The F-body Firebird may never have featured a Hofmeister kink in its roofline, but you could pretend to be Mr. Hasselhoff in today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Knight Rider replicar, and that would be kinky.
The original Knight Rider made the eighties bearable, while the new century reboot was so lackluster that it made viewers want to punch a real Mustang in the throat. Messing with the greats is not something to be done with little forethought, and that's probably why yesterday's 1JZ-powered E34 received a 55% Crack Pipe cancelation notice after only one episode. Now maybe if it had been a talking car. . . ?
David Hasselhoff may have really, really liked his cheeseburgers and booze, but before he was Charlie Sheen's role model - in fact, even predating his bizarre success as a recording star in Europe and Asia - he was crime fighter and Trans Am driver Michael Knight.
Described by its creator - Glen A. Larson - as the Lone Ranger with a Car, Knight Rider melded potboiler action with a slight sci-fi bent as playing the Hoff's partner wasn't your stereotypical sassy lady cop, or post-urban black dude, but a black Pontiac. That Trans Am was specially equipped by F.L.A.G. with both unbelievably strong armor plating, and, as the voice of KITT - the Knight Industries Two Thousand, William Daniels, throwing out pithy bromides and wisely demurring screen credit
Knight Rider pushed Burt Reynolds' screaming chicken Trans Am off the pedestal of coolest Firebird, and though the series lasted but four seasons, it became an indelible part of both automotive and TV history. The Hoff went on to give us slow-mo T&A in Babe Watch (shed a tear for that one going off the air!) and KITT went on to a museum or scrap yard or something. But Knight Rider also engendered a mini-industry of KITT replica parts makers. Seeing as all you need is a third-gen F-body - preferably one with T-tops - and a little know-how, you could be rockin' like the Hoff in now time. Of course, you'd have to either pay William Daniels big bucks to record you some new KITT-erisms, or maybe just lock him in the trunk and pretend that instead of screaming for help he's saying stuff like look out Michael! or I don't know why St. Elsewhere wasn't more successful in syndication.
Or, you could just buy this already KITTed out 1985 Trans Am, as the seller seems to have really gone over the top here. There's the nose extension with the led red scanner light, the sawed-off yoke of a steering wheel in front of a dash that's more digital than a proctologist, and. . . well, that's pretty much it as KITT was always on the DL so as not to call attention to the Hoff's real motives around the baddies. A couple of things do stand out, including the aforementioned T-tops and the blacker than the BET channel paint, which make this Trans Am pretty sweet even without the TV tie-in. Sure the wheels are wrong, and you'll never have the Hoff's mix of voluminous hair and Gary Colman BFF-ability, but with this car you could totally be an I <3 the 80s poseur.
Under the sinister black hood rests a 350 TPI is .30 over and has had its breathing massaged by Edelbrock. Behind that is sadly the 700R4, a transmission that really could use some special effects, and in fact the seller says it has been the beneficiary of a shift kit. Still, it's all stuff that the bay monkeys at Pep Boys can repair in their sleep, and hey fighting crime takes style, not speed. One of the things the seller doesn't divulge is the car's mileage, although KITT seemed to take a lot of abuse week after week, and still look shiny and new the very next episode, so maybe this replica will fair just as well.
The seller says that he's bored with the KITT replica and needs the money for his new project - a life-sized replica of the original Battlestar Galactica complete with velour-swathed Adama and golden loin cloth-wearing Cylons. But in order for that to happen somebody's going to have to pony up $16,000 - which coincidentally was David Hasselhoff's single-night min-bar tab at the Beverly Hills Hotel a few years back.
What do you think, ‘80s aficionados, is that a fair price for this kit-built KITT? Or, does that price mean you'll just keep your scanners peeled for a better deal?
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