My name is Joe Smoczyk and I first saw Smokey and The Bandit when I was 4 years old. I was sitting on the floor in front of the TV playing with my vintage 1977 HotWheels Hotbird car and I looked up to see the first jump scene as the Bandit went over the non-existent bridge. I recall mimicking the rest of the stunts in the movie with my car as the movie progressed. After that I largely forgot about the movie until I was 16 when I saw it again. My family was going to my aunt’s house to swim in her pool and my mom told me to stop at the movie shop and ask for Smokey and The Bandit; I didn’t recognize the name and she just told me it was a funny movie. Later that afternoon I popped the tape in and as I watched the opening scenes I had the strangest feeling I had seen this film before……. and when Bandit went into the trailer and brought the car out, I knew I had to have one. It was so awesome looking! I hadn’t even seen it in action yet and already I wanted one! Naturally I was upset when Snowman plopped Fred on the hood. I spent the next few years saving and searching for a Trans Am just like the Bandit’s. After several false starts and close calls, I had decided that if I didn’t have one by the time I hit 21 wouldn’t bother for the rest of my life. In April of 2005 a guy I knew at church told me he had a Trans Am for sale. I went to look at the car and found it to be a 1978 T/A with a 1974 SD-455 and it was red with a black interior and t-tops. I told him it wasn’t what I was looking for. A few more months rolled by and having no success in finding the black car of my dreams I decided to buy the red ’78. That story is for another time but needless to say I had partially met my goal but my desire for a ’77 SE was stronger than ever.
I had found the perfect car less than 20 miles from my house but the owner wouldn’t sell. I pestered him for 6 years straight, calling once a month, stopping in once every fall…… finally on June 22nd, 2007 he relented and sold me the car. The selling price was $2,500.00 for an original 1977 Trans Am SE, with AC, power windows, power locks, electric rear defrost, remote trunk release and all. The only piece of paper I didn’t get was the build sheet, the only mouse nest in the car was directly beneath the sheet and it was in thousands of tiny pieces. I have the original window sticker, all the manuals, accessories catalog, the dealer invoice, the down payment receipt and payment in full receipt. The car was in fair condition, it had sat outside under a tree for close to ten years; there was some moss and lichens in the crevices and the paint felt very coarse. There was some significant rust on the lower portions of the rear quarters and the floorpans had a 6” band that was rusted through. The car had been repainted in the mid ‘80s for reasons currently unknown. It also currently sports a cloth interior though the documentation says it had a vinyl set.
The car will be shipped to Transformation Restorations of Port Allegheny, PA for a complete restoration in late September. In the meantime I have enjoyed driving the car to work every day and the only thing I’ve had to replace was the muffler and the front shocks.
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