K.I.T.T the Kool

I realize that in writing this month’s article, I might be dating myself. But there are times in a man’s life when you just have to throw caution to the wind and let people know that you might be getting old.

This is one of those times.

When you think of entertainment and autos, you think of great car movies and television shows. I listed my top car movies last year. This year, it’s time to get personal.

Gentlemen, let’s face it. There are automobiles out there that transcended the movies and shows they were in and became the entertainment. Can any of us imagine the old Batman television show or the Batman movie series without the Batmobile (whatever version you may like most)? I didn’t think so.

For me, that transcendent auto was K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. I know that most people probably associate Knight Rider these days as the show that launched David Hasselhoff’s career. But for me, it was all about K.I.T.T.

The show ran from 1982-1986. And while Hasselhoff went to the beach to hang out with Pamela Anderson, K.I.T.T’s career marched on in the terms of car shows and tours.

K.I.T.T. (which stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand) was originally created by George Barris from a 1982 Pontiac Trans/Am. The voice was provided by one of the truly great actors, William Daniels – though most people don’t know that, as he was never credited in any of the show’s 80-plus episodes.

For countless kids like me, it was K.I.T.T that started my fascination with cars.

The interior of the car was like a modern day James Bond vehicle. It looked the flight cockpit of an amazing jet fighter, with buttons that could do the coolest things and thwart any “bad guy.”

K.I.T.T. had a body that was made of molecular-bonded shell and was bulletproof. I know for a fact that saved Michael Knight’s butt on more than one occasion.

The scanner on the car’s grille looked like it was always able to read people’s minds and therefore allow K.I.T.T. to be one step ahead of the enemy. But the best part of K.I.T.T. was that he freaking talked.

KITT's control panel (and "mouth")

To an eight-year-old boy, there is nothing cooler on the planet than a car that talks. Forgetting for the moment that it was a British accent, he still talked. And some of the funniest scenes to this eight-year-old were when K.I.T.T. talked to someone other than Michael Knight. I went around for as long as I can remember putting a voice to my mother’s wagon or to my father’s Ford blue van (or “ol’ blue,” as we referred to it).

I think by far the greatest thing about K.I.T.T. was that it had a personality. It was the first time in my life that I realized automobiles could have personalities. They are not just objects that get us from one place to another. No, they are far more personal than that.

They represent different aspects of our personalities. From makes and models to colors and features, automobiles reveal a little bit about who we are as individuals.

Some of my buddies are Ferrari guys. I’m a truck man now myself. Some love older high-performance cars. And still others are classic muscle-car types. But all of those choices are totally fine because they all reveal certain personality traits and certain passions that are a large reason why we all get along so well.

K.I.T.T. taught me that as a young boy. It is something that I have never forgotten. For that I will be forever grateful to a 1982 Pontiac Trans/Am that spoke.

Long live K.I.T.T.!

Until next time gentlemen…