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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcome Newsweek Readers!

If you are coming to our site due to the Newsweek article that we recently collaborated on, welcome! Please take a moment and join our Facebook page for all kinds of interesting information about Knight Rider:

We are also hosting a KITT Car Reunion on April 29th at the Kruse Museum in Auburn, Indiana. We are reuniting three of the surviving five Knight Rider cars! Please check it out here:

Thanks and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Original K.I.T.T. #1995

When "Knight Rider" began filming its third season in 1984, the producers built an all-new K.I.T.T. car to be used for insert shots - the car that was usually towed while the actors inside played out their scene. This new car was K.I.T.T. #1995. This is also the ONLY car the show ever had in which the "Auto Roof" feature actually worked. In fact, in this scene from "Knights of the Fast Lane", you can see the mechanism as Jack Gill drives past:

Jack Gill drive #1995 in "Knights of the Fast Lane"

This episode, along with "Knight in Disgrace", are the only two episodes in the third season in which we see #1995 from the exterior. It was used in every third season episode, but viewers mainly saw the inside. This is also one of the few cars to have the 1983+ split rear seat back.

The Interior of #1995

Another interesting detail worth noting, and it will become important later on. #1995 only had the Trans Am-style rear stone guard on its driver's side, and NOT the passenger side!

Stone guard!

No stone guard!

Also, one other detail that is worth pointing out, as it will be important later. Take note of the hole in the passenger side rear trim panel, where the show normally had a trunk pull cable mounted. This shot is from "Ten Wheel Trouble" in season three:

Trunk pull cable hole in "Ten Wheel Trouble"

Fast forward to the summer before the fourth season. Universal Studios had contracted George Barris to build the Super Pursuit Mode car and the Convertible car. For the SPM car, Universal gave Barris one of their already existing cars - 1995 - to convert to the full-time Super Pursuit car with working EBS flaps!

Remember the stone guard discrepancy? Here it is on #1995 again, as the Super Pursuit car:

Stone guard!

No stone guard!

Here's a rare shot of the interior of the Super Pursuit car, from "Knight of the Juggernaut". Check out the trunk cable hole - EXACT same location as what we saw in #1995 in "Ten Wheel Trouble!"

#1995 as the SPM car with the same trunk cable hole

So there you go! #1995, first used as the insert car for all of season three, converted to the full-time, non-transforming Super Pursuit Mode car for season four and, ultimately (and unfortunately) crushed upon the series' conclusion.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Original K.I.T.T. #1967

K.I.T.T. #1967

Throughout the course of the first season of Knight Rider, the show didn't have a dedicated "blind drive" car (meaning, a dedicated car that was only used for when K.I.T.T. was seen driving by himself). Rather, the crew would simply place the blind drive seat in whatever car was available at that time.

Beginning in the second season, the show acquired a number of additional cars. One of those cars, a 1983 Trans Am, became the full-time, dedicated "blind drive car".

The car was first used in the very first episode FILMED for the second season, "Return to Cadiz". It's fairly easy to spot, as besides the slightly mis-shapened driver's side seat, it also had a rear view mirror mount and a passenger side sun visor still in place. #1967 also (briefly) had the season 1 style overhead console, the only other car besides the season 1 hero car to have it. This overhead can only be seen in #1967 in this episode and the next one filmed, "Ring of Fire", before it is replaced with the more form fitting season 2/3/4 style overhead console.

#1967 makes its debut in "Return to Cadiz"

For the second season, the interior of #1967 was mocked up and not meant to be seen on camera. It featured a telescopic round stunt steering wheel, a custom, long-reach shifter and a half-dash shell that was meant to resemble the overall shape of K.I.T.T.'s dash from afar.

In this screencap from "Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend", viewers get a quick glimpse of #1967's interior, sans the driver's side blind drive seat.

By the start of season 3, #1967's interior was upgraded. Since the show upgraded K.I.T.T.'s dashboard, they had no need for the season 1/2 hero dash. They removed that hero dash and placed it in #1967. If you ever spotted K.I.T.T.'s 2-TV dash in the 3rd and 4th seasons of the show, that's #1967!

#1967's interior for season's 3 and 4. The pods were removed from the hero car. Overhead console was devoid of buttons. The long-reach shifter, installed in season 2, is still in use. The switch mounted to the side of the factory lower console are the headlight and fog light switches, moved from their factory locations to make them easier to reach for the blind driver.

By the final season, #1967 was mostly unchanged from the previous year, except it received the new, season 4 style rubber front nose.

#1967 in a screencap from "Deadly Knightshade"

So, what happened to #1967? As was the fate of most of the Knight Rider cars, it was crushed at the conclusion of the series.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Original, Screen Used K.A.R.R. License Plates - FOUND!

We have some amazing, exciting news for all of you! File this under, "Props That We Thought Were Long Since Destroyed".

