It’s been 20 years since the last Pontiac Trans Am rolled off of the assembly line. Then, just seven years later, Pontiac itself was cancelled leaving Pontiac and Firebird fans feeling abandoned. Many enthusiasts have managed to hang onto their cars all of these years, or added more Firebirds to their collection to get that “new Trans Am” fix. Some have naturally moved on to the ‘Bird’s sister car, the Camaro, and some have even strayed to Ford and Dodge for a modern performance pony car.
Now there are third-party companies who take modern Camaros and build them into officially licensed through GM Trans Am tribute vehicles, and they certainly know how to knock those builds out of the park. However, with the current car market favoring trucks, we are seeing more tuner-style pickups being cranked out by both the enthusiast, and the third-party aftermarket.
Saleen, a third-party car builder, tuner and performance shop who has made a name for themselves in motorsport and and in the Mustang world, has teamed up with Toyo Tires on a 2021 Chevy Silverado. But instead of the typical Saleen stripes, white wheels and some light aero that we’ve seen on their other vehicles, including their Sportruck line, they’ve turned the Silverado into a tribute to Smokey and the Bandit, and the 1977 Trans Am that was used in the film.
It’s certainly a different take on the Smokey and the Bandit theme, but with custom bodywork, huge wheels, a dropped ride height and plenty of black and gold covering the body, the aesthetic is certainly on-point. Under the hood, reportedly, is a rebuilt and blueprinted 5.3L V8 with a Magnuson DI supercharger bolted down, and a Magnaflow exhaust system running to the back of the truck. There’s enough to provide in excess of 700hp which is amazing for the 5.3L.
By comparison, our 5.3L 2016 Silverado cranked out 440hp to the tires with just a centrifugal blower and catback alone. If there’s 700hp in this thing, then there’s certainly a lot more going on under the hood than a supercharger upgrade.
Rounding out the known mods include a set of 8-piston Brembo brake calipers and of course, Toyo Proxes ST III rubber at all four corners. The truck will be unveiled next week at SEMA Show 2021, so we’ll bring you the specifics when the truck is officially unveiled.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles; GM, Ford, Dodge, imports, trucks — you name it! When he isn’t clacking away on his keyboard, he’s building, tuning, driving or testing his current crop of personal projects!