Cars rarely come with their own theme song. Mike Berns, of Momence, is proud to own one of them.
"East bound and down, loaded up and truckin', a'we gonna do what they say can't be done.
"We've got a long way to go, and a short time to get there, I'm east bound, just watch ol' Bandit run!"
Yes, he owns one of those shiny black Pontiac Trans Am, dressed up with the huge gold firebird on the hood — just like the car Burt Reynolds drove in the 1977 movie "Smokey and the Bandit."
Actually, Berns' car is a 1981, so it's more like the cars used in the movie sequels, but that doesn't make any difference to the fans who see him roll up in the iconic muscle car.
"Oh, it definitely gets a lot of looks," he assured. "It has ever since I got it three years ago."
Berns had some convincing to do to put this car in his garage. His wife, Bonnie, really liked his Harley-Davidson, and insisted he would only have one "toy" at a time. So, the bike had to go first.
As for the rest of the family, he noted he made sure his two daughters watched the movie before they saw the car. They had to understand the mojo attached to a car that comes with its own song. "And they liked the movie," he said.
The car in the movie is a 1977 model, and the grill is different on this one. The 1981 model was the last with this body style. The Firebirds shifted to the style seen on the "Knight Rider" TV series in 1982.
Despite the movie connection, there still was some trepidation for Berns: He bought the car from a seller in Florida, sight unseen.
"I saw a lot of history on the car. I knew the engine and interior were all original," he said. "I knew it had been in Tennessee and then in a Firebird Museum in Virginia for awhile. It had less than 30,000 miles on it."
The car's equipped with T-tops, and Berns said he rarely drives it without removing those panels. He added he still loves the look of the car and has no plans to ever trade it.
"But keeping it means we are going to have some discussions with my daughter," he said. "She wants to drive it to school some day. And I don't know if that's going to happen."
Sticker price: $8,322