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K.I.T.T. - Knight Industries Two Thousand, a sleek, computerized 1982 black Pontiac Trans-Am (Serial No. Alpha Delta 227529) on the adventure series KNIGHT RIDER/NBC/1982-86.

Cast of KNIGHT RIDER
Devon Miles, Michael Knight and Bonnie Barstow with K.I.T.T.

Created by millionaire Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) and his research team of Von Borman, Breelin and Yamada, K.I.T.T. was designed to be the ultimate crime fighting vehicle. Its most sophisticated feature was a molecular bonded coating which surrounded the car and made it impervious to gunfire. Other design perks included:

  • turbo booster rockets mounted onto the rear which propelled the car 50 feet through the air
  • computer controlled automatic pilot; smoke screens, flame throwers, an ejection seat, (a la James Bond)
  • auto-cruise silent mode
  • ski mode
  • audio/visual capabilities which included intercepting police calls, voice analyzer, and video cameras to record all surrounding landscapes
  • two-wheel balancing capability used to escape through narrow openings; riding on top of water (made possible by a third stage aquatic synthesizer)
  • a top cruising speed of 300 m.p.h.

The heart of the car's system was a main microprocessor computer program called K.I.T.T. (voice of William Daniels) that interacted with its human rider, Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff), a former L.A.P.D. police officer (Michael Arthur Long of the 11th Precinct) disfigured in an accident and given a new identity and job with F.L.A.G. (Foundation for Law and Government), headed by Devon Miles, (Edward Mulhare).

F.L.A.G. was established with the funds bequeathed by Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) to carry on his crusade against evil-doers. A two-way wrist radio (shades of Dick Tracy!) kept Michael in contact with K.I.T.T. when he was out of its cockpit.

High-Tech Dashboard - KNIGHT RIDER
K.I.T.T.'s dashboard assembly

Despite K.I.T.T.'s, seemingly indestructibility, the futuristic car had its Achilles heels, (or should I say wheels?). Once K.I.T.T. was dropped into a pool of toxic waste which eroded its circuits to the point where only the barest shreds of its memory banks remained.

Luckily, K.I.T.T. was restored to its former computerized (and often arrogant) self. so it could continue battling such villains as his evil "twin" brother, K.A.R.R. (Knight Automated Roving Robot), an devious duplicate of K.I.T.T. (voice of Peter Cullen) with such nefarious program directives as short circuiting pacemakers...Now that's mean!; and Goliath, an indestructible truck owned by Wilton Knight's evil son, Garthe (David Hasselhoff with a mustache).

Knight Indistries Two Thousand - KITT

During the 1985-86 season K.I.T.T. received 11 new upgrades including:

  • super pursuit mode
  • ultra-stop emergency decelerators
  • satellite scanner and transponder
  • high visibility mode (negative roof)
  • ultra-lite frequency degauzers
  • reverse polarity destabilizers
  • water-cooled Cabrillo accelerators
  • re-engineered modular suspension
  • infra-red tracking and intercept system
  • zero gravity induction system and high performance liquid chromatography work station

Servicing K.I.T.T.'s mechanical and computer systems were Bonnie Barstow (Patricia McPherson) and April Curtis (Rebecca Holden/1983-84). In the fall 1985-86 season , a hip, young black mechanic named Reginald Cornelius III, aka "RC3" (Peter Parros) was employed by FLAG after he augmented K.I.T.T.'s speed and braking performance by 40%.

Knight Rider 2000

On 5/19/91, a new TV-movie Knightrider 2000 featured an amazing new K.I.T.T. in a spectacular hell-on-wheels adventure set in the year 2000. Michael Knight came out of retirement to help with a new Knight 4000 project and discovered unfortunately that his old car was disassembled with parts sold to research as scrap-including the internal memory chips that comprised the original personality of K.I.T.T. (fortunately most were retrieved and K.I.T.T. was restored).

The new car was a bold, deep red colored sports car with black-tinted windows and a black top. Features included:

  • a three-liter, 300 horsepower engine.
  • digital sampling analyzer for identifying and duplicating human voice patterns.
  • thermal expanders that heat up the tires on a fleeing car-and exploded them .
  • hydrofoil capabilities that turned K.I.T.T. into a speedboat .
  • a collision factor analyzer which calculated when it was safe to run a red light or weave through traffic at high speeds.
  • and a virtual reality windshield that enhanced topography and visibility.

Also along for the ride this time round was Shawn McCormick (Susan Norman), a police woman with one of K.I.T.T.'s microprocessor chips implanted into her head. With the death of Devon Miles at the hands of gunrunners, a new project coordinator named Maddock (Carmen Argenziano) took over the operations. See also "Team Knight Rider"

In 2008, a remake of the series KNIGHT RIDER starred Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur, the son of Michael Knight. This time round his son drove a supped up Mustang called K.I.T.T. (voiced by Val Kilmer). The vehicle had the ability to transform (morph) into other vehicle designs (all Ford products, of course). Mike communicated with K.I.TT. via an earwig listening device.

Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur, the son of Michael Knight

Mike's Mustang High Tech Windshield - KNIGHT RIDER
Mike's Mustang with hi-tech windshield monitor

TRIVIA NOTE: To make the K.I.T.T. car appear it was driving by itself, the car featured a right-hand driving position with a second steering wheel installed below the dash. The stunt driver sat slunk down in a reconfigured passenger seat which allowed him to see over the car's cowl but still remain hidden from general view.

During the actual filming of the series there were six identical Trans-AM's used for the stunt sequences. Often when a stunt car did a 50 foot jump, it's structural integrity was compromised and sometimes the car even broke in half. Covering the exterior of each of these back-up cars was an onion skin coating which was peeled off when dirty or scratched, thus insuring a shiny, spotless automobile for each shot.

Model car versions of K.I.T.T. were manufactured by MPC, and Ertl/AMT company. The K.I.T.T. car is an attraction at Universal Studios in Southern California.


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