Comparing Knight Rider KITTs: 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am vs 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
In a battle of the KITT 2000 vs. the KITT 3000, who would win? That’s the question many Knight Rider fans ask themselves when it comes to the 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am used in the original TV show and the 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 used for its reboot. Both were incredible cars, but what if you could only pick one winner?
The original Firebird KITT had style
The Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT 2000 since it sounds so much cooler, was the bodyguard/super-intelligent car driven by David Hasselhoff on Knight Rider, according to Fandom. The original KITT was a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, which was midnight black. KITT’s voice was provided by William Daniels, better known as Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World.
On the show, KITT had some insane specs. Fraser Engine. Co reports, “The fictitious vehicle was powered by a turbojet engine with modified afterburners, with an eight-speed microprocessor-controlled transmission. It could go from 0-60 mph in 0.2 seconds and cost a mind-blowing $11.4 million dollars to construct.”
In reality, the Firebird Trans Am was equipped with a front-engine 5-liter V8 engine which generated 145 horsepower. Three vehicles in total portrayed KITT during the original seasons, but more were soon added as the show grew in popularity.
General Motors later sold 10 Firebird Trans Ams to Knight Rider for $1 apiece. The real cost was that they had to be destroyed once the show ended. Tragically, each one was smashed with a wrecking ball.
The updated Mustang KITT had more power
The rebooted KITT came with everything from oil slicks to parachutes, according to Fandom. This one was portrayed by a 2008 Ford Mustang GT500KR. On the show, it had a top speed of 377 mph. Val Kilmer provided the voice for the 3000.
In reality, Net Car Show reports the Mustang GT500KR had a 5.2-liter V8 engine that could produce 540 horsepower. It was a massive upgrade over the original KITT’s 145 horsepower. Thanks to the epic stunts KITT had to perform, it came with an automatic transmission.
This KITT had three modes. HERO, ATTACK, and camouflage. There were six Mustangs used to portray this modern KITT. However, the rebooted show only lasted one season before it was canceled.
Where are the K.I.T.Ts at now?
Now that the shows are over, both KITTs have officially entered a well-deserved retirement. However, you won’t find them putting the ball with their buddies at the golf course. Most versions and backups of the Knight Rider cars were sold at auction.
According to Car and Driver, the original KITT owned by David Hasselhoff was sold at auction back in 2021. The top bid was reported as $450,000. Hasselhoff was willing to deliver KITT to anyone willing to pay more than 25% above the reserve. Hot Cars reports that the owners of the website KittStillRocks owns two others, while one is owned by a private collector. Yet another was sold on eBay back in 2018. A third was sold at auction on Julien’s for $192,000.
So, which is the better KITT? In spite of the fact that the Ford Mustang GT500KR had superior specs, fans of Knight Rider will always remember KITT as the Firebird Trans Am. It was just as fun car to watch in action, and it became one of the main characters and the biggest draw to the show.
While there’s no doubt that the 2008 Ford Mustang GT500KR was cool, it simply couldn’t compete with its predecessor, which won the hearts of Knight Rider fans everywhere.