LETCHER COUNTY, KY. — Letcher County right off of KY-15, one of the last cars actor Burt Reynolds ever signed sits in Rob’s Garage, a small local auto body shop. It’s in that building that you can almost always find Jaden Pugh, a young car enthusiast, keeping a watchful eye over his prized possession.
“I have a 1979 Pontiac Trans AM signed by Burt Reynolds,” says Pugh, leaning up against the vehicle.
The car is a spitting image of the classic Firebird in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit. Pugh has everything from the CB radio, to the iconic wedding dress.
“If you’ve watched the movie this is like the Sally Field wedding dress when Bandit first meets Frog,” he says pointing to the dress hanging out the back. “We kind of watched Smokey and the Bandit a lot as I was growing up so… I probably know every word to the movie.”
The vehicle’s glovebox is signed by Reynolds, along with a license plate and hat Pugh had signed too.
“For him to be that young, and be this already involved in cars is extraordinary,” said Robert Pugh, Pugh’s father. “To be in Letcher County, knowing that it’s one of the last cars he signed, it’s pretty extraordinary, and Letcher County folks outta be very proud to have this piece of memorabilia here.”
The piece is extra special to Pugh and his father because this is one of the last cars Reynolds ever signed.
“I bought it about three years ago in Pigeon Forge and it’s been gone for about two years. We just got it back three or four weeks ago actually,” said Jaden. “We took the glove box down.”
The event Reynolds was signing items at was Bubba Fest in Pigeon Forge, one of the last events Reynolds attended before his death weeks later.
Pugh says he did not see any other cars get signed while he was at the event.
“It was the last three weeks of his life so to speak, his last public event,” said Jaden.
Pugh and his father say they have received offers on the car, but to them the item is priceless.