QOTD: What Would 'The Modern Bandit' Drive?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
qotd what would 8216 the modern bandit drive

Burt Reynolds and his 1977 Pontiac Trans Am in “Smokey and the Bandit”, complete with gold on black screaming chicken and honeycomb wheels, are solidly part of the zeitgeist of the late ’70s.

But what if they weren’t?

From Burt’s perfectly manicured mustache to the Trans Am’s perfectly sculpted grille resembling said mustache, the film about running Coors beer from Texarkana to Georgia is solidly a product of its time. Being born seven years after the release of “Smokey and the Bandit” and in a country with arguably very different ideas on what constitutes beer, I’ve never fully-grasped the cultural relevance of the flick.

Bringing the idea as a concept into modern day cinema, you get pretty close to the first instalment of “The Fast and the Furious” – uber-macho main character that smuggles/steals, a handsome cop who takes a liking to a female character with ties to said uber-macho main character, and a plot wrapped around a series of car chases (let’s call that filler). But, just like the ’70s film, the first F&F is also very much a product of its time. Released 14 (!!!) years ago, almost every vehicle sans Toretto’s Charger is a disposable heap ‘tuned’ with horsepower stickers and very, very fast lowering kits.

We still have the F&F franchise to satiate our need for over-the-top car chases interwoven with mind-numbing plot. What we don’t have is the purity of The Bandit giving Smokey a hard time.

Let’s bring “Smokey and the Bandit” into 2015.

First, we need to start with the star, not the car, because – let’s face it – Burt is a year shy of turning 80 and probably not the person you want leading an action-comedy. This requires us to identify some sort of modern day Burt Reynolds equivalent. We also must be careful jumping the casting shark – looking at you “The Dukes of Hazzard”.

My suggestion: Ryan Reynolds. While his ability to grow a mustache is limited, Ryan has the ability to compensate using witty charm and overall good looks. Also, his smile is as devilish as any grin thrown by the aforementioned Burt. To top it off, Ryan is a genuine gearhead, though mostly of the two-wheeled variety with a penchant for Deus bikes.

Obviously, the Bandit can’t ride a bike (well, he probably can, but won’t). For all the character’s tough guy flaws, I can’t see Bandit wearing a shirt emblazoned with “If You Can Read This, The Bitch Fell Off” across his back like a pseudo biker gang member with a dental degree. The Bandit would never let said lady fall off in the first place. So, our leading man must drive a car or at least something enclosed with four wheels that can be licensed for highway use.

Let’s use the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am’s then $8,000 value as a baseline. That brings us to a llittle under $35,000 in today’s money. Also, you probably don’t want another 1977 Pontiac Trans Am even if you can acquire one at $35,0000 threshold as any Screaming Chicken (not the euphemism) on sale today has sat around a used car lot acting as a beacon for simple-minded slack-jawed mouth-breathers to come in and spend their cash a la Jeremy Piven’s “ The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.” You’ll probably want to go new – or nearly new – so let’s put a limit on this car being MY2010 or greater.

So, restrictions set – 2010 or newer, $35,000 “speedy car” budget – what would ‘The Modern Bandit’ drive? BONUS: Since you can now buy Coors – for better or worse – virtually anywhere, what would Snowman be smuggling to Georgia?

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2 of 80 comments
  • 05lgt 05lgt on Jun 09, 2015

    Chris Rock in a Raptor running interference for a Transit full of Cush.

  • Mjolnir427 Mjolnir427 on Jun 10, 2015

    Lot of great suggestions here. I would absolutely go see, on opening weekend, a Bandit remake starring Ryan Reynolds/Tina Fey/Terry Crewes/Peter Dinklage/Tommy Lee Jones/et al. Here's my question: why hasn't this movie been made yet? The plot writes itself, casting should be fairly easy, other than payroll production costs should be low.... all the shitty remakes we suffer through (Poltergeist, anyone) and this one isn't being done?

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.