On September 6 2018, the world lost Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds. Those of us who love cars will always remember him getting up to all sorts of mischief behind the wheel of a black and gold 1977 Trans Am in Smokey and the Bandit. However, the Florida good ol’ boy made several car chase movies starring enduringly cool rides. In fact Buddy, to his nearest and dearest, left loads of tyre marks on the silver screen — though often overlooked is the thrilling sequence with the stylish Citroën SM in 1974’s The Longest Yard.
His footballer character Paul Crewe evades the cops in a rousing car chase which ultimately ends with the SM being dumped in a lake. Although it was badly damaged, it was fished out once the scene was completed and immediately snapped up for $7,000 (Dh26,000) by one of the movie’s producers — a lot of money for the smashed up coupe back then — but a bargain today what with the French classic’s value soaring since.
The unquestionably polarizing front-wheel drive high-end European GT was introduced in 1970 at the Geneva motor show. Designed by Robert Opron, it was a genuine show stopper thanks to its avant-garde details which included a tapered tail, chevron-shaped C-pillar, faired rear wheels, and full-width glass nose behind which sat swivelling six-headlights. It blended those spaceship looks with decent performance and terrific handling, ride comfort and luxury. It featured a complex oleopneumatic, self-leveling suspension and a four-cam Maserati 2.7-litre V6 engine (Citroën purchased the Italian carmaker in 1968) mated to a five-speed manual or three-speed auto.
Built until 1975 with a total of 12,920 units made, they can fetch up to Dh300,000 today.
It may not be his flashy, t-top Firebird but it still serves as a pretty good reminder of the cool on-screen car guy that Burt was. RIP Buddy.
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