What Kind Of Car Was Kitt
Due to its many abilities and ridiculously fast speeds, people sometimes ask if KITT is a real car. While the car couldn’t top out;at over 200 miles per hour;, and many of its added features were aided by TV magic, it was based on a real vehicle.
The KITT from the original series was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. This car was a two-door coupe, featuring a rear-wheel drive and front engine. In the show, the KITT’s engine had a turbojet with customized afterburners. The vehicle could be set to autopilot, and the transmission featured an eight-speed microprocessor turbo drive.
Knight Industries Two Thousand
The Ultimate “KITT Car?”
KITT in the original Knight Rider series was physically embodied as a modified 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. 1982 marked the beginning of the third generation of Firebirds, of which the Trans Am is an upgraded model. For the third gen, the base engine was a 305 cu. in. V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. As an upgrade, Pontiac offered a 305 with cross-fire fuel injection for the first time.
The Trans Am Talks To Us
I am the voice of Knight Industry 2000s Micro Processor, said the Trans Am. K.I.T.T. for easy reference, KITT if you prefer. The concept of a talking car was not unusual. Herbie, a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle was darting around the racetracks in The Love Bug . But while Herbies distinction was his ability to feel and his self-driving capabilities, KITT was the complete Sci-Fi package, combining futuristic technology with sleek looks.
Maybe, it reflected the war between car manufacturers to create the perfect car. Or maybe it was the era, where international superpowers had been flexing their technological prowess through space discovery. Whatever it was, this Trans Am was talking to us.
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Meet The Kitt At The Volo Auto Museum
If you’re wondering where the KITT car is now, you’re in luck. You can find a detailed replica at Volo Auto Museum. Unlike other KITT replicas cobbled together from mail-order parts online, our KITT was built using the original production designs. The car has all the KITT interior pieces, perfectly mirroring the original car from the steering wheel and dashboard to the lower and upper consoles.
One cool detail of this KITT is that it’s been autographed by the legendary George Barris, who worked on “Knight Rider” in its later seasons. The car also features a certificate of authenticity so it can be used as an exhibition vehicle. To see the KITT, all you have to do is take a trip to the Volo Auto Museum. Along with;our KITT exhibit, we also have;many other displays;that are;sure to please every member of your family.
A Tesla Would Be A Logical Choice
Whats the Tesla Roadster worth?
On the 80s TV show, KITT could reach speeds of 300 mph in Super Pursuit Mode. Todays Tesla Roadster;can achieve 250 mph;and boasts a zero-to-60 time of 1.9 seconds without help from a fictional power booster. And lets not forget Tesla already offers self-driving with its semiautonomous feature, Autopilot. KITTs appeal is its revolutionary tech, design, and performance, and the Tesla Roadster delivers all three.
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You Can Own The Original Kitt From Knight Rider
Only three pursuit mode cars were built for the Knight Rider 1980s TV show and this is the only example known to still exist.
KITT, the self-driving Pontiac Trans Am that featured in the popular 1980s TV show Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff, is one of the most iconic TV cars of all time. Around 20 were built for the show, only five of which survived. The car we’re looking at here, however, is the ‘Super Pursuit Mode’ version of Michael Knight’s trusty talking car introduced in season four.
Two appeared on screen: one was stripped out d to film the transforming special effects scenes and the other was used for stunt driving. A third was used as a backup car. The two on-screen cars have unfortunately been lost, but the third has been safely stored at the Volo Auto Museum in Illinois and now it’s heading to auction.
Based on a Pontiac Firebird , the car is identical to the chassis that did the driving scenes since it was built as a backup car. It’s instantly recognizable thanks to its ‘Super Pursuit Mode’ body modifications and features functional aero brakes on the rear that fold out to provide extra stopping power.
Shaping The Kitt’s Design
With the Trans Ams in the show’s hands, the staff of “Knight Rider” would begin further modifications on the vehicles to give them a futuristic look. Working off detailed renderings from John Schinella, Pontiac’s design chief, the staff modified the cars’ interiors and exteriors to create the KITT’s signature appearance.
Besides making exterior changes that fit the Cylon Warrior look, they also modified the interiors with new buttons, screens and digital readouts. The cars also received fiberglass coverings over the dashboards.;
The decision to allow “Knight Rider” to use the Trans Am ended up being an excellent move by Pontiac. The show was a huge success and put the Trans Am in front of millions of viewers. In addition to the TV show’s popularity, the car also gained notoriety due to the high merchandise sales the series generated. It’s almost unthinkable now to imagine the KITT as any car but the Trans Am.;
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Can Todays Cars Carry On Kitts Legacy
In the 80s, a car capable of super-high speeds, satellite communication, and self-driving was unheard of and totally futuristic. But todays everyday cars boast all of those features. Will that leave jaded audiences unimpressed with the new film?
