QOTD: What Would 'The Modern Bandit' Drive?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

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?

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • 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?

  • Vatchy Just think how many electric vehicles could be charged from a new nuclear power plant...
  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!