Burt Reynolds' Coolest Movie Cars - Maxim

Behold, The Coolest Burt Reynolds Movie Cars

The late actor drove more than just that iconic "Smokey and the Bandit" Trans Am.
Author:
Publish date:
1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

Burt Reynolds helped make the black-and-gold 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am one of the most iconic film cars in history, but the Florida good ol' boy made a slew of classic car chase movies, with enduringly cool rides in each one.

1972 Ford LTD

1972 Ford LTD

Reynolds practiced his car jumping scenes early on, starting with 1973's White Lightning, in which he played an ex-convict helping federal agents break up a moonshine ring.

Burt Reynolds White Lightning

The film's poster touches on themes Reynolds would revisit throughout his career; the clash with police, rambunctious driving and a scantily-clad passenger, natch.

Four years later we got fans' favorite, Reynold's signature '77 Trans-Am in Smokey and the Bandit. We've seen cars from the movie sell at auction in recent years for big numbers, and there are now modern recreations that are built on the current Camaro chassis.

2017 Trans-Am recreation

2017 Trans-Am recreation

The original Firebird was a twin of the Camaro, so the current Camaro is a natural source for Trans-Am Worldwide to create its modern Bandit tribute cars.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

The next year, Reynolds followed up on his smash success in Smoky and the Bandit by stretching himself, with a switch from a black '77 Trans-Am and Sally Field to a red '77 Trans-Am and, uh, Sally Field when he played a movie stuntman in Hooper.

1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

Reynolds returned to a black Pontiac for the 1980 Smoky and the Bandit II. This car featured familiar paint, but an ugly new front end treatment and a weakling emissions control-choked Pontiac 301 small block V8 in place of the '77 car's 400 cubic inch big block.

1977 Dodge Tradesman 200

1977 Dodge Tradesman 200

1981's Cannonball Run saw Reynolds trying to outsmart the law rather then outrun them, but using an ambulance to speed across the country with its lights ablaze.

1983 Ford Thunderbird stock car

1983 Ford Thunderbird stock car

Enough trying to fake people, Reynolds got serious about driving fast by playing a stock car racer in 1983's Stroker Ace, when he drove one of the sleek new '83 Ford Thunderbirds that Bill Elliott used to dominate superspeedway races in the '80s.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Screaming Chicken" - In 1979, charged with marketing a “muscle-car” that made 200 horsepower on a good day, the people at Pontiac painted their interpretation of a Firebird on the hood. It is colloquially known as “The Screaming Chicken.” Pontiac is no longer in business. 

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Screaming Chicken" 

Reynolds wrapped up his motorized mayhem era of filmmaking with 1984's better-forgotten Cannonball Run II, which movie critic Gene Siskel named his least-liked movie, and with good cause. We'll choose to just remember the good movies and the good cars.