It has been 30-plus years since the Knight Industries Two Thousand, otherwise known as K.I.T.T., became the most famous TV-show car of the '80s.
In 2013, former Motor Trend writer Chuck Koch inquired if High Performance Pontiac wanted to share the unpublished story of K.I.T.T. with our readers. His info included:
• A wild story of Pontiac's first brush with death!
• How coincidences brought Hollywood producers in contact with Pontiac's west coast public-relations firm Vista Group!
• Why Pontiac middle management vetoed the very idea of a talking Trans Am!
• How Trans Am Styling Chief John Schinella sketched the very first K.I.T.T. onto a cocktail napkin during an informal brain-storming session!
• And much more!
If it sounds like a plot line that could only originate in Hollywood, you're right, but this one is absolutely true. Joe Huth is one of the nation's foremost authorities of Knight Rider and the car K.I.T.T. His book, Knight Rider: 30 Years of a Lone Crusader and His Talking Car is considered the definitive tome on both subjects.
"K.I.T.T. was a top-of-the-line '82 Trans Am that could talk, perform incredible stunts (such as turbo-boosting over obstacles), and drive itself"
"Don't confuse Smokey and the Bandit with Knight Rider," Joe tells us. "True, they both prominently featured a black Trans Am, both had a semi truck following them around for support, and both had wild car chases, but that's where the similarities end. While the Bandit spent his time outrunning the law, the Knight Rider was the law. Michael Long (David Hasselhoff) was a Los Angeles police officer, shot and nearly killed in the line of duty. Saved by a dying billionaire and reborn as Michael Knight, he championed the causes of the innocent, and with the help of an artificially intelligent super car, he fought criminals who operated above the law.
"K.I.T.T. was a top-of-the-line '82 Trans Am that could talk, perform incredible stunts (such as turbo-boosting over obstacles), and drive itself. Armed with lasers, ejector seats, and a bulletproof shell, K.I.T.T. was the ultimate partner in Knight's crusade against crime." But it nearly didn't happen, and in Part 1 of K.I.T.T. Confidential, author Koch explains why.
As a special bonus to our readers, we share with you modern-day photos of a K.I.T.T. actually used in the TV show. Referred to as "Camera Car No. 1" by its owner, Carl Casper, this retired TV-star Tran Am is housed at the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum.
High Performance Pontiac's 50th Anniversary of the GTO celebration continues this month with a spotlight on the '68 GTO. We start off with a four-speed GTO that's just turned 25—thousand miles, that is. This April Gold Goat was bought by its original owner in August 1968, and he still owns it.
We also reprint Motor Trend's 1968 Car of the Year (COTY) article, awarding the '68 GTO top honors, beating back fierce competition from the upstart Plymouth Roadrunner and the restyled Dodge Charger.
If you have the original Motor Trend Feb. '68 issue in which this story first appeared, you'll see we give High Performance Pontiac readers another treat. We included photos that were never published in the original story, instead they sat in Source Interlink Media's archives for 46 years. We're proud to share these previously unpublished photographs with the world for the first time.
What do you think of our year-long GTO anthology so far? Send us an email, and like us at www.facebook.com/highperformancepontiac, where you can leave your comments in real time and check out our web-exclusive features.