The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

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The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:29 pm

The Knight 4000 has a very long lineage to concept to the the Knight Rider 2000 movie.

To understand where it came from we must understand how it all started.

Despite what many think, the Knight 4000 WAS a worthy successor to the black Trans-Am we all new and loved as kids and made sense as the as a logical aesthetic step bridging the series and the 1991 NBC TV Movie.

Many of the photos that I am going to post have NEVER been seen before. So feel free to download these images and save them to your PC so they are not lost in time.

I feel it is important to pass these stories around before misinformation from Internet rumors takes hold and these rare photos are lost forever.

Let us begin in 1985 with Pontiac's FRONT WHEEL DRIVE replacement for the Firebird and Trans-Am...
The GM 80.

This car was planned for the Pontiac plant. Once it was killed it left the Fiero without another model to share the plant and production capacity.

Pontiac sold it's soul to build the Fiero and built as many as they could till they could get the GM 80 into the plant. It was a risk that came back to bite them. Add in the many other issues the low volume in such a high capacity plant was the final nail in the coffin.

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The GM 80 has almost become myth as few people ever saw it or even heard of it and it's story.
That is sad as it affected the future for the Fiero and the F body to a LARGE degree. Some say the GM 80 is at the tech center yet today while others say it was crushed.

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Thank God that decision was made. It kept The F-Bodies from having an equivalent of the Mustang II.

Speaking of the Fiero the prototype Fiero 90 GT had a dash gauge cluster that was for the most nearly identical to the 4th gen Firebird/TA. When the Fiero was canceled they spared the cluster and much of the styling to be used in the 4th gen F body that replaced the GM 80 FWD that they were doing. The interesting part is with the death of the GM 80 Fbody replacement it was what pretty much sealed the Fiero's fate. The GM 80 was a FWD space frame F body replacement that would have shared the line with the Fiero. Once this car was canceled it left the Fiero in a plant that was way under capacity at a time GM was tight on money. They had little options to move another line there soon. So the death and design of the 90 Fiero contributed much to the 4th Gen F body.
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Here is a profile of the 1990 GT and the 4th gen Camaro. John Schinella the Fiero designer said the design was too good to throw away and adapted a lot of it to the 4th Gen F body.

Pontiac had a 1990 Fiero ready but lost the car in Feb of 88 when pressure from many with in GM some from the Vette program worked to kill the car. They were afraid of lost sales to a 220 HP Fiero GTP that would have been around $20 K when the Vette was just over $30K.

The reason the GM 80 died is Ford saved the Mustang plain and simple and those working at GM on the car did not want it in the first place. They had FWD forced on them.

The whole GM 80/ Fiero deal is a great example of what all was wrong at GM back in the early 80's.
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I won't cover the Banshee prototype here because it's pretty common knowledge around these parts already...

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This is VERY rare and interesting scan from a private collector showing the 4th gens clay model mock up...
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Another 4th gen full size mock up at GM's headquarters...
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You can definitely see the design cues from the Banshee prototype here.

Getting closer...
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1995 Pontiac Firebird "Banshee Formula" (Notice the front end retained some preproduction concept Firebird styling cues.)

The original concept drawing for the 4th gen Firebird/Trans-Am:
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And of course the Banshee
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Jay's website has been down but here's some pics.
Enjoy! (And SAVE!)
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:10 pm

Concept Pontiac made from right before the turn of the century of the new Pontiac Firebird for the 21st century before GM killed the F-Body.
This is what we should be buying from car lots now...(And what the new K.I.T.T. WOULD have looked liked.)
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Instead we have this boxy looking 'Bandit style' 1970's looking P.O.S. on the roads now...
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Why oh why did GM/Pontiac fire all of the good, forward thinking car designers in 1998?

(sigh) Image
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:31 am

Gratuitous picture of the other KITT car I made/drive other than my K3000.
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Tobie made a mod for GTA of my modified f-body back in the day...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHDYKrRgYmY

(Ok, I'm done triple posting now) :lol:
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by KITTDRVR » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:33 pm

Nice pics. The last photos in the original post show the Jay Ohrberg K4000 conversion from a Dodge Stealth. How does that relate to this narrative?

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by lphill01 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:45 pm

The Jay Ohrberg Stealth conversion is the actual K4000 hero car used in KR2000. I think what he's getting at is how decisions at GM regarding the F-Body evolution determined the design for the Banshee IV concept, which in turn inspired the look of KIFT (Pontiac wouldn't release the Banshee IV to Universal for use in KR2000, so they built one out of a Stealth).

