A planned car stunt that was to jump-start the Autorama car show in Detroit this weekend has been grounded for sure.
Autorama organizers were unable to convince the Detroit City Council to reconsider its decision to reject the stunt because of concerns that the car would have a Confederate flag on it.
The stunt was planned to be part performance and part tribute to Michigan native Burt Reynolds, the mustachioed star from the famous car chase film who died last year. It was set to happen just before the Autorama’s doors open at noon on Friday.
“The Pontiac Trans Am stunt jump was a nod to the Motor City,” show promoter Pete Tounda said Monday. “Unfortunately, our permit was not approved and the stunt jump will not happen this year. We hope to continue the tradition in 2020.”
Still, it’s too early to call it an Autorama tradition.
The show staged a similar stunt in 2017 with a replica of the General Lee, a car in the “The Dukes of Hazzard,” that flew off a ramp and through the air like the orange Dodge Charger the TV series and movies.
But that event also may have been what killed this year’s planned stunt.
Before voting the stunt down, Councilman Scott Benson blasted the show, saying it “has a history of supporting imagery and symbols of racism, oppression and white supremacy, as well as American home-bred terrorism.”
He cited a Confederate flag, which was on the General Lee stunt car.
In the 1977 “Smokey and the Bandit” movie, a Confederate emblem is visible on a decorative license plate as part of the Georgia flag before the state flag was changed in 2001.
Toundas said there were no plans for this year’s stunt car to have a Confederate emblem. However, he added, the show still plans to hold a tribute to Reynolds inside Cobo Center and display the movie car, minus the offending license plate.
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