Earlier this summer, we acquired 3 original, screen used KARR license plates, from the most well loved episode of the series ever, "K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R."!!

We wish we could say that our excellent detective skills led us to the plates, but in reality, we were contacted through our site by the former owner. He actually had 4 plates, and sold us 3 of them, keeping the remaining one for himself. We are forever grateful to him!

They exhibit all of the typical wear seen on a 30 year old prop license plate, to include peeling paint and cracks in the clear coat used to finish them off.

The plates are constructed in exactly the same way as the KNIGHT plates, starting with a blank metal plate and hand glued letters.

Below is a comparison of one of the KARR plates to an original KNIGHT plate that we have in our collection. Notice that the KNIGHT plate is faded a bit, due to its extensive use, while the KARR plate exhibits slightly less wear.

Another original Knight Rider prop - saved and preserved!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Original K.I.T.T. #1196

For the final season of "Knight Rider", Universal Studios contracted with George Barris to build a convertible version of K.I.T.T., seen above. While the "C Mode" K.I.T.T. was only used a handful of times, it is fondly remembered by the fans.

In June of 1985, Barris began the conversion of a 1982 Pontiac Firebird (base model) into the convertible version of our favorite talking car. This car, as equipped from the factory, was Maroon on the outside with a gray cloth interior, a V-6 engine, and very few options. It didn't even have the full instrument cluster, but rather the required speedometer, tachometer and dummy lights for the rest!

This car was built over the course of a couple weeks at Barris' Kustom City shop in North Hollywood, CA, before being delivered to Universal.

When the series ended in 1986, the remaining dozen (or so) K.I.T.T. cars were left to languish on Universal's backlot. Most of the cars ended up getting crushed, per an agreement between Universal and Pontiac. A select few of the cars were saved from this fate, due to the ownership status of those particular cars. The convertible is one of those that was saved. These cars were acquired by a car show exhibitor, and spent the next few years touring on the Budweiser World of Wheels car circuit.

Here, you can see the convertible on display a few months after the series ended.

In 2002, the car was put up for auction at Kruse and sold to the Cars of the Stars Museum in Keswick, England, where it stayed until 2012. The museum's contents were then sold to the Dezer Museum in Miami, FL, where the car still resides today.

In late 2013, we were honored to be asked to do some minor repair work on the car's scanner. We are happy to report that the Dezer Museum is taking excellent care of this unique piece of Knight Rider's History!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Our Facebook Page!

Just a quick reminder...we only update this site every once in a while, but for regular Knight Rider related updates, please follow us on our Facebook page: Knight Rider Historians on Facebook

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The On Screen History of the F.L.A.G. semi

The Mobile Unit. The F.L.A.G. semi. Whatever you call it, it's an integral part of "Knight Rider". Throughout the course of the series, there were various incarnations of the semi. Here, we will break them all down for you. Did we miss any? Let us know!

Version #1:

This version of the semi was only briefly seen at the very end of the Pilot.  The correct GMC General cab is used, and we believe this is the same Dorsey drop trailer used throughout the series, but with a very unique, mostly gold paint job.

Version #2:

Used from episode #2, "Deadly Maneuvers", through its final appearance in "A Plush Ride", this version features the correct GMC General cab, but with the Dorsey trailer painted white. Why the beautiful paint job from the Pilot was replaced with this, we don't know.

Version #3:

Now the semi is starting to look closer to what we all remember. When the new Executive Producer, Robert Foster, came in at episode 13, "Hearts of Stone", one of his first mandates was to paint the semi black. This is the only episode to feature this unique paint scheme, where the triple gold pinstripes don't angle back up near the back of the trailer, and the gold chess piece insignia is much smaller. Footage of this semi, despite it only truly appearing in this episode, will appear throughout the rest of the series.

Version #4:

This is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it version of the semi. During the opening credits of "Give Me Liberty...or Give Me Death", K.I.T.T. is pulling into the semi at night. Notice the trailer's pinstripes are the same as Version #3, but the chess piece logo has been crudely painted over, no doubt in preparation for the paint job it's about to receive.

Version #5:

Finally, the semi receives the paint job that it will keep throughout the remainder of the series. The stripes now angle up toward the back of the trailer, and the chess piece insignia is much more prominent. This trailer is first featured in "Give Me Liberty...or Give Me Death".

Version #6:

Beginning with the third season premiere, "Knight of the Drones", the semi receives an upgraded cab, with a black sleeper added. This is actually a completely new cab. Note how the fuel tank is now situated below the door, where the original version, it is set back on the frame. This is the final version of the semi, used until the end of the series.

And while we are at it, the semi did appear in a few non-Knight Rider productions:

January 22, 1985: Street Hawk - "Vegas Run"

October 12, 1985: Airwolf - "And a Child Shall Lead"