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Potential collectors face confusion about what Special Editions are and whether one's particular car was originally a "Bandit Edition". We have 3 pages we want to you see:
Bandit Trans Am History - Read Pat Smith's excellent articles. Part II added!!
Bandit Trans Am Myths - We're bustin'em
Bandit Trans Am Hard Questions - These are the not-exactly-myths
Ever since 1977, when Smokey and the Bandit became a surprise box office smash, there has been a lot of attention focused on Special Edition Trans Ams. They were the ultimate alpha-male car back then, and they're highly collectible now. Because of the movie, many thousands of Trans Ams have been painted black and pinstriped in the last 25 years. On the other hand, lots of real Special Editions are owned by people who didn't know the difference. So the picture has been very confused, about both the definition and the features of a Bandit Trans Am.
About 15 years ago, Crawford Smith founded the Bandit Trans Am Club to collect a registry of the cars, create a network of owners, and share information. For many years, the club had an excellent web page on "spotting that Special Edition Trans Am". My purpose is not to duplicate that here. Our club website is currently at www.bandittransamclub.com. Fred Schramm's Pontiacpower.net has a correct page on this, but it's not finished past 1978. There are other pages on this that I would link to if they were correct. Here's a 1977 window sticker that gives, in the shortest way possible, an explanation of what you got for that $1174.
Sad to say, most web pages about this have some errors, but they're not half as bad as what people will tell you at a car show. Check out all the "Bandit Trans Ams" for sale on ebay- assume they're all fake except for the ones with displayed documentation that you can read. The cars are in demand by collectors, so making fake ones is once again a going industry. Especially in Pheonix, so it seems. It's perfectly okay to have a fake one, and they're just as much fun. So if you're buying, just make sure you don't get fooled and don't overpay.
More than once, we've seen ebay auctions with build sheet or PHS invoice that clearly show the car is not a Special Edition, along with the statement "see here my documents proving my car is a Special Edition". Run away!
As if that wasn't bad enough, tens of thousands of people are "living the dream" bragging that they have a rare car or some rare option when they really don't. This is not something that afflicts just Pontiac owners. These people don't want to wake up. They want the beautiful dream to go on forever. If you are trying to buy a Special or Limited Edition, there are two imporant things to decide about this: