See One of the Original Knight Rider K.I.T.T. Cars; Custom Pontiac Firebird Sports Model
The star of the Knight Rider TV series was K.I.T.T, a 1982 customized Pontiac Firebird Sports model. It cost about $100k back in the day to create; equivalent to about $245k today. K.I.T.T. was a Knight Industries Two Thousand, an AI processor inside of the indestructible car. And by the way, actor David Hasselhoff played the human sidekick Michael Knight. An actor by the name of William Daniels did the voices for K.I.T.T., though uncredited as he was a cast member of St. Elsewhere.
Original Knight Rider Cars
Michael Scheffe, a pattern maker and prop builder designed and remodeled the Firebird for the show. Scheffe was trained in airplane design that shows up in the interior. The car was cool and sleek and appealed to car buffs. The design anticipated modern car instrumentation using digital or graphic flat screens and GPS capabilities. The studio had a total of four cars with the last three being tricked out by the studio.
What Kind of Car was K.I.T.T.?
One of the constraints placed on filming was to avoid totaling any cars. Firebirds where in high demand and short supply, the factory only cut loose four cars for the studio. Bondo and a paint job and they were off and running if damaged. Each car differed in form and function. The ‘hero’ car was used for shots with Hasselhoff. A hidden driver car with it set up to be driven from the rear seat when KITT was off and running on his own or Hasselhoff was sleeping and KITT was driving. The jump car was lightened with fiberglass body components and the ground-based stunt car for doing donuts and taking out fences. The first and second season were pretty much limited to the original 4 cars.
K.I.T.T. Knight Rider Fleet
The fleet was to grow in 1983. A train transporting some Trans Ams from a plant derailed in California. State law prohibited the sales of the cars even though none were damaged. 10 to 12 cars were sold to the studio for $1.00 each with the proviso the studio couldn’t sell the cars and they had to be destroyed when the studio was done with them. All but five cars where destroyed at the completion of the series. But K.I.T.T. was to live on.
Real VS Replica K.I.T.T. Cars
KITT kits become the rage with some going the DIY route to mod their rides, to a $60k kit. They don’t talk, and handling and ride suffer. Replicas turn up on a regular basis, but there are ‘tells’ that an expert can spot. Joe Huth and AJ Palmgren are two self-proclaimed experts and Knight Rider historians. They have determined the criteria for an authentic Knight Rider is that is was used on the show. Again, only five survived.
Baseball, Military & Automotive Museums in Auburn, Indiana
But a customized Dodge Stealth was featured in Knight Rider 2000, a sequel. A movie version has been beat around since 2002. In 2015 a media report that production was in the works and included David Hasselhoff. Wonder which car and KITT voice actor they will choose? Numerous items from remote control KITT cars and other toys and games were produced. For a look-see at one of the original movie cars, visit Kruse Museums today!