Check out our commemorative poster design in-the-making with Gary Ragle, owner and designer at Ragle Design. Ragle Design focuses on high-end custom and hot rod design for customers all over the world.
FEATURED: Day 5 Highlight - An Interview with Mr. Burt Reynolds
Check out some comments from our special friend that we made on the Bandit Run, Mr. Burt Reynolds!
Scroll down below to see our daily video blog!
2017 not only marks the 30th anniversary of the Norwood GM plant closure, but it also marks the 40th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit! To celebrate, we decided to take "Loretta", my Norwood-built 1979 Trans Am, down to the southeast to do what they say couldn't be done! We're going to drive the route from Smokey and the Bandit along with a group of fun loving Trans Am and Smokey and the Bandit fans. The Bandit Run is a reenactment of the journey portrayed in the 1977 Universal Film, Smokey and the Bandit. All Trans Ams used in the filming of Smokey and the Bandit were built at Norwood. The "Bandit Run" reenactment first took place in 2007 and has become an annual event.
Restore a Muscle Car, a Nebraska based muscle car restoration shop hosts the event and works closely with the Burt Reynolds Institute to celebrate these special cars and raise money for worthwhile charities. Many of the Trans Ams on the Run are Norwood builds, so that's exciting for us!
Loretta was in rough shape having come off of a 2.5 year sabbatical resting in my garage on a flat tire and an aging tank of gas. We put some elbow grease into her and got her moving again. Our only hope is that she will run reliably enough for us to make the 1000 mile plus trip through the southeast to Atlanta! Thank goodness we don't have to block for Snowman and a truck full of beer! Low and slow is our motto, but with loads of excitement. We're in good company with Norwood fans from across the country!
Watch below as my Dad, Alex (one of the Producers of "Norwood, Where Legends Were Born"), and I take our unproven car on a ridiculously long ride for a ridiculously awesome festival - the Smokey and the Bandit 40th Anniversary Festival in Jonesboro, GA. Will we make it? Who knows. One thing I know for sure - we'll have fun along the way!
Day 1 - Starting the Bandit Run!
Day 1 - Road Testing Loretta on a TN Highway.
Day 2 - Tullahoma to Tupelo!
Day 2, Part 2 - Winding down the day in Tupelo.
Day 3 - Tupelo to Leeds. On the Road again!
Day 3, Part 2 - Give me a Diablo Sandwich and a Dr. Pepper!
Day 4 - On Our Way to Atlanta!
Day 4, Part 2
Day 5 - Hard Work Pays Off!
Day 6 - The Smokey and the Bandit Festival!
Day 6 - The Bandit Jump!
Day 7 - Did We Make It Home?
THANKS SO MUCH FOR CHECKING OUT OUR 2017 BANDIT RUN JOURNEY. GO BANDIT!
We've been working hard gathering exclusive Norwood footage and interviews for almost 4 years and now it's finally time to put the pieces together. Watch our IndieGoGo video below and check out our IndieGoGo campaign. If you support us now, you'll get some pretty sweet perks that are as unique as the Norwood plant itself!
Go to our IndieGoGo page now and reserve your copy of "Norwood: Where Legends Were Born" before they're out.
Historic documents* found by Logan Lawson of the Pilot Car Registry (www.pilotcarregistry.com) debunks decades of conspiracy theories revolving around what killed GM's 1960s electric car efforts. It's a long story, going to the moon and back...
Beginning in the mid-1960s, General Motors Defense Labs was heavily, and secretly, involved with the development of an electric drive system for NASA that could power the lunar rover on the Apollo 15 moon mission. This particular capability would give astronauts the ability to travel much further from the lunar lander than ever before. Partnering with Boeing later in the process, mainly for use of their test facilities that simulated an accurate lunar atmosphere, General Motors took on the awesome task of developing the drive system that went into the lunar rover chassis.
GM needed to test the drive system over long distances, effectively trying to run the system into the ground in an effort to uncover vulnerabilities. This was, after-all, to be the first "car" on the moon, taking astronauts further than ever before, and the whole world would be watching. It HAD to be right.
GMs defense labs were so secret that many General Motors employees had no idea that it even existed. GM needed a secret way to test the drive system that wouldn't arouse suspicion from prying eyes outside, or inside, GM. Thus, the Camaro became a perfect way to disguise the endurance reliability tests for this new electric drive system. No one would raise an eyebrow at the site of "reliability testing" scheduled for an F-Car chassis, so arrangements were made in the early months of 1966, to borrow four Pilot Prototype Camaros, #28, #29, #30 and #49, with no drivetrain installed, to act as literal test beds for the drive train component testing.
This was all happening simultaneously with GM's first major foray into electric cars with General Motors Electrovair concept. Most car-loving enthusiasts have at least heard about the Electrovair program that was released to the public in 1966, but what was almost lost to history until recently was just how involved GM was in making the electric car of today a reality.
Thanks to the efforts of Logan Lawson and the team of the Pilot Car Registry, we are now finding out that GM really believed in electric cars many decades back, and only due to infrastructure and battery technology that just simply was not available yet, it never took off, until recently was evidenced behind the Chevy Volt and Bolt.
The findings of Logan and the Pilot Car Registry team are so astounding and truly eye-opening that 7/79 Video and the team behind "Norwood: Where Legends Were Born" is partnering with Mr. Lawson to bring this story to life in a separate and thrilling documentary project all about where the modern electric car really started.
*Documents are still under review of the Pilot Car Registry team and 7/79 Video and will be released upon distribution of the new as yet untitled documentary project.
My Dad and I had an interesting Easter weekend. We spent Saturday getting an on-camera interview with Don Johnson (no, not that one, but we think he's equally as cool). Our Don Johnson is the guy who put the final part on the last Camaro on the Norwood assembly line when the plant closed in 1987, and all Camaro/Firebird production moved to Van Nuys, CA. Don rode that red IROC Z-28 to the end of the line, closing an important chapter in American automotive history. What great stories Mr. Johnson had to tell! You'll be able to hear them in Norwood: Where Legends Were Born going on pre-sale next month. Make sure to sign up for our e-mail newsletter updates at https://www.norwoodlegends.com/signup/
We have an official poster! We'll be sharing loads of sweet artwork made specifically for this documentary in the coming months. You can only get your hands on it if you buy early, though. Check back often to see when our pre-sale starts!