(Check out my PICS section for some photos of the car)
My family and I build a KITT replica from the 1980’s TV show “Knight Rider” (starring David Hasslehoff). This build started shortly after our son Ryan was born in Nov 2007. Prior to building this my wife (Ania and I) were big into motorcycling. But when Ryan was born our priorities shifted and a new journey had begun.
So we began looking for a new hobby we could enjoy with Ryan. We decided to go to a local car show one day and had a really awesome time there. Sitting and watching, we started thinking about how cool it would be to have our OWN custom car. Then thinking of the options and what fits our lifestyle / childhood, KITT was the ultimate dream-come-true.
So in late 2009 we purchased a 1988 Trans Am GTA Notchback from a gentleman in North Carolina. I took a one-way flight down to see it, did some inspections on it, and then drove it back home (almost 13 hours – NOT comfortable!!!). Immediately after getting the car, we began taking it apart and building / adding the KITT components. From a conversion “accuracy” standpoint, it’s approximately 80% accurate to what you would’ve see in the very last season of the TV show.
And what made the car SUPER unique was the rear hatch. The “Notchback” edition was a 1-year only production option that was only available on the 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM GTA (the exact model we had). A total of 718 GTA Notchbacks were produced in 1988 … 624 of which were sold in the United States. The base model Trans Am we started with was an ORIGINAL Notchback … still in very good condition. And knowing that there were less than two-dozen original Notchbacks left in the world at the time, we decided to deviate from the show a bit and keep this unique hatch on the car. In fact, I believe we owned the world’s only Notchback-style Knight Rider KITT replica.
Since K.I.T.T. (from the TV show) was a car that had an array of very advanced features built into it, we were often asked: “does your car actually DO anything from the TV show?” And many are pleasantly surprised when they learn about the “series-specific” functions we’ve added to our replica. Here’s a short summary of K.I.T.T.’s major features:
– Four 100-watt surround speakers putting out the real voice of K.I.T.T. using actual clips from the TV show….also setup with voice recognition so the owner can have a
2-way conversation with the car
– Front CO2 sprayer, shooting a small burst of CO2 gas with the push of a dash button
– Rear Oil-slick, dropping a small stream of black water onto the ground
– Rear Rocket launcher, sending a rocket (made of PVC ) out the back about 40 ft.
– Turbine sound effects synced with the acceleration of the car’s engine, to simulate the jet turbine sound K.I.T.T.’s engine would make from the TV show
– A cockpit and rear-mounted camera system with basic night vision
– A fully operational dash, where all standard mechanics of the car are still visible
(speed, fuel, tachometer, turn signals, etc. )…which also powers on and off with a specific voice command
– Dial-tone sounds in the upper console area that produce a tone just like the TV show
– Push-button ignition kill switch linked with the upper and lower console buttons
(you need to press these buttons in a certain order to start the car)
It is my intent to hold onto this car as long as I can and ultimately pass it on to my son, Ryan. Until that day, we are honored to be able to bring the car to various comic conventions and 80-themed events all over the east coast. We never tried to profit from the car. Instead we were all about bringing smiles to people’s faces. And this car definitely succeeded in doing so.