In a low, good-ole-boy grumble, the representative for Trans Am Worldwide told me that the Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am on display at the New York International Auto Show was already sold to a customer in Dubai. “You know, all of those guys have Ferraris and Lamborghinis. If you want to get noticed, you drive something like this. Our cars are popular there.”
Signed personally by Burt Reynolds, star of the iconic “Smokey & the Bandit” trilogy, the Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am starts life the same way every vehicle built by Trans Am Worldwide does. With a fifth-generation Chevy Camaro SS. Officially licensed to build the cars, the company undertakes a significant styling conversion and offers the 7T7 Trans Am in a variety of color combinations as well as with varying degrees of equipment and performance.
You can buy the 7T7 Trans Am for as little as $70,000. That includes the basic styling conversion with all the important “Screaming Chicken”-era details, a 1-inch suspension drop, an anti-roll sway bar kit, quad exhaust outlets, and beautiful 20-inch snowflake-design aluminum wheels wrapped in staggered-width Pirelli P Zero performance tires.
Extras push the price closer to 6-figure territory, and in a hurry. You can get custom-crafted T-top roof panels and painted graphics to replace the vintage-style decals, as well as upgrades such as a navigation system, two-tone leather seats, and “78 Style” instrumentation. In the past, the company has also built convertible versions of the 7T7 Trans Am.
Naturally, performance enhancements are also available. A cold air intake system and a Hurst short-throw shifter add to the fun, but for more power you’ll need one of three different performance packages. They bump the 6.2-liter V8 engine’s output from 420 horsepower to as much as 720 horsepower through supercharging, freer flowing exhaust systems, and other modifications.
In addition to making the 7T7 Trans Am, the company also builds a 6T9 Judge using the same Camaro donor car. Modeled after the classic ’69 GTO Judge, and available in both coupe and convertible formats, the 6T9 Judge is compelling. But the one I want is the Bandit Edition.
Obviously, it is black with gold painted graphics and gold snowflake wheels. Trans Am Worldwide sources white-lettered Goodyear Eagle F1 tires for this version of the car and equips it with an 840 Extreme performance package, which shoves a 7.4-liter V8 crate engine beneath its bird-bedecked hood. Bolt on a 2.9-liter supercharger and make a few other enhancements, and company co-founder Tod Warmack promises “840 horsepower to the crank.”
Trans Am Worldwide’s New York show car was the first of just 77 examples of the Bandit Edition that will be built, each bearing the signature of the man who can wear a Stetson, bushy mustache, flared jeans, and cowboy boots like nobody else. If you’re ready to get eastbound and down, plan to spend around $125,000 for a Bandit Edition 7T7 Trans Am. With all the extras, the car will run $150,000.
Compared to a relatively common Ferrari or Lamborghini, that’s a bargain.
What classic movie or TV car would you most like to buy and drive?