Those screams you hear from near and far are from GM F-body fans who just learned that the remake of the 1980s television show “Knight Rider” will utilize a 2008 Ford Mustang GT500KR, rather than the iconic Pontiac Trans Am. The cheers you hear are from writers, directors, producers, and critics who now understand that David Hasselhoff, who was upstaged by the Trans Am for many years during the season, will not be returning to his role as Michael Knight.
The series presented a real problem for writers and GM marketing reps. The Trans Am has been out of production for many years now, and the Camaro platform-mate won’t be out for another year. Ford jumped on the opportunity to ensure that the small number of people destined to watch the show will confuse the KR acronym with Knight Rider, as opposed to the King of the Road meaning original given to it by Carroll Shelby nearly forty years ago.
Recreations of television series of this nature have about as much chance of popularity as a red-headed stepchild with a limp in any public high school. People who used to watch the original show have grown up, and are as likely to watch the new show as putting on a Stryper record and rocking out in black and yellow spandex.
The larger issue, however, is that the producers have chosen to completely cut the ties to the show’s iconic star – the Trans Am, not ‘Hoff. Unlike many people who want to see the exact iconic cars in remakes, I feel it’s fine to update. After all, it’s hard to believe that a 1973 Mustang would be stolen in the 1990s for “Gone in Sixty Seconds”, that two cool detectives would drive a white Testarossa in modern “Miami Vice”, or that Michael Knight’s long lost son would drive a car based on the rickety, underpowered 1980s T/A.
But let’s face it; Pontiac fans are the most likely people to watch this show. Removing all ties to the F-body kills any hope that anyone will watch. Switching to Ford is also downright sacrilegious. It would be like casting a Corvette for a “Magnum PI” remake instead of something more reasonable, such as a Ferrari 430.
For if it is okay to have a Mustang in “Knight Rider”, maybe a new “Smokey and the Bandit IV” should be made starring a Hyundai.