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Monday, July 5, 2010

Cars in Yards: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am draws crowd, not east bound and down

A black 1977 Pontiac Trans Am tossed in the weeds like a used beer can? The car, that made Burt Reynolds and Sally Field famous in “Smokey and the Bandit,” has been parked in the same spot for more than a decade. Forgotten, neglected and hopefully for sale and cheap. I took the bait and stopped to get a closer look.


Look, it's Bandit!
From busy highway in north Alabama, this second generation Firebird Trans Am didn't look like a cream puff. But I cringed when I saw the condition of the sheet metal on the right side. The Rallye II wheels on the T/A's right side were sunk into the earth, bringing the rocker panel and damp ground close enough to kiss. Evidence of rust along the lower edge of the quarter panel meant the trunk seal or rear window rubber gave up long ago. A lack of T-tops may have left the floor pans in good shape - 10 years ago. This ’Bird is in bad shape but still tempts flocks of motorists.
Is it for sale? Multiply by 1,000
“It was my son's first car. The Trans Am is not for sale,” said the man on the four-wheeler. He offered the answer quickly. A stranger asking about the car is a common occurrence. “I guess a thousand people have stopped to ask about that car. The more popular these cars get, the more I get asked about it." I didn't question the man as to why his son was keeping it. He pointed down the road and said, "that's my sons place." Good enough for me. They want it, it's not going anywhere, so be it.


More would-be buyers will stop by
The popularity of these Bandit-era Trans Ams will continue to expand as new generations watch "Smokey and the Bandit" for the first time. The movie grossed over $126 million and helped Pontiac sell a record numbers of Trans Ams. A ton of them were painted black and their owners all dreamed of being cool and fast like Burt. Covering this once proud, black Trans Am with a tarp might save these owners a bit of trouble in the future.


"Smokey and the Bandit" 1977

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