For anyone ever wondering exactly what an original prop car from the tv show Knight Rider ever looked like, then you will like this restoration project. It will give you a fascinating look at what made up one of the most well known tv cars to ever hit the screen. What did the scanner look like? What was inside the scanner control box? What was really inside the trunk? How did they pop the trunk? What size engine was really used? What did KITT's engine bay look like? What was under the dash? What does the dash displays look like up close? How did they really make the car do all those neat turns? Wanna know? stick around !
Back about a year ago, I private collector saw and bought one of the companies turnkey cars and was impressed with both the workmanship AND the functionality of the interior. The statement was made that he owned "an original" and wanted to know if I could recreate his beat up 2 tv dash. Without knowing the extent of his damage, I agreed. Added to this was the fact that the company product line did not offer the original early seasons 2 tv dash setup. So without having anything to use as reference, an all new dash had to be created from scratch using studio documentation and fabrication photos from the original designer. New functional electronics had to be created as well to give the car its look and functionality that everyone would expect.
While I have been told by many people that they have "owned" an original car, it was not until I did some basic research to establish its true identity. After a trip to the location to confirm the cars condition and exact amount of work to be done, it was initially found to be an original film car. What did the car look like from a distance? Nice. What did it look like up close? Chopped up, non-functional and totally cut up from years of neglect and mistreatment from car shows and exhibition. A massive amount of restoration would have to be done along with the total fabrication of an all new 2 tv dash and functional digital gauges, true to what fans have so closely scrutinized on tv and in videotapes.
The first question you would ask would be " How do you know it was a "real" KITT car"?
Simple. Plastic plates DON'T rust! And not every car owner would have a key ring like this!
In addition, there were some other hidden coding that refers it back to Universals inventory number for the film cars used. It WAS an original.
So what did I have to start with? It wasn't pretty. It was an original Universal dash, totally non-functional. Did absolutely nothing. Plug the car in ( yes, PLUG it into the wall ) and the dash lights up. No functions, no operating gauges, nothing. The vox display had cardboard pieces with colored paper inside the windows.
As you can see, it was a grim task with having archaic and non-functional dash electronics. It would have to be all re-designed for the latest in functionality and visual appeal. How non-functional was the dash gauges?
How about LED's hard-soldered between 12 volts and ground on copper clad board?
So what kind of secrets did the car have?
Go to the next page to find out ........... Page 2