TG plays Smokey and the Bandit with a 717bhp Trans Am

30:56  We stop by Mulberry Bridge, or what’s left of it, where the Bandit’s monumentally silly jump took place. The cops pull up, but know immediately why we’re here. In fact, they know an officer who helped out the film crew with the stunt in 1977. The road through the trees to the bridge no longer exists, but that film is in the fabric around these parts.

31:47  Stop the clock – we’re done and back at Lakewood. The car is intact (the driver less so), and what a companion it’s been. It’s dumb, it’s brash, but it’s the American dream. Nothing I have ever driven has had such a positive effect on the people around it, myself included. So if a performance car’s remit is to entertain and delight, the reborn Trans Am knocks it out of the park.

I hope you appreciate, dear readers, that I could have lied to you. I could have fudged the result and claimed a spectacular victory against the clock, but I didn’t. I wanted to tell the truth… and make excuses instead. The fact is the Bandit didn’t have to take pictures, he had a CB radio and a lorry to work with to avoid cops, and he had a much smaller excess on his insurance policy. But 2,320km in a little under 32 hours? I’ll take that.

Some will say driving across seven states to get beer you can buy in any store along the way is foolish, and I’d whole-heartedly agree. But any excuse for the road trip of a lifetime has to be worth grabbing. Warm Coors has never tasted so good.