The Knight Rider reboot, like many Hollywood projects during the pandemic, may take a little longer to come to fruition. Well have to wait to see what producers come up with and hope the new KITT can compare to the 80s car we thought was the coolest of all.
How Did The Pontiac Trans Am Become The Kitt
When “Knight Rider” was in development, the show’s creators homed in on the Pontiac Trans Am to be its primary car. However, Pontiac’s promotion manager, Jim Graham, thought the show sounded corny and didn’t want the car to be associated with it. This aversion to placing the Trans Am in the show wasn’t shared by everyone at Pontiac. The president of Pontiac’s West Coast public relations agency, Eric Dahlquist, was a major fan of the idea of the show using the car.
Many others at Pontiac were on board with placing the car in the show to generate attention and raise Pontiac’s decreasing sales. Dahlquist even got the new Pontiac general manager, Bill Hoglund, on his side.;
Hoglund said he wouldn’t go against Graham’s decision, but if Dahlquist could figure out how to get the car into the show, he would sign off on any paperwork.;With Hoglund in his corner, Dahlquist got the cars to come out of dealer allocations with a bit of wheeling and dealing involved to secure the original three Trans Ams used by the show.;
Dahlquist also contacted the show’s staff to design a modified version of the Trans Am to get the desired look for the series. They planned to change the look of the car’s nose so it could feature a red light. Doing this would make it;look like the Cylon Warrior;from Larson’s previous “Battlestar Galactica” series.
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The Car Is Awesome But Jays Jokes Get In The Way
There are few cars in the world as identifiable and iconic as K.I.T.T. from the quintessential 1980s television show Knight Rider. Being one of the most identifiable and iconic car guys in the world wed expect Jay Leno to be totally into the it, especially considering this isnt a replica but one of the original cars used on the series. In fact, its one of only five that are still around, and it was literally saved from a junkyard by its current owner, Joe Huth. The backstory on this rare car is amazing, but sadly Leno seemed more interesting in poking fun at the owner and his friend because both are superfans of the TV show. Really? Yeah, really.
Knight Industries Four Thousand
A 1991 made-for-TV movie sequel to the 1982 series, Knight Rider 2000, saw KITT’s original microprocessor unit transferred into the body of the vehicle intended to be his successor, the Knight 4000 . The vehicle had numerous 21st-century technological improvements over the 1980s Pontiac Trans-Am version of KITT, such as an amphibious mode , a virtual realityheads-up display , a microwave stun device that could remotely incapacitate a human target, and a microwave projector that could cause the temperatures of targeted objects to quickly rise and either ignite or explode, such as car tires. However, no acknowledgement is made to this spin-off in the 20082009 series revival.
The studio was unable to use the real Pontiac Banshee IV concept car for the movie, so instead it hired Jay Ohrberg Star Cars Inc. to customize a 1991 Dodge Stealth for the Knight 4000. After filming wrapped, the custom car was used on other TV productions of the time and can also be seen, albeit briefly, as a stolen supercar in CHiPs ’99, as repainted future police vehicles in Power Rangers Time Force, in an episode of the television series Black Scorpion in March 2001, and in a hidden camera TV series called Scare Tactics. After being abandoned and unmaintained for 10 years, one of the screen-used cars was offered for sale in January 2021 by Bob’s Prop Shop in Las Vegas.
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Karr Design And Development
KARR was originally designed by Wilton Knight and built by Knight Industries for military purposes for the Department of Defense. After the completion of the vehicle, the KARR processor was installed and activated. However, a programming error caused the computer to be unstable and potentially dangerous. KARR was programmed for self-preservation, but this proved to be dangerous to the Foundation’s humanitarian interests. The project was suspended and KARR was stored until a solution could be found. Once KITT was constructed, it was presumed that its prototype KARR had been deactivated and dismantled. However, the latter did not occur and KARR was placed in storage and forgotten following the death of Wilton Knight. KARR was later unwittingly reactivated by thieves in the original episode Trust Doesn’t Rust, and was thought destroyed, but then reappeared in the episode K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R and was seen to be finally destroyed by Michael and KITT.
What Happened When The Show Was Cancelled
Many of the KITT television show vehicles didnt live long after the shows ended. Ten-to-twelve of them were destroyed after filming ceased, in accordance with an agreement with GM. Some were junked after being thoroughly abused for stunts in the show because stunt drivers show no mercy. Another of the vehicles was placed on display in a theme park for a time.
There are only five surviving KITTs. One was recently brought to;Jay Lenos Garage;for review . Of those five, the original hero car still exists. It was in the Kruse Museum in Auburn, Indiana until recently. Then it;went to storage.
