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Author Topic: Smokey and Bandit Car - Engine?  (Read 14630 times)
Mark G
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« on: July 17, 2011, 11:35:48 AM »

Ok, I just watched Smokey and the Bandit the other day. There seems to be a lot of effortless smoking of the tires. Way more so than my 78 can do. The cars used for the movie were supposedly donated by GM, but does anybody know if they were 'prepped' in any way for more HP, either by GM or a specialty shop? What is known about the cars used for the movie?

Thanks,

Mark G
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winks79
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2011, 11:44:21 AM »

i'm pretty sure they were a couple of them that were warmed over a little bit. also, if you will notice, most scenes show automatic cars, but they used a 4-speed on some of those tire burning shots. dump the clutch and go.
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LeighP
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 06:20:12 PM »

I've read interviews that told at least one of the cars was a 455/4 speed - just for those tyre spinning scenes....since the cars were actually 76 models with pre-production 77 panels and parts, it stands to reason there could easily have been a 455 manual car used.
All shakers callouts in the movie were "6.6 LITRE" for continuity reasons, regardless of the engine used.
That being said, the engine sounds that were dubbed over the soundtrack for the T/A were supposedly recorded by the transport supply company using one of the BBC powered 55 chevies built for Two Lane Blacktop and later used in American Graffiti that the compan ystill owned at the time of production (1976).
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solargold
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 07:22:54 PM »

Hal himself in person at Bowling Green said the bridge jump scene was modified as the run length was to short for a stock car to make the jump, they needed 85mph in a sort distance and the drivetrain was a race car set up. Other than that he did not elaborate on the cars, except he was given 5 Trans Ams. he was asked about the dodge police cars that had shakers and he basically said he did not know where they came from, who did it, nor did he care.
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Mark C.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 03:44:12 PM »

Hal himself in person at Bowling Green said the bridge jump scene was modified as the run length was to short for a stock car to make the jump, they needed 85mph in a sort distance and the drivetrain was a race car set up. Other than that he did not elaborate on the cars, except he was given 5 Trans Ams. he was asked about the dodge police cars that had shakers and he basically said he did not know where they came from, who did it, nor did he care.

They got the motor from a local Nascar team in Ga. I believe it must of been a small block Chevy motor.

I guess the 76 or 77 model year cars used in the movie, may remain a mystery. I asked Hal one on one one night amd he doesn't have the foggiest idea what model year they were. All he said is the bridge seen totaled one, and the football field dugout scene killed another one. Said the last remaining TA would not start, so they pushed it into the final scene. Not sure if he meant final scene they shot or the final scene of the movie.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 05:07:30 PM »

Yup!  Movie directors usually do not give a rip about the cars.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to build a 1978 T/A for the movie "Eldorado", which is to  be released in the USA near the end of this year.  My first question to the director/producer was: "are you going to jump this car?", ala the "Smokey & the Bandit" bridge jumping scene.  He said no and did not jump it, at least with this one in the USA.  There were two T/As also in the U.K., but I don't know what happened to them, whether they were "jumped" or not -- at least until I see the movie.

Eventually, I delivered the USA T/A to one of the well-known actresses's place in Malibu, CA.  Apparently, it was (part of) her compensation for working in the movie.  See the movie and figure out who she is.
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solargold
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 06:53:01 PM »

He also said the river scene totaled one as the driver hit a boulder and it ripped the oil pan and transmission apart, that's 3 totaled.
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Maryland Bandit
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 07:21:57 PM »

Quote
Eventually, I delivered the USA T/A to one of the well-known actresses's place in Malibu, CA.  Apparently, it was (part of) her compensation for working in the movie.  See the movie and figure out who she is.


Shes a blonde, and played a mermaid.
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DriveIt
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 08:34:08 PM »

Daryl Hannah owns the '79 Trans Am from the Kill Bill movie.

http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com/node/1353
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Kevin
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OriginalHO
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 04:24:11 AM »

Shes a blonde, and played a mermaid.

Correctamundo.

Also, the "Eldorado" 1978 Trans Am is really a 1977 base 350 Firebird clone. If you are ever in Malibu, CA and see a bright yellow 78 T/A, that's the one.
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fiream773
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 08:22:04 AM »

...he was asked about the dodge police cars that had shakers and he basically said he did not know where they came from, who did it, nor did he care.

