Explore the Inspiring Story of the Car Enthusiasts
Several years ago, avid car enthusiast, Gene Kennedy, met Burt Reynolds at a car show. Gene's goal was to get his 1977 Y82 TA autographed by his idol, Burt "The Bandit" Reynolds. Burt and Gene instantly got along and began talking about many things - far beyond his Trans Am.
Considering that Gene is a top roofing contractor in Florida, Burt told Gene he had some issues with the tile roof at his Jupiter, FL estate. Kennedy Construction Group sent a 30-man team to Burt's place, where they went to work on his leaking roof and tired HVAC system. After working on Burt's estate, Reynolds and Kennedy began working on many other projects, including some Comic-Con events and several of Burt's personal cars - namely his Trans Ams!
Considering that the Trans Am community is tight-nit - word traveled that Gene and Burt were involved in several high-profile projects. Gene got a call from Rick McLaughlin of Rick McLaughlin Motorsports. Rick bought a "barn find" TA that was listed on eBay. After extensive research on the car, it was validated and documented to be the Universal Pictures Promotional Car that was used to promote the Smokey and the Bandit movie when the film was released in 1977.
Gene worked with Rick on the rebuild of the long-lost Trans Am, and Burt was eager to be reunited with the car!
They brought Burt and the Universal TA to the Barrett Jackson Scottsdale Auction, where the car hammered for a world record, $530,000! Bandit Movie Cars was born . . .
The Bandit may have added years on his frame, but he and Kennedy went pedal-to-the-metal on their movie car enterprise. They went to work on several of Burt's cars, including some of the Trans Ams' he accumulated from Pontiac. They did cars from some of Burt's films, including; Cannonball Run and Hooper. One of Burt's personal favorites was the 1971 Ford Galaxie 500 from White Lightning, where he introduced the Gator McKlusky character. BMC also did a ground-up restoration on a very special project Trans Am - dubbed "the Holy Grail" car, as it IS THE ONLY surviving car owned by Burt Reynolds. That car made its public debut at the Houston, TX Autorama event in the fall of 2019 and will tour in late 2020.
Burt was so invigorated with their Bandit Movie Cars enterprise that he brought in some of his Hollywood friends on some of the cars builds. Burt introduced Gene to Beverly DeAngelo, who played "Ellen Griswold" in the 1983 Vacation movie. BMC built a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, and Beverly endorsed the car/build. That car set another world record for Bandit Movie Cars at the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction- it sold for six figures and broke the Barrett Jackson social media in the process! Burt also brought in his lifelong friend, Mr. Alfie Wise. Wise played the unforgettable State Trooper from Smokey and the Bandit, and his role as a lead cannonballer' from Cannonball Run and his role in Hooper went hand-in-hand with each of those movies' car builds.
As the projects rolled on, Burt made it clear to Gene that he wanted BMC to continue the Hollywood angle of car builds long into the future. Burt loved meeting the fans and recognized that the movie cars made a soul-level connection to the fans. It warmed his heart and the family team at BMC as well. Burt may have passed away, but remember - "legends never die." The show must go on, and Burt personally declared: "the cars are the stars." Burt Reynold's star power continues to shine in his films, and his memory gleams in the star-filled heavens.
Gene Kennedy and his team at BMC carry the spirit and memory of Burt in every build they do.
Page editid on 9/27/2022 due to misinformation from a 3rd party provider.