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KITT is undoubtedly one of the coolest automobiles to grace the silver screen. His sleek, black appearance, array of high-tech gadgetry and laconic artificially-intelligent personality made him an Eighties icon. Of course, the fact that he was usually driven by a young David Hasslehoff probably didn’t harm his credibility, either.

In the show, KITT was a billion-dollar project, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that making your own replica would be somewhat ambitious. However, with a little know-how, you too could be cruising in your very own version of TV’s most famous four-wheeler. Just remember: driving it with your hair styled into a Hoff-approved bubble perm is optional, but highly recommended.

Buy a Pontiac Trans Am

It’s important to get the right car here. The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am might not be the easiest car in the world to get hold of anymore, but there’s a reason that Knight Industries didn’t let Michael Knight drive around in his Mum’s Ford Fiesta. Style is everything and the Trans Am has it in spades.

For the authentic KITT experience, you’ll need a third generation Trans Am. The version of KITT used in the show was a 1982 model, but any Trans Am made between that year and 1992 should have the right look. Acquiring one would probably be easiest for US residents, with the Trans Am a regular fixture in second-hand performance car showrooms. For Europe and beyond, your best bet would be to watch specialist car importers and auction sites for the right machine to pop up.

Get the Look

With one third generation Trans Am acquired, your next priority should be to give the car a KITT makeover. If you’ve managed to acquire a black Trans Am then you’re already ahead of the game, but if not you’ll need to get it re-sprayed with KITT’s famous gloss black paint job.

The other major visual modification you’ll need to make is to install some scrolling red LEDs on the nose of the car. The back-and-forth lights are one of KITT’s most recognisable features and are surprisingly easy to obtain. A quick Web search will reveal several companies selling LED light banks and controllers, with most pitched at very reasonable prices.

Engage Turbo Boost

In the show, KITT could complete a standing quarter mile in less than four and a half seconds. While you’re unlikely to ever hit those dizzy performance heights with your replica, you can still make a few performance tweaks to give it something of a speed boost.

One option could be to install a NOS kit on the car. NOS kits allow engines to produce more power by injecting nitrous oxide into a car’s fuel stream. While this would undoubtedly give you a pretty potent speed boost, it’s an option that should be used with caution. NOS kits can have a detrimental effect on an engine’s lifespan, and could result in your new Trans Am needing major repairs sooner rather than later.

Perhaps a more elegant and less invasive way to boost your Pontiac’s power would be by ECU tuning the engine. ECU tuning – otherwise known as electronic control unit or chip tuning – involves tweaking an engine’s memory chip to provide better performance. Results vary on a case by case basis, but ECU tuning a modern-day power plant can often result in power increases of 50 bhp or more. You’ll need to contact a chip tuning shop to get the job done, but it could be a worthwhile investment if you want your car to perform like the real thing.

Calvin Ford is a blogger who suggests that if you are a car enthusiast who loved the Knight Rider Series, then you could get yourself a replica KITT. However you will need to make some modifications to cut down on costs such as buying mock LED’s and ECU tuning.