Smokey And The Bandit Pontiac Trans Ams - Bandit Run
To Celebrate The 30th Anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit, We Spend Three Days In T/A's Running From Texarkana To Atlanta
By Christopher Campbell
Photography by Christopher Campbell
Right after the August issue went to press with our coverage of Year One's new Burt Reynolds-backed Bandit Trans Ams, we got wind of a group of hard-core Smokey and the Bandit devotees preparing to commemorate the anniversary by making the fabled run from Texarkana, Texas, to Atlanta, Georgia. Instead of trying to match Bandit and Snowman and drive it in roughly 14 hours (half of the movie's 28-hour round trip), the idea was a leisurely three-day tour following a hypothetical 665-mile route that kept true to the feel of the movie. And since Coors is now widely available east of the Mississippi, the final stop-rather than the county fair with Big and Little Enos waiting in matching yellow suits for their bootleg beer-was Road Atlanta for a little track time and show-and-shine at the annual Year One Experience. To top it all off, Year One was planning to bring the BAN1 car we featured last month along on the run, then unveil BAN3, the all-out, top-of-the-heap version of the company's Bandit TAs, once everyone arrived at the Year One Experience. It'd be a Pon
tiac lover's paradise.
We were sold, but since there wasn't time to cobble together our own derelict '79 TA, we had to buy a one-way plane ticket to Texarkana, hoping with any luck to mingle among the Runners, make some friends, and hitchhike our way to Atlanta. Luckily, when we arrived we encountered a friendly bunch who were an eclectic mix of Pontiac and Bandit movie fans from all walks of life, but with one common, unifying desire-to put that hammer down and give it hell with a group of people who share the passion. Will they do it again next year? Who knows, but go to www.TheBanditRun.com to lobby for making it an annual deal.
What better way to end the Bandit Run and Trans Am-infested Year One Experience than with a tour of a few of the known movie locations? Despite the fact that the sites were sparsely documented, determined Georgia local Tyler Hambrick was able to track down a few key spots using original Universal Pictures documents he obtained from the Georgia Archives and some diligent frame-by-frame viewing of the movie. Of course thirty years removed from the filming, most of the spots require a little imagination to recognize, but that's part of the fun.
Dave Hall from Restore a MuscleCar. one of the organizers of the Bandit Run, brought along an updated '77 TA that featured silver graphics instead of gold, and also delivered this low-mile original '77 S/E TA to Thomas Parker just outside of Tupelo, MS.