Burt Reynolds Tribute: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The passing of movie legend Burt Reynolds is a major blow to film buffs and automotive enthusiasts everywhere. The actor single-handedly “made” the Smokey and the Bandit franchise a hit, and firmly cemented the black-and-gold Trans Am into movie car lore similar to the Bond-driven Aston Martin and self-driving VW Bug. This 1980 Trans Am Black and Gold Special Edition is a survivor apparently emerging from long-term storage, and you’ll find it here on eBay in original condition. 

With under 54,000 miles, the Trans Am presents extremely well in areas like the cabin. The seller says the Trans Am came with every option offered by Pontiac at the time: “Loaded with all the options. It has gold premium turbo alloy wheels, new shocks. Never wrecked, includes original jack and spare that was never touched, air conditioning, T-tops that don’t leak with both bags. All gauges work, even clock. It has the WS6 performance package, the Y84 gold special edition, power windows, power locks, rear defroster, tilt wheel, cruise control, power trunk, vanity mirror, power antenna, 4-wheel disc brakes, power antenna.” 

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The 4.9L turbocharged 301 mill is said to also be all-original, and the low mileage is reflected in the condition of the engine bay. The seller notes that production of the 1980 and 1981 special edition cars was far lower than the 1979 SE, accounting for 3,444 cars compared to 9874, respectively, or 5,683 of the 10th Anniversary cars. With the passing of Burt Reynolds, I have to believe the true tribute cars to Smokey and the Bandit, made when the movie was in its heyday, will begin to appreciate further than they already have.

As the seller notes, “So for you true Bandit lovers, here is your chance to own the real deal Y-84 Gold Special Edition Trans Am!” While there will be other chances to own a car like this, one has to wonder if the celebrity connection will drive the prices higher in the short-term. It makes you wonder if that’s why this collector in Utica is putting his up for sale now. If you owned one like this, would you hold it or push it out there for sale?

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    Since Burt’s passing, my guess is we are going to see a lot of Smokey and the Bandit Trans Ams of various model years hitting the market. These 301 turbocharged models never got my adrenalin flowing like the ’79s did.

    8
    • Mark

      Poor Idea with the lame 301 Turbo…

  2. Steve R

    These were always cool looking cars.

    Late-70’s and early-80’s are almost non existent in California due to the states smog laws and the availability of cheap and plentiful muscle cars through the late-80’s. The self service junk yards were literally littered with these cars in the late-80’s and early-90’s. Even today you are much more likely to see a “survivor” first generation Camaro driving around by their geriatric owner than a Bandit era Trans Am. It’s unfortunate, these cars would have survived in much greater numbers due to the favorable weather if they would have aged out of mandatory emissions testing.

    Steve R

    5
    • JoeNYWF64

      & are you also saying lots of Calif t/a’s had their cat converters/air pumps(if so equipped) removed? & when they could not pass Calif emissions, those not in junkyards were moved to other states where there were no emission tests? A lot in junkyards? – hard to believe many of these rusted out, out THERE with so little rain & no snow. While here in NYC area, i think we’ve had more rain since ’79, than So Cal has had in the last million yrs! lol.
      Leaving ’70s cars out in the rain(or worse, driving them in the rain) was a death sentence. They leaked water inside even when new!! & rusted all over the bodies! -not just the rockers & wheelwells.
      If the cat converter is still on 1 of these cars or if even an aftermkt one is fitted, the car should have no problem passing Calif emissions.
      The ’74’s were the hardest to pass, since they were the last ones b4 cat converters were fitted, & even non Calif emission standards were a lot stricter for ’74 than for, say, ’68.
      I would actually also expect to see a lot of Chevy Vegas still out there, due to the lack of rain & snow. Poor or even bare metal should not rust if it don’t get wet.
      & it’s not humid either in Southern Calif !

      1
      • Steve R

        These cars cycled through the junkyards before they became collectable, I don’t recall a strong collectors market for late-70’s F-bodies in the mid-80 to late-80’s. Even the buyers coming into the state to purchase cars were probably ignoring these cars, instead theny were after 60’s and 70’s muscle cars.

        It seems like you don’t understand how California emissions testing works. Post 1975 cars have to have ALL of their original emissions equipment installed and functioning, these cars will always need to pass emissions testing to get registered, they will never age out of the system since there is no rolling exemption. Part of the problem is, the law wasn’t written until the mid-1980’s, by then many late-70’s and early-80’s cars had much, if not all of their emissions equipment removed. There was one loophole, if an earlier engine had been installed prior to the passage of the law, and there was paperwork to support the swap, the car could be smogged based on the year of the engine. That was highly uncommon and the car had to be certified by the state and a tag a-fixed to the door jamb. For a while you could pay of smog stations, but that didn’t last long and became really expensive.

        You are right, these cars would not have rusted out. But they were relegated to duty as cheap beaters and driven into the ground.

