After having read about it in the August '07 issue of HPP, you know that YearOne approached Burt Reynolds about lending his name, ideas, and likeness to a special, handbuilt run of Trans Ams to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit. The result of the combined efforts of the YearOne staff, President Kevin King, Chief Designer Phil Brewer, and Burt himself, is presented here.
Keith Maney, director of special projects at YearOne, told HPP, "The idea behind the Burt Reynolds Edition (BRE) T/A program was to build a Trans Am that maintained the visual appeal of the original '77 SE model as used in Smokey and the Bandit while bringing the entire package up-to-date in terms of performance, driving experience, and amenities. While it was important to retain the heritage of the original so that anyone who saw it would immediately recognize the car as a "Bandit," we also wanted the entire package to be modern. This is why we've updated the lighting and graphics package, and flush-mounted the glass. The performance side of the equation was simple-we wanted to build the ultimate Second-Gen F-body using the finest components that were currently available."
Which BRE T/A Is This?
Prototype 2, which HPP drove and photographed for this story, is not the same car that was recently featured in Hot Rod. Keith explains, "This car is the second BRE T/A prototype, and is really the first complete car. Prototype 1 was primarily a visual one used to finalize the appearance package. Conversely, Prototype 2 is representative of a BAN III-level BRE T/A."
On The Road
Having owned a '77 T/A since about 1990, I was excited to drive the BRE Bird to compare and contrast it with memories of driving mine. Sure, the years go by, but the visceral impressions of driving a Second-Gen T/A last a lifetime. Just getting into the BRE car released a flood of memories since it's like my T/A in basic form, yet it has been taken to an advanced level of performance and luxury.
Because no grand touring T/A worth its salt nowadays would be without all the comforts of home in a deluxe cabin, the BAN III version we drove was fitted with leather-clad Cerullo buckets. These seats were comfortable enough to contemplate parking your Barker Lounger out at the curb for the next pickup and bolting the passenger seat to the living-room floor in front of the big screen. They also offered plenty of adjustment to arrive at a perfect driving position and enough support everywhere to keep you planted but not constricted. The latter is the job of the G-Force five-point harnesses-they save lives, and happily, still allow you to reach the controls and pay tolls without requiring contortionist training.
Once seated and buckled in, you realize that the trick stock-appearing (yet much fatter) YearOne leather-wrapped reproduction Formula steering wheel feels more substantial in your hands than the stocker.
As you view the dash, once again the sight is familiar, yet different. The gold engine-turned panel looks like the stock SE T/A's, but it's fitted with custom Auto Meter Sport Comp II gauges. Vintage Air A/C controls hint of another modern upgrade, and the Alpine DVD/Nav head unit with optional touch-screen control takes up residence just above the console. Boston Acoustics speakers live in custom door panels (the amps and subwoofer are in the trunk).
With a twist of the key, the 605-horse 7.0L LS7 engine jumps to life and rumpety-rumps somewhat like a cammed-up engine of old.
Clutch pedal effort feels a lot like a stocker despite the modern Pro Motion hydraulic linkage and HD Ram dual-disc setup. The Pro Motion shifter for the Tremec TKO 600 five-speed is quite stiff and takes some getting used to, but the throws are incredibly short.
Once underway, the T/A rumbles down the road with an authoritative exhaust note thanks to a full 3-inch system, which was developed by YearOne, with 2-inch primary stainless steel headers made by Stainlessworks. It features a MagnaFlow x-type crossover, twin MagnaFlow mufflers, tails, and factory-appearing splitters.
Though we did not have an opportunity for any instrumented testing, we were able to drive the BRE T/A for quite awhile on the back roads and highways around Cleveland just prior to the Hot Rod Power Tour kickoff. This provided a good impression of its real-world street manners.
Despite the fact the suspension had yet to be fully dialed-in, the ride was liveable, and the T/A handled the potholed roads and rough pavement without pitching, bottoming out, or rattling dental work loose. The power rack-and-pinion steering felt a bit overboosted, but that's another item that will be further tuned. Remember, this is a prototype. In the turns, the BRE T/A is stable and flypaper sticky, and the bolstered seats and snug harness keep your posterior off the console or door panel.