I was the one who asked him that & his answer actually addressed a lot more questions that I had about the cars used/abused in S&tB.  When he said he didn't care about any of the other cars in the movie (what they were or where they came from), he made a point that the Bandit's Trans Am HAD to be the fastest car on the screen.  I bought "Stuntman" after the seminar and finished reading it last week.  The chapter on Smokey says that he got four T/A's and two Bonnevilles from Pontiac ( yes, we all know ther were actually LeMans sedans).  He also says he got the idea for using S/E T/A's after seeing a pic of the car in a magazine.  What I learned between his answer to my question and his book is that as long as the stunt makes the hero look good, everything else is inconsequential.  Understand that an you gain a much clearer understanding of why he remembers every last detail about each stunt, but his memory on the cars is a little fuzzy - that stuff didn't matter to him.

I'll have to go back and look at the footage from Schinella's seminar at Nat's (yes, I'm finally working on the DVD's - hope to have them available at Nat's...).  I am 99% positive John said Hal was invited to Road Atlanta where Pontiac was doing a press preview, spied the car and inquired and the deal was struck there.  If I remember correctly, the HPP article on Smokey corroborated that story as well.  Maybe Pontiac PR invited him after he made the phone call - making both stories gel...?  

The accounts may differ, depending on who's telling the story, so who am I to argue with Mr. Needham, Mr. Schinella or Mr. DeMauro?  The Trans Am got in the movie, outran everything, made Hal & Pontiac a trailerload of money, and turned us into the T/A luvin' muthas we all are.  S&tB tapped into enthusiasts' frustration with high gas prices, the newly-mandated 55 mph speed limit and the gutless paint & tape "performance cars" available at the time.  That's why it was the 2nd highest grossing film of 1977 behind Star Wars.

Now, please excuse me.  I have to go replace the flux capacitor on my X-wing fighter...
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 08:23:36 AM by fiream773 » Logged


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rustynail
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 03:18:47 PM »

Did burt do the bridge jump ?
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Mark C.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 04:09:19 PM »

Ahhhhh......no.   Cool

I think Hal keeps confusing the Bonneis from Smokey 2 with the Le Mans form Smokey 1.
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Mark G
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 08:37:53 PM »

Guys, this was a really informative thread. I've watched S&TB a bunch of times. There seemed to be a lot of 'snort' under the hood of that car. One thing I like about the move is that on some scenes they really do look like they are going pretty fast.

The one scene that I get a kick out of is when Frog says, "we're going a hundred and ten?!" and the next shot is the speedometer that clearly shows 65 MPH. You'd think they coulda unhooked the speedometer cable and hooked it up to a drill or something and run it up to at least 100. Course in the days before VHS and DVD the movie makers knew you could get away with certain inconsistancies. Nowadays they would probably not let a detail like that slide. Still funny, though.
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Aus78Formula
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 09:17:59 PM »

Much of the footage is sped up though, and if it wasn't for the car scenes than no one would watch it as the story lines and acting are disgraceful, but typical 70's.

oh yeah, 65mph = 110kmh
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1blk1
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2011, 11:54:32 PM »

always read burt did most stunts (im sure not the bridge) and did hurt himself when he took out that row of mailboxes
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rustynail
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2011, 03:21:30 AM »

The reason i asked if burt did the bridge jump is because on my "burt builds a bandit" dvd he says that he did it.Cant see it my self though but did'nt he used to be a stunt man so maybe he did do it.
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winks79
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Chad 79' WS-6


« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2011, 05:13:10 AM »

I don't think Burt did too many of the stunt scenes in the movie. i know for a fact he did not do the 4 wheel slide on the pavement(which is probably my favorite shot of the car in the movie), just before turning and going down the dirt road for the bridge jump. i will try to come up with the stunt man's name. can't seem to recall it right now.
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rustynail
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2011, 05:33:17 AM »

yeah i paused the dvd on the slide and you could tell that burt was not driving.Any one else notice that the slide the trans am does at the second police road block you can see a extra set of angled shocks at the back.
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winks79
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Chad 79' WS-6


« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2011, 05:50:27 AM »

I noticed that. there is also a couple of shots of the car going down the road that it had honeycomb wheels on it. i know the cars were actually 76' models, but i guess they did not think anyone would notice or even care. does not matter though, still get a kick out of watching it. probably watched the movie over 50 times. my wife thinks i'm crazy! my kids enjoy watching it though.
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Mark C.
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2011, 06:48:09 AM »

During Hal's talk at POCI, he said that Universal cut 1 million from his budget. Cut the shooting schedule down to 37 days. He said that they could only do two takes per scene, so that might account for some of it's discrepencies.

