FILM: HARD ON CARS – Hollywood’s Fascination with Smashing Muscle Cars

Oh, not much makes me more nostalgic than drifting off back to that ol’ donut shop where the dudes with the muscle cars would meet every Friday night.  We’d eat a few crullers, wack back a pile of chocolate milk, burn a couple, and gaze at the shining chrome of some right well taken care of machines.  There are still car and van clubs out there that rejoice in the loudness of these big engine monsters.  So, why do we also get a right friggin’ charge out of watching these beautiful machines get smashed to bits on the silver screen?

Perhaps it’s because we know how much work it takes to keep one of the beauties running.  Perhaps when one is destroyed it must have been done smokey posterunder the most dire of circumstances, and we also feel the pain of the driver, knowing full well he just ruined his baby.  Maybe we just love car crashes.  Well, Hollywood has been making a killing over the years by smashing cars by the hundreds.

Dukes of Hazzard went through an incredible amount of 1969 Charger’s, while the famous car chase in The French Connection reportedly destroyed some real vehicles in real traffic that afternoon of filming.  Just this year, the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, and Furious 7 saw some record numbers in vehicular smashing.  It’s reported that Furious 7 saw the destruction of no less than 230 cars while filming.  Last Saturday night, in a Q&A session filmed by comicbook.com, 79-year-old Burt Reynolds reported that a good 12 Trans Am cares were destroyed in the making of the 1977 smash hit Smokey and the Bandit. You’d think this would do rotten things to the car business, but you’d be wrong.

Apparently, after Smokey and the Bandit became a box office smash, stock in Pontiac rose over 70%.  Yup, business was never better for Pontiac, and the then owners pledged that they would give Reynolds a brand new Trans Am every year; and that’s exactly what they did.  Well, for 3 years anyway.  Four years after this pledge was made, Pontiac found itself with new ownership.  This owner hated Smokey and the Bandit, thus stopped handing over valuable profits to Burt.  I’m sure he was okay.  Just goes to show you; sometimes you have to smash stuff to get ahead in this world. – FATS

Burt Reynolds On How Many Cars Were Used In Smokey And The Bandit