The Knight Industries Two Thousand car, more commonly known as KITT, was the automotive star in the television series Knight Rider from the early 1980s. As is common with television productions, multiple cars were used for the series. So, over 20 cars were eventually acquired and modified appropriately for their role either as the hero or stunt car. What happened to them?
What Was KITT?
KITT was based on a variety of vehicles ranging in years from 1982 through 1984. Many were Pontiac Firebirds, while others were a Firebird Trans Am. Some of the vehicles had T-Tops, while others were hardtop models that had dressing from the production company to appear as they had T-Tops.
In the television show, the car had a pulsating red light in the hood that depicted the X-ray or infra-red scanning abilities of the vehicle. KITT’s interior was updated from a standard Trans Am to that of a futuristic cockpit. KITT also had artificial intelligence. In fact, the car talked to the driver, Michael Knight, played by David Hasselhoff.
Actor William Daniels was the voice of KITT. The car could also be summoned by the driver by a handy wristwatch. Satellite communication was handy for KITT as well. In later years of the television series, the vehicle was upgraded with a “Super Pursuit Mode” that would portray the vehicle going up to three hundred miles per hour.
The car was a hit with audiences. As a result, it spawned many replicas throughout the years. One of those replicas was recently used in the History channel’s Battle of the 80’s Supercars show. Fittingly, David Hasselhoff hosted the show. KITT was placed up against the A-Team van and a motorcycle from the series CHiPs in races.
What Happened When the Show Was Cancelled?
Many of the KITT television show vehicles didn’t 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 Leno’s Garage for review (See Below). 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.
Yearly Knight Rider conventions bring a few of the remaining original cars together along with the hundreds of replicas that have been made since the show’s end. KITT has also been spotted at Comic-Con and Sci-Fi conventions in the past. This year there is a Knight Rider Festival scheduled for Las Vegas, Nevada in June. The event is billed as a day of “Cars and Stars” and is expected to showcase other popular movie and television vehicles. KITT will fit right in.