Also said he got his team together to see if anybody wanted to do what they say couldn't be done. And they went out and made the movie.
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Keep on Pontiyakkin'
Mark
rustynail
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2011, 03:09:00 PM »

I agree mistake's an all a fantastic film,without it i would probably not have one of these great car's so have got a lot to thank smokey+the bandit for  Very Happy.
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Mark G
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2011, 08:36:46 PM »

always read burt did most stunts (im sure not the bridge) and did hurt himself when he took out that row of mailboxes

Just curious, how so?
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1blk1
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« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2011, 12:02:59 AM »

cant remember details but read he tweeked his back or neck during shooting



more controversy about number of cars used (about 2:25)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV20JzvPqDQ
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 12:32:41 AM by 1blk1 » Logged

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fiream773
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2011, 04:33:29 AM »

The three major conspiracy debates of the 20th century:

1.) Was there a 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll who fired the "magic" bullet?
2.) Is there a real alien spacecraft at Roswell?
3.) How many Trans Ams DID they use for S&tB?
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Aus78Formula
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2011, 04:56:56 AM »

I wouldn't expect anyone to really notice the difference between a 1977 TA and a 1976 TA with 1977 nose, let alone a few guys who's profession is movies and not car ID's. You have to wonder if they were all genuine SE's as well or just decalled standard TA's, may not have even had VIN plates etc if donated by Pontiac for film and no intention of allowing them to be registered for use after the stunts etc, or not quite roadworthy modifications.



more controversy about number of cars used (about 2:25)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV20JzvPqDQ
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solargold
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2011, 08:39:39 AM »

I was told by a guy working in movie productions and living in Georgia (and has worked with the guy who painted 3 Trans Ams for S&B then moved on to Dukes of Hazzard and still in the industry) that Pontiac sent 3 Trans Ams for the Black and Gold paint jobs. One was red, one silver and the other a color I don't recall. They were the Beauty cars, meaning Burt was in them and used for close up shots. Other was went elsewhere for modification for stunts. said cars had to be painted in 24 hours to be on set and the cars could not sit because of production costs per day. He painted 2 that Friday/Saturday and the 3rd on Sunday. On Monday 1 came back damaged and they had no sheet metal to fix so they packed it with bondo and sent it back out. Cars were scotch brited and shot hot. Paint was nearly dry as soon as it hit the metal so stripes could be put on. Door jambs and metal edges were rattle canned, as long as the camera could see it it did not matter. You can see in several shots the passenger door is hazy and looks like a cheap paint job. I have posted before pics of the car with 76 wheels and the passenger interior door handle pulls are 76 style.

This makes perfet sense to me. I doubt Pontiac had 77 S/E cars sitting around in early 76 so they had to be made, either from 76's or whatever early production 77's they had available
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« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2011, 08:57:55 AM »

I can add a little to this but some of the details are fuzzy as it has been years. At one time I owned the engine that was used in the bridge jump scene and it was infact a small block Chevy motor. The motor itself was based on a 70 LT-1 and iirc was built by Thomas Racing Engines in Cumming,Ga.

I have talked with several who were there when they did the jump scene and the jump car was brought in on a truck, unloaded, did the jump and then loaded back up and left. From what I was told years ago that car itself was modified by Baird and Trivette Racing who was in the area as well.

In regards to the paint and body work on the cars I had worked for awhile with the guy who owned the shop that did much of the work which was Atlanta Paint and Body at the time and he had mentioned that several of the police cars used in the end were cars they picked up from behind one of the police departments in the Atlanta area and not all of them even had engines in them. Something else interesting that he told me was in regards to the tires used and he said they went and bought the cheapest tires they could find that smoked the most and then painted the Goodyear letters on them.
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tajoe
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« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2011, 07:22:13 PM »

Ok, I just watched Smokey and the Bandit the other day. There seems to be a lot of effortless smoking of the tires. Way more so than my 78 can do. The cars used for the movie were supposedly donated by GM, but does anybody know if they were 'prepped' in any way for more HP, either by GM or a specialty shop? What is known about the cars used for the movie?

Thanks,

Mark G


 Thought I read once that the "turbo T/A" Bandit movie,(not sure which one that was), had to install NOS to get the tires to spin.
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solargold
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« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2011, 08:54:19 PM »

I can add a little to this but some of the details are fuzzy as it has been years. At one time I owned the engine that was used in the bridge jump scene and it was infact a small block Chevy motor.

