Photo Flash: Bubba's East Coast Rods Welcomes Burt Reynolds
East bound and down Indiantown Road, Jupiter, Florida on Saturday, March 22nd, a long line of custom cars and vintage Trans Ams followed a tractor trailer emblazoned with scenes from the old West into Pennock Industrial Park. The reason - the grand opening of Bubba's East Coast Rods and Customs - home toreality tv stars Bubba and Tom Lloyd and some of the most beautiful automobiles ever built. Bubba, 25, is an exceptionally talented master craftsman and designer, with a reputation for building some of the best cars in the industry. He and his dad already have a successful show on the Velocity channel - Hot Rod Reality - now airing its sixth season. The show won a coveted Silver Telly Award. Soon, a second show will begin airing on a major television network.
The Lloyd family and their staff were gracious hosts to the hundreds of people who attended the event. Entertainment was provided by bluesman extraordinaire Joey George and the award winning Art Stage Performing Arts Center dancers. George, who has performed with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bank, Spin Doctors, John Fogarty and other well-known groups serenaded the crowd with songs from every decade, while Linda White's dancers gave the audience a taste of Grease - the musical not the lubricant. A surprise appearance by Willy Young, defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, kept the crowd in high gear.
All along Commerce Way enthusiastic fans waited patiently for Bubba's and Tom's special guest, megastarBurt Reynolds. Both father and son are huge fans of Reynolds and, in particular, the Smokey and the Banditmovie. The entire opening was a tribute to Reynolds, who Tom Lloyd said "... single handedly secured a place in history for the American muscle car." Giving credence to his words, the parking lot was filled with Trans Ams owned by members of the Bandit Run, a dedicated group of Reynolds devotees headed by Dave Halland Ric Rodriquez. Every year these Bandit fans take to the highways to honor the man who has inspired them for more than 30 years. It was, in fact, the replicated Snowman 18-wheeler owned by Wayne Aldersonwhich led the parade through town. Bringing up the rear and keeping everyone in line was Sheriff Buford T. Justice impersonator David Betz in his easily recognizable police car. What space remained in the lot was quickly filled by members of Southeast Rods and Customs, Stingray Corvette Club, and the Corvette Club of the Palm Beaches coordinated by Jupiter Farms resident Mark Sharone.
While fans lined up for Tom's, Bubba's, and model Layla Von Athey's autographs, Jackie Rea and Aidy Alonzoof the Palm Beach International Raceway gave away tee shirts, coolies, and tickets to upcoming events.Scott Grisson and Josh Mercado of Monster Transmissions, located in Brooksville, Florida, also gave away tee shirts. Other Bubba's East Coast Rods and Customs sponsors represented at the opening were Turbonetics(Moorpark, California), Air Gas (Jupiter, Florida) and National Parts Depot (NPD) in Ocala, Florida. Rick Schmidt, president of NPD, is the owner of the original 1977 Trans Am given to Burt Reynolds at the end of filming Smokey and the Bandit. The car is kept in an automobile museum at their Ocala facility. Snyder graciously brought the car to the grand opening and a happy reunion was had with the Bandit. On hand wereAlan Tonks and Erik Covitz of Worldwide Ticket Craft, who supplied all the posters, flyers and banners for the event. Tonks is also a student in the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre (BRIFT) screenwriting class.
Lining the pathway were many more students from BRIFT, who led the crowd in shouting, "Bandit! Bandit! Bandit!" as they paid homage to their mentor and teacher. So that no one went hungry, Tom Brown served up his award winning ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, while Ken Good supplied dessert via his Ice Cream on Wheels truck.
Bubba's East Coast Rods and Customs is located at: 506 Commerce Way, Jupiter, Florida. Their doors are always open to fans, friends and anyone who shares their love for beautiful automobiles and Burt Reynolds. A dedication wall in their VIP lounge is filled with photos of their idol.
Dave Betz and Burt Reynolds. Photo by Jessica McKinney.
Burt Reynolds. Photo by Steve Mairano.
Burt Reynolds and Dave Ausem. Photo by Steve Mairano.
Jackie Rea, Aidy Alaonzo and Burt Reynolds. Photo by Jessica McKinney.
Joey George. Photo by Amy Schulz.
Bandit Run Gang. Photo by Amy Schulz.
Art Stage Dancers. Photo by Amy Schulz.
Bubba Logo. Photo by Amy Schulz.
Tom Lloyd and Bubba Lloyd. Photo by Amy Schulz.