        Steve R

        5
  3. Max

    Not much a sports car fan Trans Am or any other but a Burt Reynolds fan seen lots his movies sadly he passed away !

    2
  4. RoughDiamond

    Since Burt’s passing, my guess is we are going to be seeing more of these Smokey and the Bandit Trans Ams of various model years coming up for sale. These 301 turbocharged models never got my adrenalin flowing like the ’78-’79s did, but I know for some they are the Creme de la Creme (accent marks missing) when it comes to the Trans Ams.

  5. Michael Groves

    I like the 77 Bandit Editions.

    8
  6. Bugs on my sunvisors Member

    Sally Field!

    2
  7. Pete Kaczmarski

    My friend and I drove a new 1980 Trans Am in 1980. Wow what a dog. Anyone considering this year or newer should test drive these early turbo charged cars. There were a huge disappointment.

    5
  8. Bob C.

    True, the 301 turbo made sense at the time economy wise, but it was nothing like the 400. A friend of mine had an 81, and it was a turd.

    1
  9. Classic Steel

    Bandit one to readers please help get these babies up to 75k because momma wants to take a cruise and stop working at the piggly wiggly 🤠😆

    These are nice but who knows someone retiring with a big payout might help drive it up…

    If only Jerry Reid was around to rewrite
    “they call him the bandit” to these flippers or owners are now the bandits 😏👍👀

    3
  10. Big Mike

    I owned a 79 Trans Am for awhile, got it is a good deal that included the Car I actually wanted, but that is a different story.
    What I really wanted was the actually Model year of the original car used in the Movie which of course was the 1977 Trans Am.

    The Special Edition Package, sometimes referred to as the Bandit package, consisted of a gold bird decal on the hood, gold pin striping, German-style T/A lettering and twin gold front grilles. Also, all Trans Am’s with the Special Edition package were painted black and came with 15 x 7 snowflake wheels with gold inserts. Interior-wise, all Special Editions had gold engine-turned dash bezels and gold-accented steering wheels. The Special Edition package had option code Y81 without T-tops and Y82 with Hurst T-tops.

    Drivers wanting a little more oomph could opt for the W72 Handling Package. This got you a version of the Pontiac 400 V8 with 200 horsepower, 325 lb-ft of torque and an 8.0:1 compression ratio. Buyers also had a choice between a 4-speed manual transmission and a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. This package got you 20 more horsepower over the Trans Am’s standard 400 V8. That might not sound like much, but remember, this was 1977, and drivers were happy to get any performance car with 200 or more horsepower.

    With the passing of Burt Reynolds if people want the correct car for the Movie they are going to be costly.

    • Bob C.

      Hey Big Mike, true 200 horsepower was pretty impressive in 1977. But keep in mind that we’re talking SAE net. you measured it in gross, it would be, say about 260 give or take. Horsepower went down with lowering the compression beginning in 1971, but looked a lot worse on paper.

  11. 80s Time Traveler

    The turbo t/a was used in Smokey and the Bandit 2 , S/B 3 used the new body 82 , clever marketing on Pontiacs part , always keeping their current model in play , Hal Needham must have had a sweetheart deal with Pontiac , even using them for cop cars . This one looks correct for a bandit , ws6 package , gold toned turbo rims , full gold pinstripe package , very nice

  12. Fiete T.

    Give me a ’70-’73, dark metallic green, manual trans, 400, w/rear spoiler any day over one of these black & gold ones. I’m a fan of the 1st movie, but the next 2 were straight “Cash in” films.

  13. Gay Car Nut

    Like many movie fans, I loved Burt Reynolds, and was saddened by his passing. He was an awesome actor. And this is perhaps the best looking appearance for the 2nd gen Firebird Trans Am.

    1
  14. Danny

    my brother had this exact same car. Had it at his last place of employment in East Stroudsburg PA. For family reasons he ended up having to move cross country suddenly & his boss said he could leave it in storage there till he could get it. Few months later the boss ended up selling the car without telling us saying that he had to cover an outstanding debt and he wouldn’t tell us what the amount was or how much he sold the car for. The local police said I couldn’t file a theft report because the car wasn’t registered, so it was a civil matter . Years later found out the chief with his best friend. I always keep an eye out for a that car missing a center console, I still have the console in my basement.

    • Danny

      Exact same year, model & edition I mean.

      P.S. Bert was one of my favorite actors of all time. Probably my favorite movie, or rather movie franchise was The Cannonball Run. I never laughed so hard till I first saw that movie.

  15. Seymour Doless

    Looks like Burt’s last facelift.

  16. Darren

    Owned this very same car , great driving cars went down the road great , comfortable inside but that 301 turbo was only good as a boat anchor . Blew a head gasket and couldn’t get the poncho 400 I had on the stand in there quick enough !

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