n our latest edition of This or That, we’re continuing our selection of hero cars, though this time from a 1980s small-screen perspective. One-hour action dramas were hardly new to television audiences; however, rather than the generic good guys versus bad guys, a la the Dragnet / Adam-12 style of story telling, writers, directors and producers – in most cases – took things to a whole new level of weeknight entertainment. Thus, once again we’ve picked four different rides from four different shows that debuted (with one exception) during the Reagan administration. Let’s take a look at this week’s big impact players, in order of appearance, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.
Though it made its debut in 1979, the Dukes of Hazzard was a staple of early Eighties television; save for the delayed start of the fifth season initiated when Tom Wopat and John Schneider – disenchanted with scripts, salaries and royalties – opted to walk out in protest. They were famously replaced by Byron Cherry (as Coy Duke) and Christopher Mayer (as Vance Duke). Bo and Luke were explained as having joined the NASCAR circuit; a laughable situation considering their probation for peddling moonshine was a direct violation of the famed stock car governing body’s rule book. Ratings plummeted, and 19 episodes later Tom and John were back in action. Ratings recovered, but only slightly. The one constant, of course, was the 1969 Dodge Charger – such as this example for sale – that arguably was the biggest star of the show, which ended in 1986. It’s no secret that a couple hundred were callously destroyed in the making of the Dukes. As to our featured example, portions of the seller’s listing states:
Original Window Sticker, Broadcast Sheet, Build Sheet. Original 383 Car, has the original engine. Has paperwork on car with receipts and other items added to car. Painted Light Green Metallic, Hood mounted turn signals, roof drip rail moldings, newer green vinyl roof, dual outside mirrors, window moldings, felt and rubber, tinted glass, door handles, gas cap, taillights and trim, backup lights, front & rear bumpers and bumper guards, headlight doors, grill, antenna, wiper arms, side marker lights all look great. Original rims with BF Goodrich radial T/A white letter tires. The interior is the Original Green on bucket seats with headrest, back seats, door panels, arm rest with bases, back side panels, door handles, window cranks, rearview mirror, Woodgrain on gauge cluster, Factory AM/FM radio. Factory A/C vents in dash, Pioneer AM/FM/CD/XM radio mounted in glove box with remote. Factory console with woodgrain. Green headliner and Sunvisor’s, seat belt and shoulder belts. Door sill plates, dark green Carpet, black carpeted floor mats. Package tray, all factory gauges and clock. Powered by a 440 engine that has been rebuilt, 727 Torque Flite transmission that is automatic. Weiand intake, Edelbrock carb, original air cleaner is chrome. Chrome oil breather, stock exhaust manifolds, power steering, power front disc brakes. Rear drum brakes, dual exhaust with stainless tips. Factory A/C.
The Eights delivered a new array of technology to mainstream America. Artificial intelligence, wider use of digital equipment, and sleek aerodynamic automotive designs all came together in one tidy package called KITT (or Knight Industries Two Thousand), a highly modified, third-gen 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am developed for the use of Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG) field agent Michael Knight, formerly known as police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long in the opening segment of the 1982 pilot episode of Knight Rider. Unlike this 1983 Pontiac Trans Am for sale, reportedly the studio built the initial KITT at the cost of $100,000, which included the car’s iconic side-to-side light beam in the nose cone, apparently modelled after the the Cylons’ light beam in Battlestar Galactica. Equipped with an array of surveillance cameras, bulletproof shielding, a security system, remote communication devices, insane turbo boosters, autonomous driving mode and the ability to fly like a certain orange General, it’s really no wonder Knight Rider was an instant hit. All good things come to an end – or at least the original series – which lasted through 1986. According to portions of the seller’s listing:
t’s only showing just over 1,300 miles; clean Carfax with no accidents. It’s of course a numbers matching car; All the lines flow perfectly down the sides and the fit of all the panels is equally impressive with every gap being even and symmetrical. This is a factory Bright Red car that has clearly been garage stored and kept polished to a mirror finish; this car is factory rear hatch car with T-Tops. Every piece of glass in this ’83 checks out to be original. This Trans AM was factory ordered with the rear spoiler that’s done in black. It also has the Black Side Trim, Lower Black Accents and the black grill that really makes the Bright Red pop. To finish off the exterior it’s sitting on the original 14” Finned Cast Aluminum Wheels with Uniroyal White Letter Tires. On the inside it’s done in the factory Two Tone Charcoal interior with Black Accents; All the door panels are in excellent condition; the dash shows no signs of sun abuse or any damage. It comes with factory AC that blows cold and even the original radio is still in it; has the factory steering wheel and does come with cruise and tilt wheel. The center console is in excellent condition. Under the hood it’s powered by the matching numbers 305 V8 engine dressed in the original valve covers and air cleaner that seals to the Power Bulge Hood. The V8 is mated to the Matching Numbers 700R Automatic Trans and 10 Bolt Rear End with 3.23 Gears. It comes with Front Disc Brakes and Rear Drums.