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by tharpdevenport » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:14 pm

A matter of opinion. For me it's ugly and not a worthy successor of the original K.I.T.T., in fact, the movie was not good over all; it had some good themes, ideas, but poorly executed, approached, and the attempt to make it too futuristic dated it even at its time.
And when things appeared to get better, they got worse, and everyday was a day to cry.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:57 pm

lphill01 wrote: I think what he's getting at is how decisions at GM regarding the F-Body evolution determined the design for the Banshee IV concept, which in turn inspired the look of KIFT (Pontiac wouldn't release the Banshee IV to Universal for use in KR2000, so they built one out of a Stealth).


%100 correct! :good:

tharpdevenport wrote:A matter of opinion. For me it's ugly and not a worthy successor of the original K.I.T.T.,...


Actually it IS. That's what this post is about.
GM, (the company that made the 82 black Trans-Am you love,) designed all of the cars above to get to the design point in the Knight 4000.

What was built by Jay was still very much within the vein of the Pontiac prototype builders vision of the 4th gen.

tharpdevenport wrote:the movie was not good over all; it had some good themes, ideas, but poorly executed, approached, and the attempt to make it too futuristic dated it even at its time.


I think you must be confused about the topic...
We are NOT talking about the movie here, it's plots , themes or the way it was filmed.
We are talking about Pontiac's design of the cars and a peek into the 4th gens production iteration and beyond and how that connects with the design we got in KR2000.

Another VERY rare look at what Pontiac had in mind for the 21st century Trans-Am. (Designed in 1999)
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by lphill01 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:54 pm

Instead we have this boxy looking 'Bandit style' 1970's looking P.O.S. on the roads now...

Why oh why did GM/Pontiac fire all of the good, forward thinking car designers in 1998?



I think that was a case of typical GM thinking in terms of the pony car. Much like the conception of the Camaro after the introduction of the 1964 1/2 Mustang, GM did what it does best. Take an idea that Ford pioneered, find the shortfalls, take the design 3 times 'round the dancefloor, and add more power. The only reason they retro'd the Camaro, (the T/A would've followed suit if not for Pontiac folding) is because Ford did it, and they saw how well it worked for them. I think that's a BIG reason for the F-body's extended hiatus.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by tharpdevenport » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:45 pm

No, it's still a matter of opinion. Not only could they have continued to use the older model, there's no stupid contractual linchpin of using GM period -- any auto company, any other model, could have been a choice.
And before you cry "foul" over some kind of heresay of not using GM, remember you're talking about a TV movie that killed off Devon, didn't have Bonnie or April, and no RC.
Not to mention other ovious glares such as not even looking or feeling like an episode, and so on.


And there's no rule against providing my opinion on hte film as an addendum. Unless you really, really want your Thread Police badge.
And when things appeared to get better, they got worse, and everyday was a day to cry.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:32 pm

tharpdevenport wrote:They could have continued to use the older model

In the year 2000? A 1982 car? In the year 2000?!

tharpdevenport wrote:you're talking about a TV movie that killed off Devon, didn't have Bonnie or April, and no RC.
Not to mention other ovious glares such as not even looking or feeling like an episode, and so on.


I think your still confused tharpdevenport. We are STILL talking about the cars that GM designed. We are NOT talking about how much you don't like the movie.


tharpdevenport wrote:And there's no rule against providing my opinion on hte film as an addendum. Unless you really, really want your Thread Police badge.


An addendum to what exactly?

You haven't been on topic since you begin posting in this thread.
Why go out of your way to post how much you despise the plots and nuances of a TV film and derail the thread about the GM cars and then insults the OP for good measure? (AKA Being a TROLL)

"Thread Police Badge"... are you serious? :|
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If you want to create another thread about how much you lament the fact that they killed off RCIII or some other such thing, your free to do so. Just don't do it here. Thats not what we are discussing in this thread.
Stay on topic or post in another thread.
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by Matthew » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:01 am

Whilst comments about the film itself could be considered off topic, we’ve always encouraged broader discussion around the original subject matter, so it’s fair to say that the inclusion of the Dodge Stealth conversion process could have been deemed to open the door into the visual aesthetics of the broader movie universe. :good:

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Thank you. What's all this, it looks like Darth Vader's bathroom?

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by Michael.Knight » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:40 am

Tobie is make a new knifght 4000 car for san andreas i thinks is very good of the old

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsxQQa69Ynw
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:07 pm

Well I certainly don't want the thread to get bogged down on why 'the movie sucks because devon died.'
I want to talk about the GM-80's shape and engine design.
I don't want to argue with a KR2000 hater cause 'the originals the best'.
I want to discuss the never before seen pictures of what the original 21st century Trans-Am designs reflected, in contrast to what they have now.
I made this thread to post info and pictures so everyone could have access to the info and save copies of the pictures.

But lets get it out of the way...
tharpdevenport wrote: Not only could they have continued to use the older model, there's no stupid contractual linchpin of using GM period -- any auto company, any other model, could have been a choice.


