Reynolds’ final Bandit Trans Am goes to the auction block

By Jeff Peek
Hagerty Media
Photos by Barrett-Jackson

(April 6, 2024) 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.

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.

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.

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.”