June 21, 2017 – The car that inspired the “Smokey and The Bandit” Trans Am has been found and will be presented to the public for the first time by Trans Am Specialties of Florida.
Missing for decades, the original promotional car was found by accident and purchased by Renee Martino, an 84-year-old grandmother who owns Snuggle Inn Doggie Resort in Anderson, South Carolina. For the self-confessed “Smokey and the Bandit” fan, owning this famous piece of history was a dream fulfilled.
It will be unveiled for the first time in Jonesboro, Georgia ahead of being sold in Dubai where it is expected to break sales records unless it is purchased before being shipped overseas.
“This is the most collectible, recognizable Trans Am in history,” said Rick Deiters, owner of Trans Am Specialties of Florida, where the car is being housed. “It’s a real museum piece. This car is the only one in the world and it’s considered one of the most powerful status symbols. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for lovers of vintage cars.”
First discovered by Burt Reynolds and director Hal Needham in a Pontiac brochure, the special edition was created by in 1976 when Pontiac merged two Trans Ams, a 1976 LE and a 1977 SE for a brochure photo. Not meant to be released to the public, this original car from the brochure was dubbed “The Official First Born Bandit” by Reynolds, who also hailed it as his “first true love.”
With its sleek, black finish, factory Hurst T-top, gold foil pinstripes and detailing, the Bandit became an immediate sensation in the late 1970s and sparked a global Trans Am phenomenon. The car was featured in Smoke Signals Magazine, which nicknamed it “Split Personality.”
Reynolds was reunited with the Trans Am at the 2016 Key West Film Festival, where Reynolds posed with and signed the car and its original brochure.