Watch This Smokey and the Bandit Jump Recreation End Poorly
Burt Reynolds would’ve stuck that landing.
This past weekend, the city of Jonesboro, Georgia held a two-day festival to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Burt Reynolds classic Smokey and the Bandit. Featuring a 350-car convoy recreating the film's bootleg ride from Texas to Atlanta, a screening of the film, and a Q&A with the Bandit himself, the whole thing culminated in an attempted recreation of the movie's famous 150-foot Pontiac Trans Am jump over the Mulberry Bridge. Emphasis on attempted.
Long a staple of action movies and high-flying chase sequences, successfully jumping a car sans landing ramp without breaking it or your back is nigh impossible. If you put weights in the trunk to counteract a normal car's natural tendency to nosedive—engines are heavy—you'll collapse the suspension and probably compress your spine. Let the car pitch forward to soften the impact, and the whole front end is basically destroyed. Either way, you're not driving away after the fact.
That's why the landing is rarely shown in old movies and shows like Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard. In the latter, producers reportedly went through upwards of 200 Dodge Chargers as the General Lee jumped and spun its way around Hazzard County. And in Smokey and the Bandit, the Pontiac Trans Am used in the Mulberry Bridge jump scene was "completely destroyed," according to director Hal Needham.
With all that in mind, it's not clear what everyone thought would happen when the driver in the video below lined up to recreate the stunt at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night. With no trunk ballast to keep the Trans Am level, it starts to pitch forward almost immediately before faceplanting in the dirt landing zone and flipping. The driver is fine, but the car—eh, not so much:
As a bonus, here's what happened when a team tried to recreate a General Lee jump for the Detroit Autorama earlier this year. Again, bad news for the Dodge Charger: