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Thread: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 13, 2007 -- When the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR launches this spring don't be surprised if there's some confusion over what the letters "KR" stand for.

    While the super car has been known to racing fans as "King of the Road? since 1968, it's about to star in a remake of the hit TV series Knight Rider making mix-ups inevitable.

    "It's purely a coincidence and a nice one at that,"" said Al Uzielli a senior advisor, to Ford Global Brand Entertainment the Ford office in Beverly Hills which works to place Ford branded vehicles in movies, TV and other media. "Auto enthusiasts will know what KR stands for. But most viewers will probably think it means Knight Rider; at least at first."

    The popular American television series which ran from 1982 to 1986 starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a kind of modern day "knight". His partner was an advanced Pontiac Trans Am with artificial intelligence. Not only could it talk, it could morph into an attack vehicle that accelerated to 300 mph, used a Turbo Boost to jump over obstacles and even drive itself.

    In the new version, Hasselhoff returns, but the lead character is now Justin Bruening who plays Knight's long-lost son Michael Tracer. Replacing the Pontiac is the KR which in real-life is about to launch a 40th anniversary limited edition with an engine output estimated at 540 horsepower.

    But Knight Rider is more than just the product integration of a Ford vehicle into a plot line; it's also a media sponsorship with commercials and promotions for Ford products interjected throughout the two hour program. If the ratings are good, NBC plans to turn the show into a weekly series this fall.

    Knight Rider will provide Ford with the opportunity to showcase its new SYNC voice activated information and entertainment technology into the storyline in vehicles like the Focus and Edge. The arrangement allows NBC and Ford to co-promote both the movie and the cars at special events, in theaters, in print and on the internet.

    "This is a completely car-centric show and my understanding is that NBC was heavily pursued by both GM and Chrysler," Uzielli said. "We landed it because not only did we have the perfect car, we had the right logistics. Our advertising agency Teamdetroit had strong contacts on the business side and our team at Ford Global Brand Entertainment had a close relationship with the creative side including the new head of NBC Entertainment Ben Silverman."





    For many Knight Rider fans the casting of the car known as KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is as important as the lead character.

    In the movie version, KITT's supercomputer is capable of hacking almost any system and its body ? thanks to its creator?s work and nanotechnology ? is capable of actually shifting shape and color. Plus, its artificial intelligence makes it the ideal good cop partner: logical, precise and possessing infinite knowledge. It is the ultimate car ? and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it.

    For designers, the first challenge of creating a screen version of the ?King of the Road? 2008 Shelby GT500KR, was that the car isn?t even on the road yet. The solution was to go to Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) who is well-known for creating one-of-a-kind vehicles in the California market.

    GAS had one week to create the new KITT, and they pulled out all the stops. Six people worked full time to create the Mustang that would be sent over to Picture Car Warehouse as the father of all the KITT derivatives and stunt cars.

    Not only does KITT make its appearance as a GT500KR but Knight Rider fans get to see KITT in three modes ? HERO, ATTACK and camouflage versions.

    The HERO is a standard 540-horsepower Shelby GT500KR and the ATTACK is a further modified high-speed version.

    The GT500KR is built up from a Mustang GT with an automatic transmission to facilitate the driving scenes, stunts, and camera work necessary to produce the great action scenes in the movie. Stunt versions were also built for doing all of the aggressive driving maneuvers.

    The ATTACK version was designed by Harold Belker who is also responsible for the vehicles in movies like Batman & Robin, Armageddon, Deep Blue Sea, Inspector Gadget, Battlefield Earth, Spider-Man, Minority Report, XXX, The Cat in the Hat and Superman.

    Working with Belker was Ted Moser of Picture Car Warehouse and 25 automotive specialists who, created six variations of the GT500KR. The ATTACK car features a new rear bumper cover, two-tiered spoiler, side scoops and custom rocker panels... not to mention a completely modified interior to accommodate creative needs, shooting and post production computer graphics.

    "Ford wanted to keep KITT as close to the Mustang Shelby GT500KR as possible," Belker said. "Some may say the ATTACK version is a little over the top, but this isn't about reinventing design language, it's about being entertaining."


    By the time Knight Rider debuts in February, a Mustang will have already had extensive media exposure in the movie I Am Legend which opens December 17. Starring Will Smith, the story gives major screen time to a Ford Shelby GT500. Between the two roles, the Mustang brand is about to get three months worth of the kind of Hollywood visibility not often seen by one product ? or for that matter one star.

    "I don't think we've ever seen anything like this," said Cindy Stacy, senior vice president and director of national broadcast for Teamdetroit. "The important thing is that while the Mustang has a starring role in both projects, other Ford vehicles are integrated throughout the films. In fact, in Knight Rider I think just about every Ford vehicle is accounted for."

    While some may see the timing of the two projects as pure luck, Frank Zazza, considered a legend in the product integration industry for placing products like Reese's Pieces in the movie ET and Junior Mints in a well known episode of Seinfeld, says it's more.

    "You can only call it luck if you realize that being lucky is being prepared when the opportunity comes," he said. "The people at Ford were prepared and they knew how to act quickly. They have been excellent at finding quality projects and putting the right vehicles into the right parts."