Of course, this is a mock-up-as no stock police car on the planet will catch this Burt Rey
Even the uninitiated will realize that something is special about this T/A just by its low
The dash fascia resembles the stock Trans Am gold engine-turned piece, but this one has be
Mashing your right foot into the carpet brings on the power like right now! With the four-link rear suspension set on the soft side and the super-wide Michelin Pilots out back, the BRE T/A squats and shoots like it should on launch. The quick-revving LS7, 3.73s in the rear, short tires, and the gearing in the Tremec conspire to make the Second-gear shift come up quick. With a stab of the clutch and a yank of the shifter-it seems like only about 2 inches-the 1-2 shift is complete. Not long after comes the 2-3, followed by the 3-4, and then the traffic-court side of the speedometer. Once you take your foot out of it, dropping the shifter into Fifth rewards you with lower revs and a more mellow exhaust note for effortless cruising at high speeds.
Need to stop? No problem. The 14-inch rotor, six-piston caliper Baer brakes and a Hydroboost system combined with those large contact patches at the four corners promise to rip off your sunglasses upon deceleration.
Of course, the lowered stance, fat tires, and throaty exhaust that provide so much fun from the driver seat do not go unnoticed by bystanders either. But do they realize how much this car is changed from a stock SE at a glance?
Here is Prototype 1 that was featured in Hot Rod magazine. It has a 0.030 over 455 Pontiac
Featured here is some door-handle ID.
YearOne Billet Snowflake wheels measure 18x10 in front, and are shod with 285/35ZR18 Miche
If you're a fan of the SE cars, then the body enhancements to the BRE T/A are readily apparent. Chief Designer Phil Brewer said of the stock SE, "It's a great design and still looks good today. We just wanted to update the areas of the car that made it look dated. The wheel and tire sizes are obvious, but I also felt the glass moldings, the four square headlights, and the amount of pinstriping dated the car too much."
Beginning at the beak, the nose is now one piece of fiberglass that has the area where the Pontiac arrowhead would be filled in. It also features driving lights with ports molded into the fascia. The blinker/parking lights have been removed for the lower air intakes, which now serve as brake cooling ducts and feature custom gold honeycomb inserts. The grilles are custom as well, with fabricated buckets installed to facilitate the use of projector-beam headlights in place of the stock quad system.
Beneath the nose is a custom-designed air dam flanked by wheel spats that may look familiar-or not. They resemble the '79-and-up pieces, but they're slightly different and are now flush-mounted with no welting, for a cleaner appearance.
Fresh graphics hearken back to the original, but add a dash of modern style and understatement. Brewer explains, "I felt the entire graphics package, of which the bird is the major component, needed to be toned down a bit-it needed to be more subtle. Ultimately, we decided that we could actually make the bird bigger than the original, but also make it more subtle by keeping it mostly matte black on gloss black, with gold highlights. We also covered the entire back of the hood in matte black to make the Shaker more prominent."
BRE T/As also feature flush glass for the windshield and the backlight. While the appearance is restrained, the process is involved. Not only did a 0.25-inch spacer have to be welded into each channel, but the compound curves of the stock rear glass are such that it could not be reused, so a custom one had to be produced for the BRE cars.
Out back, the spoiler and rear bumper remain stock, but sharp-eyed readers will notice, aside from the new graphics, that the taillights are much brighter and the backup lights are gone. The former is thanks to LEDs and the latter is now a single light, mounted beneath the bumper to follow the letter of the law.
All this is highlighted by multiple coats of BASF Glasurit in a base/clear system. The matte-black treatment was also used on the air dam, fender air extractors, and all the spoilers.
