- Posted May 1, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bye, bye, Pontiac
A Concept Trans Am Is Born. Inspired by Smokey & The Bandit
I was born in 1973. Growing up I loved Smokey & The Bandit, I had a lot of Trans Am & Smokey & The Bandit toys. I loved Trans Ams! Finally in 2004 I purchased my first T/A, a 1981 T-top car. I became obsessed with Trans Ams.
I am a graphic designer so when the Concept Camaro came out, I said to myself, you can not have a Camaro without having A Trans Am. So I sat down at the computer and turned the concept Camaro into a T/A and posted it on one website, www.transamcountry.com The owner of that website wrote up a big "What If" story featuring my concept Trans Am and posted it on his site. From there It just snowballed on the internet. It was showing up on forums all over the world! I even saw it on Mustang forums, F-150 forums...you name it. I just couldn't believe what was happening.
Next thing I knew I was being contacted by Hot Rod Magazine wanting to run my concept drawings. Then it was High Performance Pontiac Magazine, Smoke Signals Magazine and Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. Then I had someone email me out of the blue and say "I got permission to display your concept drawings at the Trans Am Nationals in Ohio." I was floored! So, I told my wife, we have to go see this. I took prints of the concepts out there and they disappeared very fast! I was standing there by the drawings and got asked to sign one of them...it changed my life forever! My first autograph! Later, Sue from the T/A Nationals emailed me and asked me to design the next year's T-shirts and other merchandise! What an amazing honor.
From there it kept growing, I got hooked up with Dave Hall from Restore A Muscle Car. He let me set up at the Year One experience in Georgia where I met a lot of the people on The Bandit Run. I had posters & decals for sale and had a lot of positive feedback.
I got to meet Chip Foose, and was recorded and on the Hot Rod TV show during the unveiling of the beautiful Year One Burt Reynolds Edition Trans Am. I even met some great people from Year One. I got interviewed by The DIY Network and was on the Burt
Builds A Bandit show. It was just an amazing experience.
One guy I met from Georgia, Tyler Hambrick of smokeyandthebanditmodels.com contacted me and said that he was honored that I used his car on one of my posters. The poster featured his 1977 Trans Am SE and my concept Trans Am. We became friends & he eventually built me 2 models of my Concept T/A, one was a functional Remote Control
Car. He even sent me a R/C tractor trailer just like Jerry Reed drove in Smokey and the Bandit! People go crazy & try to buy the R/C concept Trans Am, but, it is a custom built one of one and not for sale.
Then it was time for the T/A Nationals again. I set up with Dave Hall one more time. This time with more merchandise and more identity. Tod Warmack from Trans Am Depot sponsored my booth to help with the display. The response was beyond overwhelming...people went nuts! I was signing autographs, selling merchandise etc. It was BEYOND A DREAM!
I even made a video "Kevin's Hot Pursuit for the Trans Am" and entered it in a contest to try to win a Burt Reynolds Edition Trans Am (By Year One) that Heavy.com was putting on. The video contest was to show why you would deserve the Trans Am. I used
my story of designing a concept Trans Am & all I was doing to promote it. Unfortunately I did not win the car, but, made memories with my family & had a lot of fun making it.
The concept Trans Am has now been in 7 national and international magazines. I have attended the Trans Am Nationals 3 years in a row, setting up a booth to promote the concept Trans Am & I am planning on attending again this year.
I also setup in the "Pontiac Pavilion" hosted by Pontiac Enthusiast magazine at the GM Nationals in Carlisle, PA I got to meet Jim Wangers, the godfather of the GTO and a VERY big part of Pontiac...an amazing honor. We had a wonderful conversation about his history with Pontiac & even discussed my concept Trans Am.
I have attended the Year one experience in Georgia 2 times now to meet up with all of the people on the Bandit Run, This year, I will be going on the whole run. Why? Because I am a part of "The Trailer Team" (with Tyler Hambrick and Greg Vassar) that recreated "Snowman's" (Jerry Reed) Trailer from the movie Smokey and the Bandit. We all met in Georgia and installed 600 square feet of printed vinyl on the trailer
featuring the famous stage coach scene. ALOT of hard work. The trailer will be going on the entire Bandit Run being pulled by a black and gold Kenworth, just like the one in the movie!
In September of 2008 my 81 Trans Am caught on fire while getting ready to go on a cruise with my family. God was looking out for me that day though, my cousin had just returned the fire extinguisher (I left at his house while attending the GM Nationals) at 11:00 that morning. The car caught on fire at 2:00 pm. It was just inside the door & I was able to quickly grab it and save the car from burning to the ground...AND
spreading to my house and garage. My T/A was taken to a friends garage & he removed all of the fire damage & replaced parts & got the car up and running again in April of 2009. Everything seems to be ok now except the paint on the hood is still damaged. But, the Firebird has risen from the ashes! I am looking forward to cruising again this summer.
So you can see how Pontiac & the Trans Am has really affected my life, in a very good way! Because of the grace of God & the Trans Am, I go cruising with my family, I have made some very good friends, met famous people like Chip Foose, Jim Wangers, Al Valour from US Wheel, Kevin King & Mike Ashmore from Year One, I designed a concept Trans Am
that has been in magazines and is all over the net, recreated Snowman's Trailer, and every year I design merchandise for the biggest Trans Am event of the year, The Trans Am Nationals.
Pontiac may have died, but, I am going to keep mine alive for as long as I can. And all of the wonderful things that have happened because of the Trans Am will stay with me forever. As far as the concept Trans Am...There just may be some hope of it coming
alive, and not by Pontiac either...STAY TUNED!