Knight Rider’s KITT car recreated
By RACHEL GRECO
Lansing State Journal
AP Member Exchange
LANSING — Aaron Aikman brings cult classic vehicles to life.
Two years ago he teamed up with How-To Halloween founder Jerry Jodloski to recreate the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1, and last year the pair turned a rusted out 1970 Dodge A100 van into the Mystery Machine, Scooby Doo’s classic ride.
But his latest project, KITT from the classic 1980s television show “Knight Rider,” is Aikman’s dream car.
“I was in love with this when it first came out,” Aikman said. “I just always loved this Trans Am. It’s a beautiful car, and then what they did to it, the dashboard, over the top. It’s supposed to resemble an airplane.”
The Lansing State Journal reports that Aikman and his wife Christina parked the car May 22 at Olympic Broil for an unveiling, alongside the Mystery Machine and Ecto-1.
He bought the 1988 Pontiac Trans Am a year ago for $1,700 and spent a year converting it, devoting weekends and nights when he wasn’t driving a bus for Capital Area Transportation Authority to the build at his Lansing home.
Aikman said purchasing the initial vehicle was the least expensive part of the process. The project cost him $15,000 to complete.
“It had the wrong hood, the wrong nose of course,” he said. “It had the wrong rear spoiler, wrong rims, the wrong interior. It was not easy finding all of that, at all.”
The car had gray interior. Aikman replaced it with the tan interior and seats fans of the show, which starred David Hasselhoff and ran on NBC from 1982 to 1986, know well.
“These seats are hard to find,” Aikman said. He lucked out, connecting with a car enthusiast through a Knight Rider social media group who sold them to him for a fraction of their cost.
Aikman’s KITT comes complete with the curved, lit dash board and automated twin screens.
It plays the television show theme song and sports the voice of the artificially-intelligent car that on screen was virtually indestructible, and indispensable, to Hasselhoff’s character Michael Knight.
“The dashboard normally runs $8,000,” Aikman said. “I got lucky. This was a used dashboard, already built for me.”
Aikman added the steering wheel. His cousin Jim Snellenberger built the center console and Jodloski helped with the console’s video screens.
“The details make a big difference,” Snellenberger said.
“I try my best,” Aikman said. It’s as close to the television version of KITT as he could make it, he added.
“When people see that dashboard they’re like, ‘Woah, what is that?'” Aikman said. “I’ve met some people who’ve gone crazy over it. They grew up with Knight Rider.”
Christina said he worked afternoons and weekends on the car.
“I love helping him out with all these different projects,” she said. “It gets a lot of attention.”