Photos in the “The Bandit Run 2010, May 15-20” Album
Description: Burt Reynolds tied up with filming, but 125 muscle cars still rumble into Jupiter to pay tribute to Bandit | Video
JUPITER — More than 100 Pontiac Trans Ams and other muscle cars with their Bandit-like drivers roared into Jupiter on Wednesday.
But their patron saint — Burt Reynolds, from the “Smokey and the Bandit” series of films — was missing.
Reynolds, a guest star on USA Network’s hit series, “Burn Notice,” was unable to appear. He is involved in shooting an episode shooting in Miami Beach and not expected to be finished filming until next week.
“Burt was really disappointed that he couldn’t be here to welcome the fans and Bandit Runners,” said Suzanne Niedland, chair of the board for the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre, located at his museum in Jupiter.
“He really tried hard to get back up here for this wonderful event and sent his personal assistant, Gregg Goldsbury up here from South Beach to bring his own person Bandit car, the real one, to the event for the folks to enjoy,” she added. “I was on the set and they were filming until late each night.”
From their lodgings at the Jupiter Beach Resort, they came roaring down Alternate A1A behind a Jupiter Police Dept. escort, to U.S.1, then turned into the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum. The racy Pontiacs of different years and colors were taking part in a mild reenactment of the Bandit’s high-speed escapes from the long arm of the law, like “Smokey,” better known a Jackie Gleason’s character, Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
In each of the 125 shining Pontiac Trans Am or other muscle cars taking part, no Bandit look-alikes could be spotted, but there were families, single drivers, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends who started the procession from Braselton, Ga., on May 15. The six-day, activities-packed road trip stopped in Jupiter for a chance to pay tribute to Reynolds.
“With General Motors no longer manufacturing Pontiacs, the Bandit Run 2010 was designed to celebrate a slice of American history,” said David Hall, owner of Restore A Muscle Car, of Lincoln, Neb., the creator/sponsor of the Bandit Run that was founded in 2007. “We wanted to also pay homage to the 1977 hit film series, “Smokey and the Bandit.” Along the way, we have enjoyed car shows, auto museums, parades, dinners, drag racing, entertainment, the Bandit Bash here and we’ll end up at Walt Disney World Speedway for a race and musical revue dinner show.”
As part of their stop in Jupiter, a Bandit Bash was sponsored by the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission and organized locally by Bob Nichols, of Grassy Waters Preserve, along BRIFT volunteers. It was a fundraiser for the Burt Reynolds Institute of Film and Theatre. The bash was held behind the museum, under the Indiantown Bridge in Riverwalk Events Plaza.
More than 400 people showed up to view the display of cars, along with a replica of Sheriff Justice’s patrol car and a replica of the “Snowman’s” 18-wheel tractor trailer that were brought here for display.