QotW: What car would Japanese Knight Rider drive?

The arrival last week of the Seibu Keisatsu cars at Nissan’s Zama warehouse got us thinking about cheesy 80s TV shows and their vehicular stars. Perhaps the most famous of these was Knight Rider, a “shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man… who does not exist.

Long-time JNC readers may know that instead of a Pontiac Firebird, the original Knight Industries Two Thousand was supposed to be a Datsun 280ZX. According to the book Hollywood and TV Movie Cars by G. William Krause, “[Producer Harker Wade] said he was working with Glen Larson (The Fall Guy) on a new action- adventure show that starred a computerized talking car. A Datsun Z was written into the original script…” That’s right, folks, KITT was a JNC.

Alas, it was not meant to be. But at least now we get to have the fun of decided what car from 1982, which is when Knight Rider debuted, that KITT could’ve been.

What car would Japanese Knight Rider drive?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the most important info on the instrument cluster?” 

There was a lot of debate about which instrument cluster output is the most important, and consensus was split. Jeremy A. and bryan kitsune gave the most compelling arguments for the temperature gauge, while Miguel made us chuckle by saying that he only watches the fuel gauge because on an old Toyota truck nothing else ever goes wrong. BlitzPig reminded us that oil pressure is equally important, and Hondamatic elicited laughs with the ridiculously sublime, “Danger to Manifold.”

Ultimately, it was Tristan G. pleaded the strongest case for the fuel gauge:

I believe that the most important AND least important info on the gauge cluster is coincidentally the same thing, the gas gauge. Its a great little indicator, especially on newer cars where it tells you the exact number of minutes and miles you have untill you get to put your debit card in yet another gas pump. Its also arguably the most exciting gauge, since how great of a feeling is it to top off at a pump and set out on a long journey, mind at ease for the days ahead. Although the gas gauge can also be the scariest bit of info in front of you. As frightening as it may feel to see your car overheating or looking down at your speedometer while driving by a cop, whats more nervewracking than seeing your gas needle sitting on ‘E’ smack dab in the middle of nowhere? Now you may be wondering, how could such a vital bit of info be the LEAST important thing on a dash? Well its quite easy to explain since for most of us it doesn’t NEED explaining. Most of us may never get to experience the great range of emotions that a gas gauge can give you because, as members or even mere visitors of this site…. our gas gauges probably don’t work! If there’s one thing ive learned in life its that old cars and broken gas gauges go together like bread and butter, they’re an inseperable pair! Which is why the gas gauge is either your most reliable friend, or your biggest enemy.

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9 Responses to QotW: What car would Japanese Knight Rider drive?

  1. Nigel says:

    I would say a sa22c Rx-7, to be on the “cutting edge”

  2. Ryan says:

    They would drive KITT why do the Japanese have to drive different cars. What would African knite rider drive … KITT also

  3. dbdr says:

    Subaru Alcyone! Have you seen the interior? It’s pretty much KITT from the factory!

    It’s also sporty, stylish and one of the coolest cars in the world – a perfect match for Michael Knight.

  4. cesariojpn says:

    Okay, for this I decides to look into a similar concept from the era in Japan: Metal Heroes. Think Power Rangers (Super Sentai), only heroes entirely clad in metal, many of them attached to Extra-Govermental Law Enforcement Organizations or operating on their own. Us US guys saw this in the form of VR Troopers (mix of Superhuman Machine Metalder, Dimensional Warrior Spielban and Space Sheriff Shaider footage) & Big Bad Beetle Borgs (Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto).

    Now I’m gonna focus on most of the Heisei Period of Metal Heroes: The Mobile Cop Jiban, The Rescue Police Series (Super Rescue Police Winspector & Special Rescue Exceedraft), and Tokusou Robo Janperson. I’m gonna ignore Super Rescue Solbrain (which did see an appearance in the US in the reskinned Video Game Shatterhand) cause their main cars were a Toyota Sera and an Estima, and those two don’t scream “Knight Rider.”

    If we look at the ones listed above, especially in the Openings, we notice something about the cars:

    Jiban has a Pontiac Firebird as his main car:

    Winspector’s main car is a Chevrolet Camaro:

    Exceeddraft main cars are a Chevrolet C4 Corvette an a Chevrolet K5 Blazer:
    (Intro doesn’t show the Corvette, so here is a pic of the toy: http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Dice/4403/bantaka/sred/sred61.jpg)

    Janperson had a Chevrolet C3 Corvette:

    What this indicates that these guys liked the boxy sport car look, so let’s look at a couple of boxy sporty cars:

    The Toyota Supra (A70) and the Mitsubishi Starion/”Tri-Star Motors” Conquest. Ah, we got something!! I’m gonna go for the Starion/Conquest for the chose.

    Say your a Japanese Producer and wanted to make a Japanese Knight Rider. You need a car, and go to the biggies. Nissan seems to be silly busy throwing everything they have into Seibu Keisatsu, Toyota is being sedate and reserved, and Honda…..is too busy with something. Mitsubishi has had mixed results with Guerilla Group 8:


    So they decide to cut their teeth with the Japanese Knight Rider. BUT, they add a caveat: The Starion will be LHD, cause it seems the kiddie tokusatsu shows like featuring American Cars, so why not have the main character drive around in a Conquest? Good, we’ll shove one off the line, slap on some Mitsubishi Badges, and done!! LHD Starion in a Japanese TV Show.

    TL;DR: I chose the Conquest cause of LHD.

  5. エーイダン says:

    You want something unique, high-tech and super, jet-smooth…… Since this is JNC, Not British Nostalgic Car, my first choice of a Jaguar XJ-S 7.0 Lister Le Mans is out the window, but however, no need to fret, I have solved this, by merely looking at the shelf of tomica cars behind my head and an idea popped into my mind: Mazda RX-500 Concept car. The 491CC rotary concept from 1970 that Mazda had been using as a hotbed of ideas, such as lights on the back to indicate braking, accelerating or cruising. Smooth like a jet forged from silk and perfectly futuristic-looking (from an ’80s perspective.) .

  6. Jeremy A. says:

    Being the owner of a 280ZX turbo with the digital dash, my first thought is to say 280ZX. But I can think of a better car.

    The Mk. II Supra P-Type.

    It’s a car for a show, so the interior will be totally redone, but the metalwork is harder to redo. Well, the Mk II Supra, while its naturally aspirated 5MGE engine might not have set the world on fire, the P-Type Supra’s looks sure did. Big, massive arches with big meaty tires under them, angular bodywork that is the most 80s. the roof spoiler coupled with the trunk spoiler, pop-up headlights.

    The Japanese version of MIchael Knight would be perfectly at home in a blacked out Mk. II Supra.

  7. Rotsun77 says:

    I know its blatant but an all black 280ZX Turbo is the obvious answer. What better car is there from the JNC world to capture that quintessential painfully 80’s flare and enough forced induction based blacked-out badassery to but any malaise era blue oval or bow tie pony car to shame?

    The 280ZX Turbo is essentially the automotive embodiment of a gold medallion hanging on Drakkar Nior soaked leather jacket with a perm. Literally the best Kit candidate from the land of the rising sun.

  8. RX626 says:

    Z10 Soarer.
    This car didn’t have a futuristic design like Subaru XT, but equipped with the latest computer as an in-vehicle system.

    Starion is also cool, but this great car is for Ishihara Promotion and Jackie Chan.
    If add another TV star in the 1980’s? I choose Soarer.

  9. Daniel says:

    For me, the 300ZX Z31 with digital dashboard is the right answer.

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