It’s time to learn more about everyone’s favorite crime-fighting muscle car.
There’s no denying the lasting influence of Knight Rider on American culture and the automotive world. People around the globe have gone to great lengths to make KITT cloneswhich they proudly show off at shows, cruises, and meets. The mini-documentary accompanying this article explains some of the behind-the-scenes elements of the show everyone seems to love.
For example, you learn the first two 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am cars taken off the assembly line were used to make the pilot episode. There’s no doubt GM saw the primetime series on NBC as an excellent commercial for its newest muscle car. It was a success as shoppers flocked to showrooms because they wanted to be more like Michael Knight.
We also learn that the commercial might have been a little too good. People were asking dealers for a Trans Am that looked just like KITT, including all the tech goodies on the inside and the scanner on the nose. That’s when GM asked the show’s producers to stop referring to the car as a Trans Am, because apparently that would fix things since nobody would know what it was.
On the production set everyone would talk about KITT as if the car were one of the actors, not a set piece. That personification of the Pontiac went so far that some crew members fully expected to hear it talk right there, even though everyone really knew the voiceovers were added in post-production afterward.
Since KITT was sassy towards Michael a lot, the show’s producers definitely gave the Trans Am an attitude, which obviously was really effective.
Another undeniable appeal of Knight Rider was that the show in a way was America’s answer to James Bond. You have a hero with some really cool gadgets – actually just one really cool gadget – who also is a ladies’ man but focuses more on getting the bad guys. But what adds the fun element is the fact the car does a lot of the crime fighting work.
The Hoff has the Knight Rider theme song set as his ringtone. It’s a constant reminder of how the show was his big break as an actor and helped define his career. It also helped reestablish the supremacy of American muscle cars, and for that we’re supremely grateful.