Say what you will about the 1980s NBC television series Knight Rider and its iconic Knight Industries Two Thousand, car enthusiasts just can’t seem to get enough of KITT. We can’t either.
We’ve told the story of how a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am became the famous talking/crime stopping superhero. We’ve written about KITT replica builders and created videos featuring their creations. Comedian Byron Bowers even considered making KITT the last car that he’ll ever own, although he ultimately decided to keep looking.
Now one of six original KITT Knight Rider studio promotional cars is headed to auction. Among Hollywood’s most beloved ’80s pop culture artifacts, the KITT Firebird Trans Am is part of Julien’s “Hollywood: Legends & Explorers” Auction set to culminate July 18–19. The car has a pre-sale estimate of $100,000–$200,000, about 10–20 times more than the very best non-KITT 1982 Firebird Trans Am out there. Online bidding is already underway. [Editor’s note: The KITT Firebird sold for $192,000.]
According to The Knight Rider Historians, the vehicle was created by Universal Studios and used in tours and appearances promoting the Knight Rider series, which ran from 1982–87 and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight. The show made Hasselhoff an international star, and the car was also used in Hasselhoff’s “Night Rocker” concert tour in Austria in 1987. It was later exhibited at the Siegfried Marcus Automobile Museum in Stockerau, Austria through 2005. It has been signed by Hasselhoff.
The interior of the car retains approximately 50 percent of the original custom dashboard and electronics from its 1983–86 USA car show tour. The Firebird comes with bill of sale only; it is offered for static display purposes only and cannot be legally or safely driven on public roads or highways.
The vehicle was created by Universal Studios and used in tours and appearances promoting the Knight Rider series, which ran from 1982–87 and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight. The show made Hasselhoff an international star, and it accompanied him on his “Night Rocker” concert tour in Austria in 1987. KITT was later exhibited at the Siegfried Marcus Automobile Museum in Stockerau, Austria through 2005. It has been signed by Hasselhoff, who also provided a certificate of authenticity.
Knight Rider’s indestructible self-driving black Trans Am was smart, fast, and had a sense of humor, and the car seemed to enjoy poking fun at Michael. Its voice was provided by William Daniels, who was also starring in St. Elsewhere at the time and was surprised to learn what he was actually auditioning for when NBC asked him for a voice recording. Daniels wasn’t sure it would work, but somehow it did—in no small part because of the public’s fascination with KITT. Nearly four decades later, the car and the show still have plenty of fans.
Other notable items in the auction include a space suit from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Christopher Reeve’s Superman cape, composer John Williams’ scores for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, photographer Jack Warford’s collection of original Star Wars prints, the actual rudder-control sticks used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, items from Apollo 17’s last mission to the moon, and costumes, props, and memorabilia from some of Hollywood’s biggest films.
You can view the complete catalog here.