A new model of the famed Pontiac Firebird from the 1980s TV show Knight Rider is here, and it’s massive. The shadowy flight into the dangerous world of this subscription-based kit by DeAgostini will result in a car that measures nearly two feet long, cost more than $1,400, and take you over two years to complete.
For years, subscription-based model kits have been a tradition for hobbyists in Europe and Asia. Should you sign on, each week you’ll receive a package in the mail that includes a few parts for the model and some literature on the subject. Usually there are additional collectibles and accessories, like a display case.
The DeAgostini KITT kit, for example, begins with the hood for the first issue. The asymmetric bulged and scooped body panel comes with a several smaller body pieces and a small screwdriver. Issue two comes with the front fascia, KITT’s red scanner light, and three of the six driving lights. Issue three gives you a tire, wheel and brake components for one of the four corners. And so it goes.
When all is said and done, you’ll receive 110 such packages over a span of so many weeks. In other words it’ll take two years and one-and-a-half months to complete the black, 1:8 scale Pontiac. There are some discounted prices for the first few issues to get you hooked, but once you get settled in the regular price for each issue is €10.99 ($13.36 USD). Here’s a preview the 16-page pamphlet that accompanies the first issue. By the end, you should have a pretty comprehensive compendium of the Knight Rider series as well.
The issues are available on newsstands, but subscribers get additional gifts — two 1:43 scale models, one of KITT and one of his nemesis KARR. And for an additional €1.00 per issue, you’ll receive an acrylic display case.
As for the Knight Industries Two Thousand itself, the car appears to be incredibly detailed. As depicted on the DeAgostini website, the hood, doors, trunk and T-top roof panels all open. The red scanner lights up, the rear license plate rotates for three options, and there even seems to be a watch that commands the model to speak some of KITT’s catch phrases.
Knight Rider — or Supercar as it was called in Italy — told the episodic story of a former police officer, Michael Knight, who fought crime with his A.I.-powered car. As such, the TV car and the the model have a heavily computerized (by 1980s standards) dashboard and yoke steering wheel. Producers originally imagined the car as a Datsun 280ZX before GM came in with some sponsorship dollars. The series ran only four seasons, from 1982-86, but has clearly had a lasting impact around the world.
Other DeAgostini 1:8 subscription kits have included a Fiat 126p, Porsche 911, Jaguar E-Type, Toyota 2000GT, Ferrari 312, Ford GT40, 1967 Shelby Mustang GT-500, VW T1 Samba, VW Beetle, Ayrton Senna’s McLaren-Honda MP4/4 and a slew of Lamborghinis. The KITT subscription begins June 1 in Europe, but so far it has not appeared on DeAgostini’s U.S. website.