Texas Trans Ams at The Bandit Run 2007 in Texarkana 2007

Narrated by Gary the Webmechanic


Breaker, Breaker, Bandit wannabes and Firebird fans in general.  If the annual Trans Am Nationals in Ohio is the Super Bowl of Trans Am mania, then The Bandit Run 2007 is at least the Punt Pass and Kick.  The suspense is building for the start of the Bandit Run and the questions mount. Will a bunch of 30 year old Pontiacs driven by victims of mid-life crisis make it all the way from Texarkana to Atlanta? Whose radiator will be the first to burst? Can all this pharmaceutically enhanced testosterone be contained by one city that straddling the Arkansas Texas state line? Will the guy with the 411 rear end even make it all the way to the Antique Auto Museum? Who will be the first to get arrested for doing a white-smoke burnout on the state line? How many of us will eat too many Diablo Sandwiches and get a tummy ache like Fred? Will the Texas Trans Am Service parts hauler full of mufflers and t-shirts make it to the Hollidome in time? One thing's for sure, we're exited and proud to be the Official Muffler and sponsor of the participant's Goodie Bags.

If Yours truly, TXTA's humble webmechanic can find (and fit into) his orange bell-bottom britches and pearl snap shirt I'm sure to dominate the Cletus Snow look alike contest. Maybe this Bandit Run thing is really what we've always been waiting for, and then again next year maybe we will find a different way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Hooper".

About Noon on Monday David and I headed out from Fort Worth towards Texarkana.  The Texas Trans Am Service and Restoration Suburban parts hauler was loaded down with Texas TA Mufflers promotional DVDs and T-Shirts.  We were about an hour outside of Texarkana when we crested the hill and saw a Texas DPS car.  We thought that 73 MPH in a 70 zone can't be that interesting to him, but sure enough his lights came on and he pulled up behind us.  "Do you know why I pulled you over?" he asked.  "No," David answered "Was I going too fast?"  "Your license and insurance please" the officer asked from behind the aviator sunshades and tan cowboy hat.  Well David had left the insurance paperwork at the shop.  "Step to the back of the vehicle, Please" the officer asked David.  A few minutes later the officer returned to the window to interrogate me.  "Who is that behind the truck?" he asked.  "That's David Mars" I said.  "Where are you headed?"  "Were going to Texarkana to a, um, ah, the, ah, car show."  David returned to the passenger seat and the officer concluded "Gentlemen the left lane is for passing only."  Then gave David a warning for his lane choice and a ticket for not providing proof of insurance.  After the officer left I asked David "Didn't you tell him that you were in the left lane because it is illegal to pass a public safety vehicle on the shoulder in the next lane at highway speeds."  "They are still mad about the whole Smokey and the Bandit thing." David said.

We made the rest of the trip to Texarkana without incident and proceeded to the Holiday Inn Express which had changed names but had no sign.  Across the street at the Holiday Inn Holidome the back parking lot was lined with 70's era Trans Ams and Firebirds being washed and polished.  We met old friends for the first time, like Tyler H. from Georgia who drove his Bandit all the way to Texarkana, just to drive back with the Bandit Run.  On Sunday of the Year One event Tyler would lead a tour of movie filming spots around Atlanta where the original Smokey and the Bandit movie was filmed.  A man and his son, members of the Auto Museum, were dressed as "Sheriff Buford T. Justice" and "Junior".  The "Sheriff" had been a law enforcement officer prior to retirement and had some great stories about Texarkana and old cars.  About 7 pm we headed over to the Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum where the Museum members were hosting a hospitality open house and a screening of Smokey and the Bandit on the big screen.  In the light of the sunset Firebirds of all year and color passed by the Coors Trailer to get their picture made.  Inside the Museum was a 1974 Trans Am restored as the black and gold SD455 "John Player Special" from the Chicago Auto Show along with a giant invoice for the Coors Beer that Bandit and Snowman came to Texarkana for in the movie.  In the parking lot we met Jarrett and his brother with his '78 Bandit.  It was originally a California car with the Olds 403.  He told us that he was working up until the deadline to leave for Texarkana to get the car ready, especially the air conditioning and had a hard time finding all the parts.  "I carry the reproduction AC hoses for this car" David said.  We met with some of the officers of the Antique Auto Museum and got the layout for our tent and registration booth for the next morning.

