Knight Rider debuted on NBC in 1982, where it was aired until the series finale in 1986. The premise was as easy as it comes: a self-made billionaire rescues a nearly-killed police officer after being shot, gives him a new face and a new name, and transforms him into a weapon against injustice.
In the former policeman’s aid, a partner is assigned. And this is where the series simple plot thickens and makes it a fan-favorite: this partner is an AI (artificial intelligence) incorporated into a modified and almost indestructible Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The partner’s name is KITT (an abbreviation from Knight Industries Two Thousand).
It didn’t matter anymore that David Hasselhoff was at the heights of his hunk years. For many viewers the main star was KITT, who had funny lines, who had a major part in the action sequences, and who was very cool (the Pontiac Firebird was already a cool car, but its coolness factor increased exponentially when an AI was attached to it). KITT was the perfect sidekick, much like Kato was for Britt (in The Green Hornet, the series).
And much like Bruce Lee’s character, KITT gathered most of the fans around it (well, at least the male ones). And this is easily understandable, considering all the upgrades made to the original Pontiac: no less than 47 new features added.
Some of them are pretty basic (so to speak), including in here the turbo boost (which allowed KITT to accelerate at an incredible rate and jump over obstacles) or the deflatable tires (he was able to deflate and inflate the tires, which is very obvious, as said). In the same way, some of the upgrades seem to come from any spy movie, upgrades such as the oil jet/smoke screen, or the flame thrower, or the gas launcher.
However, some features are way out there when it comes to their name and function. For example, the Molecular Bonded Shell (MBS) would mean nothing to you if you didn’t already know that it was a very durable plating. This plating was developed by Wilton Knight (the self-made billionaire), who also discovered the three secret ingredients needed for actually making the MBS compound.
Another fantasist feature is the Pyroclastic Lamination, which comes in the aid of the MBS, enabling it to resist temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit (426 °C).
Even more, the MBS and the Pyroclastic Lamination covered KITT entirely, including the tires: as I said before, this car was nearly indestructible.
So, in my opinion, the star of the show wasn’t David Hasselhoff, but KITT, the car-wonder (if I may say so).