The graphics were designed by Phil Brewer and feature a gold bird with matte-black wing ti
Prototype 1's 496hp 455 features a WFO Performance Works Shaker air-cleaner base to facili
David Butler of Butler Performance (left) and Len Athanasiades, founder of YearOne, discus
Just so you never forget what you're driving and how special it is, all of these Burt Reyn
The BAN III prototype features a GMPP LS7 motor replete with its dry-sump oiling system us
The seats in Prototype 1 were done in Hobnail cloth with leather trim and, of course, the
Under The Hood
In the prototype we drove, YearOne had installed the optional GM Performance Parts (GMPP) LS7 engine, which features dry-sump oiling, a GM LS7 crank, GM titanium rods, and YearOne-requested GMPP forged pistons. A hotter-than-stock Katech Torquer LS7 hydraulic roller cam with 220/244-degrees duration, 0.615/0.648 lift using GM 1.8:1 LS7 roller trunnion rockers, and a 110-degree LSA was installed prior to bolting in the engine. CNC-ported LS7 heads, a composite intake, 40 lb/hr injectors, and a YearOne-installed 90mm Holley throttle body are employed. An MSD engine-management system with Delphi MEFI 4 ECM running a YearOne-developed map controls the 11:1 compression, 605-horse stormer.
The optional 535ci Pontiac engine can be had with an IA-II iron block or an IA-II/Butler aluminum block. Built by Butler Performance, the engine features a forged 4.500-inch stroke crank, Eagle H-beam rods, and Ross forged 4.350 pistons. A hydraulic roller cam with duration of approximately 260 degrees at 0.050 and lift near 0.600 inch with 1.65:1 rockers is used, as are ported E-heads with 2.19/1.77 valves. A modified and ported Victor intake with a Holley HP Series carburetor, or a Super Victor intake with F.A.S.T. fuel injection, are available. Ignition is from MSD, and the headers are Hookers with 2-inch-diameter primaries and 3.5-inch collectors. Compression is 10:1 and horsepower will be advertised at 650.
To complement the power output, the suspension was also completely reengineered.
The interior of the BAN III is a comfortable place to be. A thick, leather-wrapped steerin
A set of G-Force harnesses keeps the occupants planted firmly in the Cerullo leather-cover
The coilovers are Konis, and the rear wheelhouses were mini-tubbed for tire clearance.
On this BAN III, a custom subframe by Jim Meyer Racing not only provided an easier way to heavily modify the front suspension and add tire clearance, but also made mounting the GM LS7 engine much easier. Features include tubular front upper and lower control arms with Heim joints, rack-and-pinion steering, Vari-Shock billet aluminum coilover shocks, and a 0.875-inch stabilizer bar. To further stiffen the chassis, subframe connectors were custom made by YearOne.
A First-Gen four-link rear suspension by Detroit Speed & Engineering was modified to fit by YearOne in this Second-Gen. The system features adjustable tubular control arms and Panhard rod, and Koni adjustable coilover shocks. This suspension is adjustable for ride height, and for many other aspects that affect handling and launching.
Packages And Pricing
YearOne expects to build very few BAN I cars. In fact, Prototype 1 and another, for cable TV's DIY Network, will probably be the only two. BAN II T/As start at approximately $155,000 and can increase to $170,000 depending upon options. The BAN III is priced from $170,000 to $205,000 with all currently available options.
The main differences between the BAN II and III are in the drivetrain. All the body, interior, and suspension mods you just read about are included on both models, but the six-piston caliper, 14-inch disc brakes with an adjustable proportioning valve are optional on BAN II and standard on BAN III, as are the 18x12 rear wheels and larger 335/30ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.
A 430-horse 462ci Pontiac V-8 is standard in BAN II. Optionally available are a 500-horse LS2, a 550-horse Pontiac V-8, or a 600-horse supercharged LS2. A BAN II can be ordered with an automatic overdrive trans but a Ban III cannot. Engine choices for BAN III include a standard 515-horse 7.0-liter LS7, an optional 605-horse LS7, and the optional 535ci 650-horse iron or aluminum Pontiac V-8. Specific package breakdowns and optional equipment can be found at YearOne.com
Whether you're dodging slower traffic on the highway or simply rumbling through town, the BRE T/A will get you noticed by everyone from stoplight bandits to the local constabulary, who will keep a watchful eye on you. How many civilians realize that this BRE T/A offers a lot more than the stocker SE is anyone's guess, but amongst those in the know, the BRE T/A will provide instant status for a price. If you ever wondered how Burt would build his Bandit in this day and age, you now have your answer.
A Moser 12-bolt limited-slip houses a 3.73:1 gearset, and the driveshaft is a custom alumi
The front suspension was modernized with a custom subframe, tubular control arms, coilover
Check out the LED taillights at dawn.