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How Much Is The Original Kitt Car Worth
A bonus of this auction is that if the final vehicle price exceeds the reserve by 25 percent, David Hasselhoff will personally deliver the car to the new owner. The chances of that occurring are extremely good; the current bid is $975,000, and the original estimate for the vehicle was between $175,000 and $300,000.
Taking Security And Safety To A Whole New Level
The idea of collision avoidance technology is not a new thing. Cadillac in the late fifties was developing a radar locating device for its 1959 Cadillac Cyclone XP74. So, when KITT showed up on our screens more than twenty years later, boasting similar capabilities, we may be forgiven for dismissing the idea as unoriginal.
But when we consider that the Hughes Research Laboratories in the mid-nineties created the first modern car avoidance system, then KITT becomes a part of the history of a revolutionary idea, despite the fact it was merely a fictional character on an eighties TV show.
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Why There Are Only Five Original Knight Rider Kitts Left
Four long seasons meant Universal built about twenty stunt cars for Michael Knight. Then, they had to get rid of most them. Only five has survived.
One man might be enough to make a difference, but one Trans Am certainly wasn’t enough to keep Knight Rider a hit TV show between 1982 and 1986. That’s why NBC had to build around twenty. And although we’ve talked about KITT’s curious origins before, the fact that Jay Leno just drove the most original of the five remaining cars calls for further turbo boosting.
Look at it this way: a quarter of the fleet has survived. By movie standards, that’s not bad at all. The problem is that it wasn’t necessarily the jumps that got to the rest.
It won’t shock you to learn that in its debut year, demand was very high for Pontiac’s hottest sports car. This meant NBC could only get four cars to do Knight Rider‘s entire first season. Then, they got lucky. In 1983, a car transporter derailed in California, and although the cars were fine, GM sold 10-12 Firebirds off that train to the studio for a dollar each, with the condition that they had to be destroyed once the cameras stopped rolling. Universal honored that request by dropping a wrecking ball on them, but not before buying another six cars to ensure Super Pursuit Mode could be a thing.
How Pontiac Turned Down Knight Rider
Knight Rider premiered on NBC in 1982, and little did the shows producers or even David Hasselhoff himself know the crazy amounts of success the show would attain and the money it would make.
One man at Pontiac knew and saw the potential when the company was first approached by NBC for a Trans Ams to be modified into the immortal KITT. He was Pontiacs West Coast public relations manager, Eric Dahlquist.
At the time, Pontiacs Sales Promotion Manager Jim Graham found the shows idea to be corny and decided that it went against the kind of image Pontiac wanted for its Firebird Trans Ams, shocking Dahlquist. Graham himself had let the movie Smokey and the Bandit use a Trans Am and it was considered to be a master automotive product placement. Later Graham also made the deal to place the car in Smokey and the Bandit II as well as Hooper and took the Trans Am’s image to new heights.
But Graham could not be convinced to let Knight Rider use a Trans Am and Dahlquist had to find ways to go around him. At the time, Trans Am sales were down and the all-new 1982 Firebird Trans Am was expected to make magic. Despite Grahams resistance, Dahlquist pressed ahead, looping in design chief John Schinella and LA Zone Manager John Kitzmiller. He then enlisted the help of Pontiacs GM, Bill Hoglund, who decided to go ahead if Dahlquist could;bring around Graham.
The rest is knighted history!
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See More At Jay’s Garage:
Lets talk a bit about the car’s backstory, because its absolutely worth knowing. Of approximately 20 Pontiacs used through the course of the show, this was one of the last ones built and lived the hard life of a stunt car. It actually started life as a base Firebird without t-tops, nor did it have the full-on futuristic dash. It did, however, get a 305 cubic-inch V8 and an upgraded Turbo 350 three-speed automatic transmission, as well as significant chassis bracing. It also got a trick braking system that could lock just the fronts for better burnouts, or just the rears for excellent opposite-lock turns.
When the show ended, the car was given a full K.I.T.T. conversion and was put on display at Universal Studios for the better part of a decade. Once that chapter was finished, the car was simply put out to pasture in a junkyard. Enter Huth, who stepped in and restored the car to its glory days at Universal Studios while keeping the original stunt car modifications intact. Because you know, thats what die-hard fans and car enthusiasts do.
Apparently, average car guys who love and saved one the most;famous Hollywood cars of all time are just a bit too nerdy for Jay.
What Could The Kitt Car Do
The KITT car had numerous features that prepared it for almost any situation. As a sentient car, it would use its voice synthesizer to communicate with others. A primary part of the KITT was its Knight 2000 microprocessor. This microprocessor was essentially the car’s brain, making it self-aware and able to think for itself.
Some other primary KITT features included:
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