When Knight Rider came out during the 1980s, the nearly indestructible KITT, a heavily modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, blew everyone away. Even today, it remains one of the coolest cars ever, and fans spend valuable time and resources building their own real-life KITTs.
One such auto enthusiast from Detroit-area recently showcased his homemade perfect replica of the famous movie car, which he spent about three years working on, in a promotional video for a car insurance company . Chris Palmer says he needed five Pontiac Trans Ams, numerous custom parts and countless hours of work to create his four-wheeled masterpiece. He also had to rely on the generosity of his friends to finance his obsession of owning his own perfect KITT, but in the end “it was totally worth it – more than worth it”. He has been dreaming of sitting behind KITT’s steering wheel ever since he was a little kid, and his obsession stuck with him throughout the years. He has owned 15 or 16 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams since he started driving, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that he decided to take on the challenge of building a perfect replica of the Knight Industries Two Thousand.
He started out with 1991 Pontiac Trans Am which had a better drive train but was nine years newer than the car used in Knight Rider. He eventually bought four more Trans Ams – two each from 1982 and 1983 – so he could replace the necessary panels and parts to make his car look exactly like KITT. Palmer’s ’91 Pontiac had a five-speed manual transmission, unlike KITT’s automatic, so he chopped the gear shift and swapped out the knob to make it look authentic. He was lucky enough the find the trademark front bumper and complete dashboard on eBay, and he just had to modify those and install them. In the end, the car turned out better than he ever hoped, as evidenced by all the attention he gets driving around in his impressive KITT.
Chris, who is president of the newly created Great Lakes Knights Car Club, now hopes to use his experience to build more movie-replica cars for other like-minded fans.