’77 Trans Am. Thanks to Smokey and the Bandit, sales of this fast and fun hotrod spiked in the late ‘70s.

The ’77 Trans Am is easily one of the most intimidating and hardcore looking cars on Earth. Even more is that big golden Firebird on the hood. You just can’t ignore its slick look. Maybe for that very reason, a black-and-gold Special Edition was chosen to be a part of the ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ movie. Pair a car like that, with a bad-to-the-bone, cowboy-hat-wearing Burt Reynolds (Bandit) and as a mechanic, we understand why this car gained so much popularity.

The gentlemen at General Motors were more than happy to see that sales of this fast and fun hotrod, basically skyrocketed over two years after the film’s release, doubling to what they were before! Because of this, the President of Pontiac, promised to give Reynolds a brand new Firebird every year.

In 1977 the Trans am received a very distinctive restyling – the slanted nose, and four square headlights, by which it is most easily recognized by. The all-known Chevrolet inline six engine was dropped in favor of Buick and Oldsmobile V6 and V8 engines, but as fuel economy was a top concern, the performance had to suffer. Even so, the sales didn’t take a hit, and in 1978 Pontiac sold almost 190,000 cars, and it was the best sales years ever, and it was all thanks to ‘Smokey and the Bandit’. In 1980 a turbocharged version was introduced to further improve the vehicle’s emissions, as well as mileage, but the single Garett turbo unit turned out to be a step too far, as it often lead to engines being destroyed without any prior warning. Unfortunately, that sealed the fate of the car, as there were only about 71,000 sales in 1980, and 1981 combined, less than 40% of 1978 sales.

Like Pontiac, Burt Reynolds also took a financial hit in 2014, and was forced put his Firebird up for auction. Even though the final bid was not expected to go over $80,000, the actual sale price of the car was a whopping $450,000.

Try as we might, we cannot deny that the fact that Firebird has a legacy to be proud of, and it may not be the fastest, but it is truly one of the best looking hotrods of all time.