In an interview someone claims one of the cars was crushed to the shaker and left overnight before loading for scrap. The next morning the motor was gone. It wasn't the jump car but one of the beauty cars
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modracer66
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2011, 09:57:53 PM »

The "jump" motor ended back up at Baird and Trivette after the jump from what I recall and then found its way into a 69 Camaro . I am trying my best to recall but it either had Treco or Traco on it. Iirc at the time Treco was short for Thomas Racing Engine Company and Traco was a California based engine company that built race engines. Bottom end was a 4 bolt main 350 with pink rods and 11.5 to 1 forged pistons. The heads were angle plugs and had been cut to the point you could put a thick piece of paper on top the piston and the valves would mark it. I have pictures of the Camaro it ended up in but haven't been able to find any of the motor pics.

Other information I have ran across specifically on the jump car but haven't been able to confirm is that it was infact a 76 with the 77 nose and had a 4 speed in it. Seems to be conflicting information on a few other facts like silver or gold wheels, also may have had a tan interior as opposed to black, had air shocks on the back and 1 guy said he remembered seeing a roll bar in it.

I saw the original General Lee that was found at Cliff Shaws [had no idea  at the time what it was and Cliff said it was not for sale ] but that car had a lot of concrete in the trunk so I am wondering if they did the same for the Trans Am.

We are getting ready to try to recreate the jump car [visually for the most part] and tried to round the engine back up or some of its original parts but no luck so far as they have changed hands a few times and were last used in a street rod years ago. Would also be interested if anyone had any pics or reliable information that we could incorporate into building our car. I noticed the chassis skid plate mentioned and I am sure there are other little details as well.
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ta6point6
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« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2011, 07:34:35 AM »

My doubts are this, if it was such a low budget film
1. why would they go out and go through all the trouble of buying and then fitting a chevy motor in only 4-5 Trans Ams they had????? Not to mention getting a trans to bolt up behind it

2. If they were so concerned about the motor for the jump why wouldnt they have put more care in driver safety like a roll cage and the stunt guy wear something besides a cowboy hat

3.why or when would they have time to have TAs painted to look like SE's

4. cars destroyed or damaged: bridge jump, football game jump, water scene and mail box scene
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solargold
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« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2011, 09:19:16 AM »

If I remember the conversation correctly at POCI Hal only mentioned the one motor for the jump scene being added to the car because the factory motor could not reach the 85mph needed in the short distance provided. I believe he said it had a roll bar. Hal also said when he saw the black and gold car in a publication he knew it was the car for the movie. I guess he did what he had to do to make it happen.
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modracer66
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« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2011, 11:33:50 PM »

No doubt and back them a good used oval track motor and 4 speed could be bought for peanuts. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the car had a sbc it is just the rest of the details that are in question. The motor had too much cam for a stock stall converter  so they would have either needed to buy a stall or use a different trans.

There are always doubters whenever these type threads pop up but some would be suprised at some of the old movie cars that have been found in this area in old junkyards and beside/behind buildings from the mid to late 70's.

I don't think all of the cars made it to the crusher as has been noted and quite some time back I looked at what was supposed to be the car that took out the mail boxes undergoing a restoration. The car had "repaired" damage that could have been consistant with the movie and had been sitting for years but I was there to look at some other cars and it wasn't for sale anyway.

A couple of years back I also posted pics on another forum of another possible "lost" General Lee car in a private local junk yard and the forum decided almost 100% it was not real. A friend of mine went on to buy the car and contacted one of the guys who built some of the early ones, sent pictures,discussed some of the details back and forth and other findings and he has all but confirmed the car is real pending him examining the car in person. After what I have seen,found and learned I never say never anymore.


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Mark G
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« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2011, 07:27:00 PM »

Interesting...
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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2011, 12:10:07 PM »

Things always look better in Hollywood. Great example would be some of the crazy stunts that were done in Fast and Furious franchise movies.
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« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2011, 10:22:13 PM »

I have been trying to find my original contact for quite some time and may have got lucky this evening and ran across someone that can get me back in touch with him as he has moved away from Ga. I've sent an email so I'll update if I get any new information but this is the guy who owned the shop that did the orig paint and body work on the cars as well as some of the other prep.

Obviously my first question is going to be what color where the cars that Pontiac shipped them and from there we'll see what he can remember.
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