The cars used in Knight Rider were 1982 -1983 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams, most with either the ‘Crossfire’ injected 305 V8 or a normally carbureted 305 or 350, turbo 350 transmission with the convertible car in Season 4 being a Pontiac Firebird S/E 2.8 carbureted V6.
The production used all three body types throughout filming. The main cars were T-Tops, the stunt cars were hard top and obviously the ‘C’ button car was a convertible.
So what do I need to make a replica?
The 3rd generation F-body shape didn’t change from 1982 to 1992 when production ended, however things like fenders, hoods, spoilers, bumpers, wheels and trim altered over the years so here are a list of items you should have to have an authentic KITT replica.
The ‘hero’ car originally was a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with silver N89 ‘Turbo Cast’ aluminium 15″ wheels with black ‘BOWLING BALL’ hub caps, code 19 Lamp Black over code 55 gold exterior paintwork, 64D9 camel tan cloth interior, AR9 Viscount bucket seats, A31 power windows, AU3 power locking, C60 AC, CC1 T-Tops, A90 remote trunk release, D42 cargo security screEn and the LU5 ‘Crossfire’ injected 305 V8 motor WITH MV9 TH200C Automatic transmission WHICH WAS REPLACED WITH THE TURBO 350 AUTOMATIC TRANS.
T-ROOF. If you’re going for authenticity, you’ll need to find a t-top car, but this shouldn’t be a problem as most of them were!
Don’t forget that the stunt cars were all hard top cars made to look like T-Roof cars, so you’re still ok making a KR from one of those.
COWL INDUCTION HOOD. Called this due to its offset cowl for induction of cold air in a low pressure area beneath the windshield, directly fed into the carb. It was fitted to most 1982-1984 Trans Ams and also all the 1986-1990 Firebird Formulas.
1982-1983 REAR BUMPER. Only these two years were fitted with the correct style rear bumper. They were exactly the same on Firebird and Firebird Trans Am.
1982-1984 TRANS AM TAIL LIGHTS. The Firebird version is NOT the same.
1982-1983 TRANS AM REAR GROUND EFFECTS. Fitted to Trans Am only. They act as air dams, deflecting the air flow around the wheel.
1982-1984 TRANS AM FRONT FENDERS. Firebirds of the same age do NOT have the front fender vents which both KITT and KARR had.They were available on all 82-84 Trans Ams.
1982-1983 TRANS AM N89 15″ TURBO CAST ALUMINIUM WHEELS. Fitted only to Trans Am, but 14″ version can be found fitted to Firebird S/E. KITT didn’t have the centre Pontiac sticker in place. These were fitted with 215/65/R15 tyres stock.
1982-1985 CLEAR GLASS HATCH. Clearly not suitable for all climates but if you’re going for accurate….! There was no heater/demister/defogger on either KITT or KARR.
1982-1989 FLAT HATCH SPOILER. This spoiler was fitted to Firebird Trans Am from 1982 to 1984 and most base Firebirds between 1985 and 1989.
EARLY 1982 WINDSHIELD WITH NO TINT. This is for the superfan. Extraordinarily rare but neither KITT nor KARR had tint at the top of the screen.
You can use any year Firebird black dash as it is covered and you need to trim sections of it away to fit the KR dash anyway. The rest of the interior can be changed out for the correct year items.
1982-1983 TRANS AM OR S/E ‘VISCOUNT’ BUCKET SEATS. Sometimes referred to as ‘PMD’ seats due to seat badges, but this simply stood for ‘Pontiac Motor Division’. The carpet & door vinyl was ‘Camel Tan’, the seat material was Camel Tan ‘Parella’ cloth (or Doeskin Vinyl) and the headliner, sail panels & visors were ‘Doeskin Tan’.
1982-1992 SOLID BACK REAR SEATS. These were available right through production. However ‘Camel Tan. was only available until around 1985, the interior plastics later changed to Beechwood tan and its accompanying material was much darker.
1982-1984 FIREBIRD OR TRANS AM CENTRE CONSOLE. As above, just isn’t authentic without it, although you can use a similar year Camaro centre console if you prefer to have the lid opening front to back rather than side to side. Some trimming will be required in this case.
1982-1983 FIREBIRD & TRANS AM AUTOMATIC SHIFTER. Only fitted to these two years, but essential on an authentic replica.
1982-1989 FIREBIRD DOOR PANEL. But obviously in the correct tan material. For accuracy they should have no map pocket, black arm rests and should include the very rare manual winder hole covers which were covered by emblems from the 1980 or ’81 Trans Am.
1982 TRANS AM CHROME DOOR TRIM. The metal door trim was only available in polished metal/chrome on the 1982 Trans Am. All subsequent years were matt black.