‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Trans Am to jump at Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals

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The Northeast Ohio Dukes Smokey and the Bandit replica jump car is shown. After being grounded by Detroit officials concerned about Confederate flag imagery at Autorama, the car will be jumped at the upcoming Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals. | Facebook photo
The Northeast Ohio Dukes Smokey and the Bandit replica jump car is shown. After being grounded by Detroit officials concerned about Confederate flag imagery at Autorama, the car will be jumped at the upcoming Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals. | Facebook photo

A replica of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from the Burt Reynolds hit film Smokey and the Bandit will be jumped at the upcoming Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The jump is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on June 22 at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, the company said in a news release.

“As a tribute to Mr. Reynolds who passed away in September of 2018 as well as a nod to one of the most iconic cars and car movies of all time, a Bandit Trans Am will fly through the air at the Chevrolet National,” the release read.

Carlisle is offering a VIP ticket four-pack to the jump for $69. The pass includes a general parking pass, entry for four people and admission to the VIP jump zone, which will offer the best sight lines of the event.

The stunt will be performed by the Northeast Ohio Dukes, a group that has carried out similar jumps.

One of those jumps was supposed to be held during the recent Detroit Autorama, but grounded the car after expressing concerns over a Confederate battle flag seen on a Georgia license plate in the Smokey and the Bandit film.

Councilman Scott Benson said the car “still proudly flies a Confederate flag, which is a symbol of oppression, slavery, as well as home-bred American terrorism. So this body said we are not going to support that type of symbolism nor the audacity to support that type of activity in the city of Detroit,” reported the Detroit News.

Raymond Kohn, the head of the group, said in a statement on Facebook that the stunt car would not have had the Georgia license plate from the film.

“I never got a phone call from the city of Detroit,” he said. “They never asked me if we were going to put the state of Georgia flag on it. They never emailed me. They just assumed we were going to do this and all they had to do was ask me one simple question: Were we intending to put the flag on the car?

“I was even willing to put in writing that we were not going to put the Georgia plate on the car.”

At the time of the Detroit decision, the Facebook page of Northeast Ohio Dukes did not portray any Confederate imagery, including in photos of the jump vehicle. However, the group changed its profile photo to that of another car it jumped — a replica of the Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger — that prominently features a Confederate flag on the roof. The group has also either posted or shared several photos of people holding the Georgia license plate, which features the flag, and is also selling shirts the feature a Trans Am jump car bearing the plate.

In the same statement, Kohn said his group does not support white supremacy or any other negative connotations associated with the Confederate flag.

“We’re just children of the ’70s and ’80s that love the Dukes of Hazzard and love Smokey and the Bandit. All we want to do is pay tribute to a great man, a great actor and a great stuntman, Burt Reynolds.”

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a shame that we Americans that still have our ‘South Pride’express it with a flag that is historical or a license plate that is mandatory otherwise. And all this because of something that happened almost 200 years ago or because of some immigrant’s religous beliefs. This is America! Stop trying to change our ways.

  2. This sensitivity and politically correct thing is going just too damn far. I proudly fly the Confederate flag over my house next to the American Flag every day. Its a beautiful flag, many Americans died defended it and it shouldn’t be forgotten or hidden.

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