  2. #2

    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    lol I think you goofed on the title there Eric

    I think the car is the wrong choice - it just doesnt feel like KITT - they should've stuck with Pontiac/GM
    That said, I'm thrilled to see this coming back, because it will give me years and years more torment for my dad (unfortunately named Michael Knight)
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    lol I think you goofed on the title there Eric

    I think the car is the wrong choice - it just doesnt feel like KITT - they should've stuck with Pontiac/GM
    That said, I'm thrilled to see this coming back, because it will give me years and years more torment for my dad (unfortunately named Michael Knight)
    Well, they are kinda stuck... no Trans-Am has been built since 2002.

    Now, if it had been my call, I would have used an old Trans-Am modified to KITT status... ideally, an all-black older mid-70s car, sort of like the BRE Bandit....


  4. #4

    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    I live in a van... DOWN BY THE RIVER

  5. #5

    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Well, they are kinda stuck... no Trans-Am has been built since 2002.

    Now, if it had been my call, I would have used an old Trans-Am modified to KITT status... ideally, an all-black older mid-70s car, sort of like the BRE Bandit....
    it doesnt need to be a t/a
    KITT as a solstice seems like a great (hilarious) idea
    maybe a G8? lol
    or, if they were really smart, the new (camaro based) GTO
    '06 Lotus Elise, '07 Saturn Sky Redline

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    Quote Originally Posted by damen
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Well, they are kinda stuck... no Trans-Am has been built since 2002.

    Now, if it had been my call, I would have used an old Trans-Am modified to KITT status... ideally, an all-black older mid-70s car, sort of like the BRE Bandit....
    it doesnt need to be a t/a
    KITT as a solstice seems like a great (hilarious) idea
    maybe a G8? lol
    or, if they were really smart, the new (camaro based) GTO
    I'm a Pontiac guy, so my bias is toward that - but I guess a Camaro would be ok, too. Or even a Challenger.

    I still think a properly set up early TA would be ideal. The more I think about it, here's what I would propose:

    1973 SD-455 Trans-Am;
    All black; no exterior brightwork at all; no decals - windows with "adjustable" (hey, it's Hollywood) tint that can go to opaque at the flip of a switch;
    Worked SD-455 V-8 built to 600 hp naturally aspiriated with "on call" turbo or supercharging and nitrous fogger for when 600 hp is not enough;
    Six-speed Tremec gearbox;
    full array of electronic countermeasures - including "stealth mode" (Hollywood.. bear with me!)
    Lowered/modified suspension with rear IRS and custom-built 18x7 honecombs (anodized flat black) with run-flats

    This would be a good start, eh?

    Oh.. and we can skip the Vidal Sasoon jeans, right?

  7. #7
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    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    Here's pictures of the new KITT - on the main page:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...9&Itemid=10287



    I agree with Damen, as much as I like the new Shelby GT500 KR - KITT needs to be a Trans Am. They should have brought back the modified 1982 Trans Am from the original TV series even today it still looks very modern. When they made a new Dukes of Hazzard movie they did not use a new Charger they used a 1969 Charger exactly like the original TV series. The problem with using a Mustang for the new Knight Rider is that it reminds me too much of Team Knight Rider which had as one of the cars a Mustang - the show flopped. Like it or not the 1982 Trans Am was what everyone tuned in to see, with a new car it will be a big let down in my opinion.

    Eric,

    To put this into prespective could you imagine a remake of the movie: Smokey and the Bandit using anything other than a 1977 SE Trans Am? It would be a cinematic sin. Same is true with Knight Rider - it's just not right with any other car but a modified 1982 Trans Am. And its just not Knight Rider without Vidal Sasson jeans, a big Rodeo belt buckle, Dingo boots, a red shirt (or a shirt with a big collar), a black leather jacket, and a pair of Ray Ban super-large jumbo avaitor sunglasses.



    And who could forget Garth Knight - Michael Knight's evil nemisis, he has to make a return:



  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    "I agree with Damen, as much as I like the new Shelby GT500 KR - KITT needs to be a Trans Am. They should have brought back the modified 1982 Trans Am from the original TV series even today it still looks very modern. When they made a new Dukes of Hazzard movie they did not use a new Charger they used a 1969 Charger exactly like the original TV series. The problem with using a Mustang for the new Knight Rider is that it reminds me too much of Team Knight Rider which had as one of the cars a Mustang - the show flopped. Like it or not the 1982 Trans Am was what everyone tuned in to see, with a new car it will be a big let down in my opinion. "

    I think you're right, Pete.

    And yes, they should use an updated third-gen car. It would connect the original show with the new - and besides, the car was the reason for the show.

    The Hoff was just a himbo along for the ride!

  9. #9

    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    There was a story on Jalopnik that the KITT might not even be a KR!! Just a GT!

    http://jalopnik.com/cars/knight-ride...krs-334268.php
    I live in a van... DOWN BY THE RIVER

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    Re: "Night Rider" returns - with 2008 GT500KR

    Eric,

    I believe the reason they went with the Shelby KR for KITT was for monetary reasons, Ford probably is providing the cars to them for free.

    Do you remember in the original TV series KITT was referred to as a Trans Am the first few episodes after that it was called - "the black T-top". My guess is that the show did not want to pay royalities to SCCA everytime they mentioned the word "Trans Am" since SCCA owned the Trans Am name not Pontiac.


    Chris,

    Thanks for the info. I does not surprise me, since Ford is picking up the tab in providing the cars for the movie, my guess is it would be cheaper to provide

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