At the break of dawn Tuesday morning we headed back to the Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum for The Bandit Run Kick-Off.  Besides Texas TA Mufflers being the Official Muffler sponsor of The Bandit Run, Texas Trans Am Service and Restoration was also the official Goodie Bag sponsor and David started the registration line with the liability waiver and our promotional DVD for the participants.  The line then moved to the Restore a Muscle Car booth where participants got their goodie bag, t-shirts and entry badge.  While David took care of official duties your humble webmechanic wandered the staging field taking pictures and video of anything thought to be of interest to our website guests and readers.  "Sheriff Justice" and "Junior" were back with the real Miller County Sheriff from the Arkansas side of Texarkana Linda Rambo.  Even the Arkansas State Trooper was busy taking pictures of Firebirds.  Even both Mayors of Texarkana Arkansas and Texarkana Texas showed up.  Many of the participants in The Bandit Run were customers of Texas Trans Am Service and Restoration one way or another, from parts to paint and body work, upholstery and decals.  Several of the vehicles in attendance had Texas TA Mufflers at the Kick-Off.  One of David's customer's muffler rumbling machines was Paul W.'s very modified 1978 TA 7.6.  That's no typo it's bored, stroked and 5 manual forward gears strong.  In fact David was working days and evenings until the week before to complete the interior upholstery.  Frankly we've never seen so much Dynamat, but with that much power pumping through the dual pipes it just may help. 


David met with Rick from Highland Daytona Racing about the Texas TA Mufflers.  It seems the Satchell Link Suspension system that they manufacture takes even more room beneath the unibody rear and leaves no room for full bodied F-master mufflers.  How sad.  Rick even showed us how the Texas TA Mufflers would fit the suspension system with plenty of pipe clearance.


We met another Texas TA Muffler customer with his red 79 TA.  We convinced Bill from Independence Missouri to show us around his car and talk about it's originality.


About 10:00am everyone gathered between the registration tent and the Coors Truck to await announcements.  The Museum piped out "East Bound and Down" and "Junior and Sheriff Justice" danced for the pleasure of the crowd.


David Hershey made announcements, thanked the sponsors and described how to line up for the sendoff. 

With Black Trans Ams staged behind the Arkansas State Trooper car Lori Hershey, complete with veil, yelled "Its nothing personal, Junior" and with a roar of classic muscle car engines The Bandit Run 2007 was on.  By this time yours truly was strategically perched atop the dumpster next to the real Coors Distributor to catch the rolling start on video.


By 11:00 am the parking lot was vacant, except for our Suburban and a flat bed tow truck carrying Justin's '78 Bandit from Kansas.  It seems the mild Spring heat of Texarkana was just to much for a 29 year old water pump on his Poncho.  After a visit to the local auto parts store he caught up to the rest of the run that evening.

Sadly we could not make the full run past the Kick-Off.  Your webmechanic has a real job and David still had a 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am to complete for a Soldier returning home from service in Iraq the following weekend.

On the was back we stopped by a local Texarkana restoration shop that ordered some Texas TA Mufflers, then hit the road back to D/FW.  That is until David alerted me that something  had flown up his pants leg.  You see, the Suburban AC was on the fritz and we had both front windows down, and with all sorts of nature coming and going at highway speeds he was convinced that a hornet had entered the cab and crawled up his pants leg to exact its revenge.  Once parked hastily in the rest stop on the side of I-30 David bailed out of the truck flailing wildly at the calf of his britches, jumping up and down.  Finally satisfied that the threat was gone or dead he returned to the driver's seat.  We never did find the body of the hornet, but if David says there was one, that's good enough for me.  You just try driving down the highway with a hornet crawling up your leg.

Stayin' up late, eatn' to many Diablo sandwiches, drivin' through people's backyards, knockin' down tents, drivin' in the left lane without passing, crossin' the state line with a hornet in our britches, how's that for high jinks?  Just a few of the things we do to satisfy your need for all things Trans Am.
 


Bandits parked for the night a the Holiday Inn Holidome


This many Trans Ams draws a crowd

"Sheriff Buford T. Justice" with David Mars


Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum, the night before


David with Jarrett and his '78 Bandit

Coors is still trying to collect the bill from Big Enos Burdette

David Mars running the Bandit Run Registration booth

Anthony dreams of his Trans Ams completion

Paul W. and friend with his '78 TA 7.6 Liter

Bill H. with his Red '79 TA

Rick and the guys from Highland Daytona Racing

HDR's Satchell Link Suspension system display

HDR's Satchell Link Suspension installed in the 74 TA

David H.'s Bandit complete with cowboy hat and wedding veil

Red 1974 Trans Am

Tyler H.'s Bandit

 

 

 

 

 

The real Sheriff Rambo with "Sheriff Buford T. Justice"

 

Minnesota Bandit

South Carolina Bandit

David Mars with Paul W. and his friend

Jarrett and co-pilot brother with his 87 Bandit from Texas

David Mars with Bandit Run visionary David Hershey

David Mars with Webmechanic Gary

President of the Tex-Ark Antique Auto Museum Don Shilling with David Mars

Sheriff Justice and Junior dancing to "East Bound and Down"

The Bandit Run 2007 begins

Justin prepares to replace the water pump on his Bandit

 



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"Restoring Old Dreams"

Owner and Operator, Mr. David Mars
Serving the community since 1991
Email: david@texastransams.com
4588A Kennedale - New Hope Rd.
Fort Worth, TX  76140
Phone:
817-563-2121

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