When the gavel drops this week at the annual Barrett-Jackson auction, in Las Vegas, there is expected to be extra interest in three movie vehicles that were part of Burt Reynolds’ personal collection. Two are classic 1978 Pontiac Firebirds, including a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that is an exact re-creation of the Bandit from Smokey and the Bandit. The third vehicle is a 1987 Chevrolet Pickup like the one used in Cannonball Run.
The auction house released a statement following the actor’s death September 6th, 2018. “All of us at Barrett-Jackson were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Burt Reynolds. We will always treasure the many special moments he shared with us and are honored to have several of his cars crossing the block at our 2018 Las Vegas Auction.”
Reynolds was quite the car collector at the height of his fame. In recent years, he had started selling off some of his more well-known vehicles. All three of the vehicles going for auction, in Las Vegas, two Pontiac Firebirds and a 1987 Chevrolet pickup were part of Reynolds’ personal collection and signed by the actor.
According to Barrett-Jackson, nearly all of the vehicles that Reynolds owned were re-creations of cars used in his films. “The original cars used in the movies were disposed of, due to liability reasons,” says Reynold’s friend and business partner Gene Kennedy of Bandit Movie Cars Florida. “Universal Studios wouldn’t allow the sale of cars that may have had some frame damage from the stunts performed.” They’ve worked extensively with Restore a Muscle Car in Nebraska to make sure the re-creations are kept to the level of restoration and value they should be. “They’re historic pieces of time from the ’70s,” says Kennedy, “and we want to keep them that way.” Kennedy worked with Reynolds on the re-creations and served as a caretaker for Reynolds’ vehicles.
These are the three vehicles that are being auctioned with “No Reserve”, which means they will be sold to the highest bidder.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit
According to the Barrett-Jackson brochure, “Lot #709 - From the Burt Reynolds Collection and Bandit Movie Cars Florida, LLC. The “Black Bandit” was created under Mr. Reynolds’ direction. He wanted a car that was as movie-correct as possible and could be driven with some new comforts, yet still retain its originality. It features new air-conditioning components and a custom-built 200-4R automatic transmission made specifically for Mr. Reynolds’ project. Powering this Trans Am is a freshly rebuilt Pontiac 400ci engine with all-new Butler Performance parts.” The Trans Am is said to be an exact duplicate of the car used in “Smokey and the Bandit” – right down to the CB antenna.
1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula from Hooper
Lot #710 is a re-creation of the Pontiac Firebird Formula from the movie Hooper, which co-starred Jan Michael Vincent.
According to the Barrett-Jackson brochure, “Lot #710 - From the Burt Reynolds Collection and Bandit Movie Cars Florida, LLC. Burt Reynolds’ personal Retro-Rocket car from the movie “Hooper.” This Firebird Formula is one of the last cars in Mr. Reynold's personal collection and it’s powered by a 403ci V8 engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission.” It also has new air-conditioning and all-new Butler Performance Parts. The car also comes with a replica of the silver jacket that Reynolds wore in the movie.
1987 Chevrolet R30 Pickup from Cannonball Run
Lot #711 is a re-creation of the 1987 Chevrolet R30 Indy Hauler that was featured in the movie about cross-country auto racing called Cannonball Run. The movie featured a stunt with the truck supposedly jumping over a moving train.
According to the Barrett-Jackson brochure, “Lot #711 - From the Burt Reynolds Collection and Bandit Movie Cars Florida, LLC, this is a re-creation of the Indy Hauler pace truck made famous by Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham in the 1981 movie "Cannonball Run." It has custom two-tone paint re-creating the Indy Hauler livery used on the movie truck. Under the hood is a 496ci V8 engine with FiTech fuel injection and 4L80E automatic transmission. Upgraded with modern comforts like power steering, power brakes and air conditioning. CARFAX shows California damage report on 04/08/2009: Accident reported, vehicle involved in a sideswipe collision involving side impact with another motor vehicle.”
Reynolds died from a heart attack at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida on September 6, 2018 at the age of 82. While he made dozens of films and starred in several different television shows, Smokey and the Bandit I and II, Hooper, and Cannonball Run were favorites with audiences. The three vehicles that will be sold this weekend are said to be the last of his personal collection. His death may make the re-creations more valuable. You can find more information about the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction here.