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We know the Bandit was a truck driver with his own rig.

Why didn't he drive his rig, instead of the Firebird?

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2  
It was a Trans-Am and he was the blocker car. –  DustinDavis May 12 at 19:29
    
It was, technically, a Chevrolet Firebird Trans-Am. It had the distinctive "Firebird" on the hood. –  CGCampbell May 12 at 20:09
1  
CGCampbell, The car was a PONTIAC. Chevrolet made the Camaro and although similar the Trans-Am was a distinctly different car. –  Michael May 12 at 20:26
    
I yeah, I knew that too. Darnit. –  CGCampbell May 12 at 20:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The Bandit was given $80k to get the beer and deliver it. He uses some of the money to buy the Trans-Am to act as the blocker car which means he will divert the attention of "smokey" (the cops) away from the truck full of beer. He has his friend Snowman drive the rig (promising to buy him a new rig afterwards).

This was an important strategy because driving the beer across state lines was considered bootlegging because it was unauthorized and they didn't have permits. So getting in trouble for a high-speed chase would probably carry less of a sentence than one for bootlegging.

It doesn't explain why he chose to drive the car vs the truck, but we can infer since he is "The Bandit" that his experience would be the only one he would trust with such an important job while letting a regular (and trusted) truck driver do the delivery on time.

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I know I shouldn't mark this so quickly as accepted, but this captures all of the salient points nicely. –  CGCampbell May 12 at 20:08
    
@CGCampbell - That, and that's the same writeup the wiki has for it. :p –  JohnP May 12 at 22:26

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