posted on February 5, 2018

Fighting crime in LA has never been Hoff-ier

Here is your best chance to follow in David Hasselhoff’s footsteps and relive the ‘80s like you never thought you could. Behind the wheel of this replica of KITT from Knight Rider, you can properly defend the innocent and uphold justice as independent crime-fighter Michael Knight once did. Chase down perps, ride off into sunsets, and we guarantee you’ll sprout a beautiful mane of chest hair that would make the Hoff proud.*

KITT — Knight Industries Two Thousand — was more than just the Hoff’s trusty steed, however. It was his sidekick. A bulletproof, turbo-boosted, self-aware, rear-wheel drive partner. Thanks to its high-tech cybernetic processors, KITT could track enemies, talk, and drive itself. That’s right, KITT was the original self-driving car.

Turo host Jon G. was a huge fan of Knight Rider growing up. “It was the biggest thing for me. I had all the toys and everything. I always wanted to own KITT but I never ever thought I would.”

Then Jon stumbled onto a KITT replica in Connecticut that ticked a lot of the boxes. He’s a car guy and already had a couple projects going, so why not? Jon finalized the purchase last May and has been cruisin’ with KITT ever since.

Step into Darth Vader’s bathroom

This KITT replica is a modified 1989 Pontiac Firebird, which means it’s a couple years newer than the show. But it has the asymmetrical hood bump and the all-important T-tops that give the cutting-edge Firebird of the TV series its attitude. And the red front scanner, which is KITT’s defining feature, is functioning and spot on.

To match the show car, this KITT has the front fenders and blacked-out tail lights from an ‘82 Trans-Am. The body has been recently repainted, the nose is perfect, and the black wheel caps match. But while the KITT of the show had 15-inch wheels, Jon’s car sits on 16s, if you really want to nitpick.

Jon bought the car with the body work done, but he had to assemble all the electronics of the dashboard himself. “It took a little while but now it looks great,” he says. Over the show’s four seasons, there were a couple different variations of the dashboard to keep it looking futuristic. Jon’s replica dash is accurate to the pilot, and as the Hoff observed in that first episode, “looks like Darth Vader’s bathroom.”

Jon is constantly tweaking the dashboard displays, but everything is plugged right into the original Firebird dash connections. The red digital speed and tachometer readouts are functional, accurate, and very cool. It has a working voltmeter and turn signals. Its fuel, oil pressure, and water temperature gauges are located right under the tach. There are also two screens on the right side of the dash. One will connect to a dvd player, and the other to a backup camera, both of which Jon will install soon.

The “Gullwing” steering wheel, as it is called in the show, is easily popped off and replaced with the stock steering wheel. Jon concedes that sometimes “the show-accurate wheel isn’t so comfortable to drive with.” Cruising around is just fine, but for aggressive driving around the city, Jon prefers the stock wheel. But given a day or two in this bad boy, we’d all have the crazy video game controller from Knight Rider.

Under the hood is the stock Chevy 305 small-block V8. Though it makes around 180 horsepower, Jon says a healthy supply of torque keeps it moving pretty well. KITT here is in excellent mechanical condition and chases down baddies like it should, even without a turbine engine. It looks, feels, and acts the part.

Auto cruise mode

The fine-tuning of the car with show-correct KITT pieces makes this a fun ongoing project for Jon. He’s still working on the lights and buttons around the center console, and he’s hunting for the correct seats, which are hard to find and expensive when you do find them — typical project car problems. No plans for laser powerpack or ultramagnesium charges, though.

The grind is worth it. People constantly stop Jon on the street in LA to ask about the car. “Almost everybody over 30 knows what the car is,” says Jon. “I can’t drive it a mile without getting a thumbs up.”

Jon goes back and watches the show from time to time “if even just to see how cheesy it is. My two-year-old daughter loves it. But only when KITT is on the screen, she doesn’t care for the rest of the show.”

With two other cars listed on Turo, Jon is a veteran host and knows the ins and outs of the market. So when it was ready, he was stoked to share his KITT replica and his passion for Knight Rider with the people. The car has already been a smash hit at two birthday parties — just check the reviews.

If you’re ever in Southern California and feel the need to re-immerse yourself in the glory of 1980’s David Hasselhoff, KITT here can supply you with that heavy dose of nostalgia you’ve been craving. Just lock in Pursuit Mode, hit the gas, and trust in KITT.

*Turo does not guarantee the sprouting of chest hair while driving any car shared through our platform

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.