October 29, 2004 Celebrity, movie and television star cars have featured prominently in Gizmag recently, with the Batmobile going onto the auction block just a few weeks back. Now two more famous hero cars of 1980s television have gone under the hammer - the David Hasselhoff-driven KITT from the Knight Rider TV series and the original Ferrari 308 GTS driven by Tom Selleck in the smash-hit detective show, Magnum, P.I.
The cars went to auction on eBay closing on July 31 and the 308 GTS in particular was very disappointing in that it failed to meet the reserve price - it drove bidding up to US$60,000 but was expected to fetch considerably more such was the influence it had on the public perception of the Ferrari name and the brand.
Arguably the most significant non-racing Ferrari in existence, the Magnum 308 GTS has become an automotive icon to millions of TV viewers, who tuned in every week to live the life of the fun-loving private investigator who "borrowed" this fabulous car from his friend and benefactor, Robin Masters, for various sleuthing exploits around the beautiful Hawaiian isle of Oahu.
Easily one of the most recognizable Ferrari models ever made, this car literally became one of the principal stars of the show, making Ferrari a household name in America, and the 308 GTS the most desirable exotic sports car of the 1980s.
KITT, an abbreviation for Knight Industry Two Thousand is highly-modified 1983 Pontiac Trans Am and is the car used during the second season of the hit TV series. Instantly recognizable with its working scanner in the front and highly futuristic interior, the full rundown on this vehicle is available on Ebay and well worth a read if you are a child of the eighties.
Perhaps the coolest aspect of the modified vehicle is that it comes complete the modifications of the Special Effects and Stunt Coordinator. For example, there's a brake differential lock tied into the master cylinder and actuated by a foot switch. By hitting the switch, stunt drivers could disable the front brakes, leaving only the rear brakes operational for all those 180 degree turns which would have otherwise wrecked the handbrake.
The original 305 cubic inch Crossfire V-8 engine was replaced with a modified Chevy 350 donk and one of the major drawbacks is that the fuel tank only holds two gallons to minimise the amount of fuel on-board during stunts and jumps.
Fully restored, the car comes with all the proof of its prior existence, including the original Universal Studios registration, the the original stamped steel "KNIGHT" license plate, the original Universal Studios key ring with "1177 Trans Am" inscription and a photocopy of a production sheet from the Knight Rider episode entitled "Many Happy Returns" , dated 9/3/85 which identifies this car as used during the production.
Kitt changed hands for US$47,500