by Bo Durban
January 7, 2022
This is the picture Hal Needham saw when he decided to pick the Trans Am for Smokey and the Bandit. We now know that the car in this picture, as well as the cars used in the movie are actually 1976 Limited Edition Trans Ams, modified by Pontiac to look like the soon to be released 1977 Special Edition Trans Am.
I find it curious that Pontiac decided to use the "T/A 6.6" hood scoop decal on this car, but use the "6.6 LITRE" decal on the movie cars.
The "T/A 6.6" decal represents the W72 (400ci 200hp) option and was the new performance motor for 1977...in essence replacing the 455ci 200hp option from 1976.
The "6.6 LITRE" decal represents the L78 (400ci 185hp) motor, a basic carryover from 1976. Pontiac also used the "6.6 LITRE" decal on the L80 403ci Oldsmobile engine as well.
(more info at https://www.hitmantransam.com/Pages/ta66.htm)
IOW, why did Pontiac not push their hi-performance motor in the movie car? Obviously the "T/A 6.6" was not an after thought.
I have even noticed that some Bandit fans that make tribute cars decide to diverge and go with the "T/A 6.6" decal because it represents performance.