Last ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Firebird up for Grabs

Dec 23, 2015

Of the five Pontiac Firebird Trans Am cars used in the production and promotion of the iconic 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit,” only one remains in existence. That car will now be auctioned off (lot No. 1350.1) on Jan. 30 in Scottsdale, Arizona, as a key part of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co.’s latest event.

Since it is the film’s last remaining Firebird Trans Am known to exist with a direct tie to the movie, the car has garnered national attention. As Universal Studios’ official “promo car,” this Firebird Trans Am was used exclusively to promote the film.

The other four identical Trans Am cars used in production were badly damaged as a result of the high-speed chase scenes and were later returned to General Motors and crushed. When the current owner purchased this Trans Am at an estate sale last year, he discovered the engine had not been started since 1985. He also found a certificate inside the car from Universal Studios stating it was used for the film’s promotion, as well as a dash plaque from General Motors stating the car’s tie to the movie. In addition, he found an original script of the film, maps from film locations, and press kits used in 1977. The car’s title even includes text that says “Universal Promo Car.”

To ensure the car was restored to its original, like-new condition, the Firebird has undergone a complete frame-off rotisserie restoration by McLaughlin Museum, and the car’s authenticity has been documented by the Pontiac Historical Society. In addition, the vehicle features the original drivetrain, including the favored Pontiac-build 400 ci TA 6.6 engine and three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, and it is equipped identically to the same specs as those cars used in the movie.

The firebird features the Special Edition package, which includes the distinctive black and gold paint, removable T-tops, custom trim, and AM/FM radio with stereo eight-track player. The car, as auctioned, includes documentation and is signed by Burt Reynolds, who is expected to appear at the Barrett-Jackson auction on Jan. 30 for the sale.