Iconic rides brought to life in Palmetto custom shop

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Somewhere between a cult movie and a classic is "National Lampoon's Vacation" and its pea-green Family Truckster station wagon, ugly by any measure.

That's why some were surprised when a bidder paid over $100,000 for a replica of the vehicle at a Barrett-Jackson auction recently.

"I have no earthly idea why that car is so popular. We love it. That's why we did it," says Gene Kennedy, owner of Bandit Movie Cars in Palmetto.

His company spent over a year building the replica. Kennedy started his company with the help of the late Burt Reynolds, who introduced him to Beverly D'Angelo - Ella Griswald in "Vacation."

They've also sold beautiful, shiny, "Smokey And The Bandit" Trans Ams.

"I made an off-the-wall offer. Why don't we build you a Truckster? She loved the idea!" says Kennedy.

There are other star cars in his shop, like the patrol car driven by Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) in "Smokey And The Bandit," and the Squad 51 rescue truck from the old "Emergency" TV series.

Sitting in the back of the shop is an old Ford Country Squire station wagon, the makings of another Family Truckster.

"It takes two cars to make one," says Kennedy.

They hope to turn out the next Family Truckster in time for an auction this summer.  

"It brings back those memories and people just love it," says Kennedy.

The Truckster proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder when a car built to be ugly fetches six figures.