Updated 11/20/2012 05:00 AM
Tech Beat: Famed "Knight Rider" car comes to life in Queens
A Queens man's near-exact replica of KITT, the computerized super car from the 1980s TV series "Knight Rider," is capable of doing more than the real one used in the original show. Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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True children of the '80s will be thrilled to know the sounds and lights of KITT, the computerized super car from the TV series "Knight Rider" which premiered exactly 30 years ago, can be seen in person in Woodside, Queens.
Unlike the prop car used for shooting, this Queens replica actually does lots of the stuff special effects made it appear to do in the show. Elementary school computer teacher Mickey Garnploog has been building it for 10 years.
"I contacted a whole bunch of people who did fiberglass work, who did electronics and things like that and then I just started wiring it piece by piece by myself and my mechanic," says Garnploog. "Everything is hardwired, the RPMs, how much fuel I have, all the gauges do work. These screens are functional. One is hardwired into a computer, I made that one a camera in the back."
Garnploog says he poured over original episodes, capturing dozens of phrases KITT said, and then edited them together so that when he talks to this KITT car, the legendary voice responds.
Further proof of how dedicated Garnploog is to making a fully functioning KITT car is that at one point, he actually had a real smoke screen and oil slick unit installed in the back.
"I was at a car show and people were like, 'Oh, does your smoke screen or oil slick button work?' And I said, 'Sure does,' and I'd press the oil slick button," says Garnploog. "And just between us, we had chocolate syrup back there so no one would slip and fall. It was messing up some guy's car behind me so I had to get that removed."
Garnploog says he is constantly upgrading the car with new technology. His next big project is outfitting KITT so that it can be controlled entirely via a remote.