Found: McQueen’s Trans Am survives an explosion and a 40-year slumber


Steve McQueen’s last movie was The Hunter filmed in 1979, a year before his death. McQueen played bounty hunter Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a larger-than-life figure once described in a biography as “the only man who can do a bastard's job with taste and come off looking like a nice guy.” McQueen, despite looking nothing like the 300-pound Thorson, seemed to match that kind of description in real life.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/18/mcqueens-trans-am-survives


That transmission would have been a factory TH350 3 speed, and not a 4-speed automatic. As a piece of automotive lore, doesn’t really do much for me, but as long as someone is enjoying it, that’s what matters.


Tough call. As-is, it’s authentic but trailer art. If it were my money, I’d restore it and have a sign with photos describing the heritage, like that guy with the Hawaii 5-0 car did.


You’re right about it being an automatic. I just watched the video and took note when “Papa” picked the car up at the airport he first put it in reverse, stopped then, if you’ll notice, put it in drive. I said drive instead of 1st as in a 4-speed because the brakes were applied (brake lights) and the car squatted briefly as the transmission engaged. A 4-speed wouldn’t do that


I ordered a 79 Bird in 1979. Brown W/O the chicken on hood. It had the 403 Olds engine (6.6 liter) with auto tran.A great ride and really fast.


Really like this post. I remember when this movie was being made here in Kankakee. Last year in May I had just completed a frame up customized restore on my Son’s 1979 Pontiac Trans AM also with a history of years of barn storage hear in the Kankakee area. I have a good deal what is involved in completely restoring a Pontiac Trans AM. Wondering what happened to each of the other cars used in the making of this movie? Photos of my Trans Am restore project are on my Facebook page if interested.