Old School Americana & Nostalgia

Cars

How Much is the Pontiac Trans Am From ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Worth Now?

How Much is the Pontiac Trans Am From ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Worth Now?

In 1977, Smokey and the Bandit pushed the envelope of laughs and good taste with Burt Reynolds aboard, but a Pontiac Trans Am stole the show. Besides Reynolds, this movie had Sally Field, Jerry Reed, and, of all people, Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Car lovers and gearheads still hold the masterpiece of a car near and dear to their hearts.

As it turns out, so did Reynolds. He received the original from the movie as a gift. In 2015, Reynolds refurbished the car’s paint, carpet, and seats. The car became part of the Bring a Trailor website and sold for $172,000. Then, in 2021, the Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit was sold at Barrett-Jackson’s auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a $450,000 bid.

Back when the Pontiac Trans Am first was being created, it was worth $8,082 in the 1970s. Today, though, if you find one out there, it probably will run you $67,877 to pick one up.

Hal Needham Got Pontiac Trans Am for ‘Smokey and the Bandit’

Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham did an excellent job highlighting the Pontiac Trans Am out on the open road. In the movie, there are scenes where the Bandit is driving away from state police officers. Reynolds and Field are gunning it down state highways and roads in “Ban-One,” while Gleason and his fellow police officers are in a high-speed pursuit.

In the summer of 1977, Star Wars took movie theaters by storm and set box-office records. Critics weren’t expecting a movie about two guys running Coors beer from Texas to Atlanta to beat it. Yet that’s what Smokey and the Bandit did. The movie racked up a worldwide box office total of $126,737,428.

Inside, the car was powered by a 6.6-liter V8 engine. Over the years, there have been differing figures around how many Pontiac Trans Ams were used in Smokey and the Bandit. Burt Reynolds was once asked about it, and he said 12 were used. Needham in another interview said that he’d asked for six of them and received four.

As an aside, Needham was also behind the camera for the sequel titled Smokey and the Bandit II. All the first movie’s main cast members returned. The director, though, asked for 10 Trans Ams and 55 Bonnevilles to be in this movie. He received them without one peep of complaining.

It would not be surprising to see that more than one Pontiac Trans Am was in the Smokey and the Bandit sequel. Look at how many twists, turns, and jumps Reynolds or a stunt driver did in one.

Burt Reynolds Drove a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am as Bandit

Burt Reynolds was the perfect selection as Bandit. So, too, were Reed as The Snowman, Field as Carrie or “Frog,” and Gleason as Buford. Each one delivered their lines eloquently. One legendary story about this movie surrounded Gleason. He reportedly ad-libbed a lot of his lines. Needham didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so they stayed in the movie.

Eagle-eye Pontiac fans will note that Smokey and the Bandit used 1976 Trans Am models. Why? Because the movie wasn’t released until May 1977. There is a time difference taking place here, one that doesn’t get brought up too much.

There were three Smokey and the Bandit movies in all. Only Gleason and Reed from the original two movies appear in the third one. It didn’t do as well at the box office, though. Oh, there were plenty of cars and a phalanx of 18-wheelers in it, too.

Still, Smokey and the Bandit has gained many more fans over the years thanks to cable television. And, sadly, outside of Field, a majority of the movie’s cast has died. But humming East Bound and Down never gets boring at all for a whole generation of fans.