This is the story of a lovingly restored 1984 Pontiac Firebird S/E, converted into a functional KITT replica from the hit 80’s TV show, Knight Rider™, and its fundraising journey around the U.K.
So what was Knight Rider?
‘Knight Rider‘ was NBC’s world famous prime-time TV show which starred David Hasselhoff and his trusty sidekick; the infamous car, K.I.T.T.; the Knight Industries Two Thousand which was built by talented designer Michael Scheffe (responsible for other wonders such as the DeLorean Time Machine in Back to the Future) on the very first pair of 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams to roll off the production line.
It was a true ‘family’ show created by Glen Larson ,a writer/producer who was responsible for other massive television hits such as Magnum P.I. and Battlestar Galactic, among many others. The show clearly defined good and bad, demonstrating a moderate level of action yet minimal violence, maintaining a warm feeling of fairness and justice.
The chosen cast was excellent. David Hasselhoff was the perfect choice for Michael Knight being a young, good-looking guy and already having a following from ‘The Young and the Restless’; Edward Mulhare brought an air of class with his perfect British accent and mannerisms (despite being an Irishman) and Patricia McPherson added some intelligent eye candy for the guys depicting KITTs capable and stunning mechanic.
Due to KITT’s dash design referencing aerospace engineering it also pioneered advanced technology in vehicles, which is something we now take for granted in our cars. For example; bullet proof vehicles, extreme fuel efficiency, self driving ability, LED dash displays, multiple readouts, TV’s in a vehicle, location information, online mapping, sensor displays, mobile communications, video calls, and you could say that KITT is SIRI’s Grandfather!
The show demonstrated the ‘right thing to do’ even if it came at a cost. Television isn’t made like this anymore.
What is Knight Rider now?
‘Knight Rider‘ is still a global phenomenon with continuous re-runs in almost every country on the planet. Combined with online forums and parts vendors all over the world who support fans and replica car builders, KITT and Michael Knight are never far from people’s minds or children’s imaginations.
I believe that it will live on for decades to come through the fans and the original cast members who now fly all over the world to meet the kids of the 80’s who fell in love with a TV show; a show that lives on in their hearts and minds and in most cases had a profound effect on them as they grew up.
Knight Rider will never stop inspiring people; teaching a valuable lesson to anyone capable of love, compassion and understanding that….
….one man can make a difference.
Why am I doing this?
I grew up watching Knight Rider in syndication around 1988 and I totally fell in love with firstly the car, but the more I watched it, the more the cast became family to me; precious even. Watching Devon, Michael, Bonnie and KITT help people who couldn’t help themselves taught me some basic principles which I honestly believed have shaped part of my character for the better.
The car; oh the car. The 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. It comes from a long lineage of fabulous Pontiac muscle cars which have been improved with each iteration, and this; the third generation Firebird, is no exception. Glen Larson, Knight Rider’s creator, was lucky enough to have the very first two off the production line to make his teaser for the network which is the first half of the pilot episode with the weird looking front nose.
I am unashamedly utterly in love with the shape of these cars, and its something thats not going to change so I decided the best way to honour both the show and the car was to make a replica from a fully restored Firebird.
What did we have to work with?
Car 1 : 1985 Pontiac Firebird S/E 2.8 MPFi
This was pretty rotten so donated various parts including its motor and drivetrain, rear seats and trim, all of which were fully rebuilt and restored.
Car 2 : 1984 Pontiac Firebird S/E 5.0 V8
This donated its shell, which underwent a complete ground up restoration, and its rear bumper.
Every other component was sourced new with the exception of some very difficult to find items which were subjected to professional restoration and refurbishment.
What happens after that?
Just storing the car to use it on sunny days? Er, no; this car was built for use so in an attempt to give something back to those who need it, particularly children, we are actively approaching various children’s charities across the U.K. and offering people a chance to meet KITT and spend some time with him, get a photo (with a charity donation) and hopefully put some beaming smiles on everyones faces.
Any opportunity that arises we’ll drive around the UK raising money for whichever charity deems us appropriate to represent them.
David, with the original cast and crew opened up the set to any child who was sick or who wrote in and asked to meet them; this is the example we try to follow. It might be 35 years later but people still need hope and love, and we’re only here once, right?
For availability enquiries please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
it’s what you do that defines you. if this brings joy to others, i’m good with that.