Then fantasy, today’s reality: KITT, the talking car is 40!

“It’s coming. A car, a computer, and a man. A Knight Rider. A man and his car are fighting injustice.” An entire generation has grown up with these sentences. The first episode of the action series “Knight Rider” premiered on American television 40 years ago – on September 26, 1982. It turned the (human) protagonist into a world star – and the talking car into a cult object.

KITT, Knights Industries Two Thousand, became a global TV star in the 90 episodes produced. It was a modified Pontiac Trans AM 82 which, thanks to artificial intelligence, could think, speak and drive on its own. For his time, he clearly surpassed the main actor David Hasselhoff in terms of calmness. Today you wish cars were self-driving like KITT

Useful for classic car lovers


Anyone watching 90 episodes today (for a fee Amazon Prime Video, soon on streaming service RTL+), you should be smiling a lot. From today’s perspective, action scenes seem involuntarily funny. At the time, the idea of ​​artificial intelligence in the form of a self-driving, talking car was pioneered.

Turbo Boost and Super Chase Mode

Examples of KITT’s legendary prowess include Turbo Boost mode and Super Pursuit. Turbo Boost allowed in black AmyJump over obstacles with the touch of a button. In super chase mode, KITT reached speeds of over 300 mph (more than 480 km/h) on TV.

The hallmark of KITT par excellence is the pulsating red scanner at the front of the car.

Any kid in their ’80s can identify KITT by a red scanner in the front of the car scurrying back and forth and the accompanying noise. When the two separated from his human partner David Hasselhoff, aka Michael Knight, the two communicated via comlink, an audio link in the Knight’s watch.

Make the KITT Molecular Seal invulnerable

KITT can work on any flammable liquid material and has a molecular seal that makes it virtually indestructible. The car was serviced by Dr. Donnie Barstow and April Curtis, His Personal Mechanics.

Controlling other cars with Microjam

In the course of the series series, the equipment of the supercar has been constantly expanded. In silent mode, the KITT dampened its engine noise to the point where it was barely audible. Microjam made it possible to manipulate electrical systems and allow KITT to control other cars.

Pontiac Transam

Cult, but not really practical: KITT’s spacious cockpit with steering wheel.

Thanks to his hook, KITT was able to get himself out of the water pits. People pulled from the rocks with a crane. With its monitoring mode, KITT can track people or objects and take pictures of areas that were not directly visible.

KITT had an ATM on board

Its emergency brakes increased drag and made braking from super chase mode possible. An invisible seat belt protects passengers. KITT was even able to eavesdrop on phone conversations via comlink. Even when David Hasselhoff, alias Michael Knight, ran out of cash, provisions were made. KITT had an ATM on board.

Hasselhoff remembers “Knight Rider” well

“It is as if it was yesterday. I still remember almost everything,” said Hasselhoff of the German news agency dpa. The artist was 30 years old when the double episode “Knight of the Phoenix” aired on the cable network NBC. Curly hair, a leather jacket, and skinny jeans: these were the trademarks of the cool client, Michael Knight, who solved criminal cases with his talking sports car.

David Hasselhoff from KITT

He can hardly do without him: David Hasselhoff on the “30 Years Looking for Freedom” tour in April 2018 at Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin.


About three years after debuting in the United States, the duo also appeared on screens in Germany – and were a huge hit for what was previously a fairly young private broadcaster. Hasselhoff recalls, “I know ‘Knight Rider’ has done really well on RTL. The station made it famous because it was the first series they bought from America.”

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But after four seasons, NBC canceled the series in 1986 due to high production costs. Attempts to revive the series through films and spin-offs have always failed.

“I don’t think it was a vision”

“The most amazing thing is that a lot has come true: GPS, cars that drive and park alone. I can ask for the nearest coffee shop and my car will tell me. We can talk to our watches. That’s unbelievable,” he said. Hasselhoff said. It’s great that interior designer Michael Schiff had all of these ideas at the time. “I don’t even think he had the vision. I think he drew and created whatever came to his mind. Today it’s all true.”

With materials from dpa.

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