Any car COULD have but I am glad it 'stayed in the family' design wise. It makes sense aesthetically.

tharpdevenport wrote:remember you're talking about a TV movie that killed off Devon, didn't have Bonnie or April, and no RC.


Edward Mulhare DIED in real life. I am GLAD they had the foresight to kill his character. It gave us some closure to Devon. He died making a difference.

And no RCIII?
RCIII by NBC's own admission was the 'token black guy' meant to boost ratings among African American viewers.
His lack of meaningful character development & the way he was pigeon holed into scripts at the last minute was obvious to me as a child and painful to watch. He stuck out as bad as Ford product placement in the new iteration.
I'm GLAD that INSULT to the African American community was not included in the TV Movie. (The black 'Street Avenger' who is so poor he can only afford a dirt bike...-facepalm-)

Anymore negative opinions of KR2000 before we move on discussion wise to the Firebird's new design in 99...?
Cause if this thread is going to turn into me taking up for KR2000 for pages, I will.
The film was a gem. The direction was genius. The acting was great! The effects were great.
It was more sophisticated.
It was like a futuristic smooth contemporary modern jazz version of Knight Rider.

Now about the car designed to replace the firebird in 85...FWD?!
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by knightfever » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:06 pm

I agree taoworm. In my mind, Knight Rider 2000 is still the best attempt to bring Knight Rider to the fans since the original series ended. It gave us everything that people are wanting in the next incarnation of Knight Rider. It brought The Hoff back, it had William Daniels voicing K.I.T.T., and it had Devon and gave his character a good closure. In every Knight Rider series, even the original, there are things that I didn't particularly like, such as the "forced" character of RCIII, as you cited. The main thing I would have done with 2000 is, if time allowed, I would have made it a little longer so we could have had more than the last 10 minutes of the movie with the new K.I.F.T. And I would have made the car black. I remember seeing the car in an episode of Scare Tactics where it was painted mostly black and with that little change it had more of a Knight Rider look. Thanks for posting this thread. It's interesting to see the evolution of the Firebird/Trans-Am.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:53 pm

knightfever wrote:I agree taoworm. In my mind, Knight Rider 2000 is still the best attempt to bring Knight Rider to the fans since the original series ended. It gave us everything that people are wanting in the next incarnation of Knight Rider. It brought The Hoff back, it had William Daniels voicing K.I.T.T., and it had Devon and gave his character a good closure.


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knightfever wrote:The main thing I would have done with 2000 is, if time allowed, I would have made it a little longer so we could have had more than the last 10 minutes of the movie with the new K.I.F.T. And I would have made the car black.

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That would look cool too. Or even the other extreme.
All red...
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What do you think? (-Awkward Pause-..Creepy stare-)
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by lphill01 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:55 pm

If they would've painted KIFT all black (even the rims) like your photochop, I think alot more people would've bought into the thought of that as the next step in Knight Industries cars.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by knightprobe89 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:34 am

awesome firebird concept photos, thanks for sharing!! :good: :good:
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:40 am

knightprobe89 wrote:awesome firebird concept photos, thanks for sharing!!

No problem :good:


On an interesting note...
I LOVE this design. It's like Pontiac's version of the Knight 4000.
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Kind of a cross between a 4th gen and a Banshee.
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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by kngtmat » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:01 pm

I actually like the KR2000 and is better than it could have been but the things I didn't like was the way she acted but I guess anyone would act that way if you had some of the memories of somone else eventhough that someone was a car, I also didn't like it when Devon died but now back to the topic.


This is a really awesome thread, Thanks for sharing.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by taoworm2323 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:32 pm

Did you know we almost had a Knight 4000 Matchbox Star Car?
I didn't.
Turns out we were THIIIIiiisss close to having one.
But they nixed the idea at the last VERY last minute.

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On the left is Matchbox's finished resin preproduction model for the Knight 4000. (On the right a Hot-Wheels Banshee for scale.)
The Knight 4000 was proposed by the Matchbox Star Car line designers, but never made it past this resin preproduction stage.
(This resin model has been in a private collectors hands since 2006)

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by VIDEOBOB » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:28 am

Here is what it looks like today, sitting in my shop in Dallas Texas.

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by EJD1984 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:00 am

Way cool pictures!! Where did you get the GM80 pictures (and the 1999 TransAm sketches)? I've been trying to track down any/all information on that cancelled program.

Thanks!

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Re: The complete Knight 4000 thread (LOTS of images!)

Post by hoffman95 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:28 pm

VIDEOBOB wrote:Here is what it looks like today, sitting in my shop in Dallas Texas.

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Is the interior the same and is it still running :?:
:kittconv:

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