The Smokey and the Bandit-era infectious diseases worldwide Ams set the standard for the T/A"s iconic picture in the eyes of the American public. A complete of 42,205 S/E trans Ams-as Pontiac officially dubbed the black-and-gold Bandits-were produced in between "77 and "81, and today their reputation is legendary. Yet there"s an additional on-screen auto from the struggle movie Smokey and also the Bandit that has actually a legend the its own-the "77 LeMans four-door sedan made renowned by Jackie Gleason in the role of Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
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"What fun is a Bandit Trans to be if there"s no Sheriff Buford T. Justice chasing it?" Adam Harder, a 30-year-old automobile restorer in Hartland, Wisconsin, and also Clint Clausing, a 38-year-old engine builder and speed shop manager in Butler, Wisconsin, phone call High power Pontiac. "That"s why us teamed up to construct a tribute come Buford T. Justice"s high-speed-pursuit highway enforcer native Smokey and the Bandit.
Adam describes how the idea was born: "Clint and I chose to purchase this auto while we were top top the hot Rod Power tourism in June 2008. After following some slow-moving Corvettes on a two-lane roadway through the hills of Missouri, the road opened up to four lanes; I obtained in the left happen lane and also let the horses run complimentary on my "78 infectious diseases worldwide Am. Clint
Two month later, the men situated a 16,000-mile "77 cool LeMans in mountain Antonio, Texas. It was just 350 mile from the genuine Montague County, Texas, the jurisdiction of the fictitious Buford T. Justice. The men took it as providence that they had discovered the right LeMans for the ho-hum to high-speed highway-pursuit conversion. "We knew the the car model used in Smokey and also the Bandit was the LeMans, not the grand LeMans, and also that the movie car"s interior was Blue, not Buckskin, yet the cool LeMans remained in such incredible shape that we figured we would never ever find another one so clean," Clint says.
Like numerous of the 13,165 grand LeMans produced in "77, the donor four-door came factory-equipped v a 301/two-barrel engine rated in ~ a dismal 135 hp, a Turbo 350 column-shift transmission, and a 2.56 open rear. "All the was going to change," Adam says.
He and also his friend Tom Bumann decontented the cool LeMans by removing its trim, welding up the trim holes, removed its Cordova top, and also filling in the body seams. Lock sanded and also stripped the body of its initial Bahia environment-friendly Poly paint and confirmed the car"s pristine condition. "The body was very nice and also rust free, and didn"t require any type of restorative work," Adam recalls.
Tom perform the paintwork. The primed the grand LeMans v two coats that U-Tech E350 Epoxy Primer. Following block sanding, he used Spies Hecker HS Premium Surfacer, and then Spies Hecker Permacron Vario Surfacer. Afterwards, he applied two coats that Spies Hecker Brentwood Brown Poly base, complied with by three coats the Spies Hecker clear. (Adam decided Brentwood Brown because it"s a "77 Pontiac offering and likely can have been supplied on the movie car, but he wasn"t able to verify this.) Adam"s brothers Dan more difficult wet-sanded the painted body through a progression of grits, approximately 2,000 and polished it through 3M products.
Designing the door decals come mimic Buford T. "s movie automobile proved to it is in a challenge, Adam admits. He offered a digital camera to record still images of the LeMans onscreen and then supplied the digital picture as recommendation to redraw the decals. "They"re really close to the originals-nobody but whomever was affiliated with the initial decals" manufacturing would have the ability to tell the difference," he says.
The cabin retains its factory-issued, password 64W Buckskin vinyl interior, door panels, dash, carpet, and also trim, which, as Adam currently stated, is one major area wherein the tribute differs from the actual movie automobile (which had actually a code 24R2 Blue interior.) chris Lawson from Waukesha, Wisconsin, included the in-dash Pontiac 120-mph speedometer and also 6,000-rpm tachometer, rally gauges, a Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo, and a Uniden 40-channel CB. The course, the Buford T. LeMans inner would no be virtually as realistic there is no a siren-/light-control system, i m sorry Adam uncovered in a police surplus store and also he and also Chris installed.
Next came the engine. "We really wanted to make the LeMans much more powerful than any type of Bandit that it may have to chase," Adam says. "It shouldn"t come together a surprise that we yanked the 301 out. What might be shocking, however, is how excessive we go on the engine build."
A custom-grind camer Motion hydraulic flat-tappet cam-241/241-degrees duration in ~ 0.050, 0.556/0.556-inch lift, and a 114-degree lobe-separation angle-directs the valvetrain action. "The engine displacement is so big and the LeMans is for this reason heavy, i didn"t want to go through a classic Pontiac camer design. Our tradition grind permits the 4,200-pound LeMans sedan to throw you ago in your seat at 2,500 rpm and also pull prefer a freight train to 5,500 rpm," Clint says.
Ignition counts upon one HEI distributor, when spark travels v Taylor 8mm wires come Autolite 3924 plugs. Exhaust exits through Hedman Hedders v 1 3/4-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors, and also then with a Torque tech 3-inch X-pipe, twin 3-inch pipes, Dynomax UltraFlo mufflers, and also 3-inch tailpipes v Magnaflow chrome tips.
Clint retirement the original factory torque converter and also Turbo 350 in favor of an automatic Transmission style (ATD) 2,000-stall custom converter (with a driver-activated hands-on lock-up) and a TransMasters 700-R4 automatically trans, which move the power through a custom-built driveshaft to a stock GM rearend that has been upgraded through a Safe-T-Track, and also Richmond 3.23 gears. The factory disc/drum brake setup now attributes a Hydratech strength braking system-a hydraulic aid system that operates turn off of the stock power steering instead of the original vacuum-assist power-brake booster.
The front suspension remains greatly stock (including that is 1.125-inch front sway bar), except for KYB gas shocks and Energy Suspension polyurethane manage arm bushings. The car handles better than a manufacturing facility LeMans many thanks to rear upgrades, including Spohn upper and also lower control arms, and also a 1.5-inch guide bar, which match a 2nd set that KYB gas shocks and stock springs.
The "Cop Car," as Adam and also Clint call the Buford T. LeMans, debuted in ~ the 2009 Bandit Run, and also travelled v the Bandit Runners from Branson, Missouri, to Braselton, Georgia, yet without the rotating police lights. In ~ the previous year, Adam uncovered time to fabricate mounting brackets for the system, which offers the LeMans one even much more authentic appearance.
High performance Pontiac met Adam, Clint, and also the Buford T. LeMans in ~ the 2010 Bandit run from Atlanta, Georgia, come Kissimmee, Florida, wherein the two co-owners met up v someone who fit ideal in v their LeMans-a Sheriff Buford T. Justice impersonator named David Betz indigenous St. Joseph, Missouri, that was delighted to pose v the automobile at event stops transparent the run. "It to be pretty strange, yet funny and cool, too, to satisfy up with a Buford T. Justice lookalike during the most recent Bandit Run," Adam says. "It really completed the story of Smokey and also the Bandit for every the people we met follow me the way."
At any given Pontiac auto show, you"ll likely discover at the very least one Smokey and also the Bandit infectious diseases worldwide Am, but there are just a handful of world who have gone come the great effort the recreating the Sheriff Buford T. Justice LeMans. In 30 years of High power Pontiac, this is the an initial one that us have ever featured.
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