1980 Pontiac Trans Am with a Burt Reynolds Connection up for Auction on Bring a Trailer


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  • The original Smokey and the Bandit was so popular, the studio couldn’t stop at just one.
  • Smokey and the Bandit II reprised Burt Reynolds in the titular role, again costarring with a black-and-gold Pontiac Trans Am, this time a Turbo model.
  • This 1980 Turbo Trans Am wears that same livery and is signed by Reynolds himself.

Car and Driver

Forty-six years ago, audiences cheered on a cowboy-hatted ne’er do-well as he headed eastbound and down, loaded up and trucking. Equipped with little more than a CB radio, a total lack of respect for the law, one heck of a mustache, and a screaming quick Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the man they called Bandit stole our hearts. Now you too can roll like the Bandit in a car literally bearing his signature.

1980 pontiac trans am

Bring a Trailer

Up for auction on Bring A Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos—is this 1980 Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans Am with just 9000 miles on the odometer. Apart from the model year, it’s an identical match for the car Burt Reynolds drove in 1980’s Smokey and the Bandit II, complete with gold accents and that iconic screaming chicken on the hood.

Iconic is a word that gets a bit overworked in the automotive world, but a Bandit Trans Am deserves it. When it rolled onto screens in the original 1977 movie, Firebird sales skyrocketed. The second-generation Firebird was late in its run, but Pontiac was so overwhelmed with demand that it actually pushed off the development of the third-gen model a few years.

1980 pontiac trans am

Bring a Trailer

The original first Bandit car was a 1976 model with snowflake-style wheels and a “6.6 Litre” sticker on the hood. The cars were fitted with the front clip from the ’77 model, and only one of the four survived filming.

Bandit II saw both Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason (as the memorable Sheriff Buford T. Justice) reprising their roles, but a new Pontiac for the Bandit to drive. Pontiac knew getting its latest product in front of Bandit fans was key, especially as emissions restrictions had seen its larger displacement engine options taken off the table. Thus, Bandit would now drive a Turbo Trans Am, with a 4.9-liter V-8 equipped with a Garrett TB305 turbocharger. A three-speed automatic was the only transmission option.

1980 pontiac trans am

Bring a Trailer

When new, stock power levels were rated at a modest 210 horsepower, but a stout 345 pound-feet of torque gave the Bandit plenty of grunt to spin those BFGoodrich tires. This example has the desired Y84 Special Edition package, which includes those glass T-tops, 15-inch gold Turbo wheels, and quad exhaust pipes—everything you need.

1980 pontiac trans am

Bring a Trailer

Best of all, this car bears the gold signature of Burt Reynolds himself, written on the dashboard. Reynolds died in 2018, and back when the Bandit films were entertaining crowds, he was one of the biggest box office draws of them all.

He’d have other roles of course, but the one that went the distance was as everyone’s favorite Bandit. A black-and-gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was a big part of that character, and this one looks like a great way to relive the magic. Just keep an eye out for those smokeys.

The auction ends August 15.


Contributing Editor

Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British automobiles, came of age in the golden era of Japanese sport-compact performance, and began writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, whether it is the racing career of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to be perpetually buying Hot Wheels.

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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