car show hardware. I would like to have another gen two, and look occasionally, but have had one, albeit a long time age, makes the current market look even pricier.

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