Event: Knight Rider Show 2010

Guilty Pleasures

2010 Celebrates another year of the annual Knight Rider convention, held in the town of Halifax, UK. Over the years KnightCon has grown and is now one of the world’s biggest Knight Rider events – with replica cars from past and present and the original Knight Rider rolling command centre on display (or “a massive truck” to those unaffiliated with the original series). Many other American cars also attended – including replicas from several other classic TV shows.

KITT Replicas

KITT Replicas

The event is organised by Steve and Rob, who work tirelessly throughout the year to make these events so special. This year didn’t disappoint with a flagship marquee, inside displaying perfect replica’s of the original 80’s icon – The Knight Industries Two Thousand as well as the Mustang Three Thousand from the 2009 series.

Inside of KITT

Inside of KITT

There were props built to look like the inside of the trailer, a stage for the celebrity guests and TVs showing schematics of KITT. Guests were also treated to a bar and a shop where you could buy Knight Rider based goodies. Outside the car park was full of KITTs, Mustangs, The General Lee and even the A-Team van!

KnightCon this year was a 2 day event, starting Friday night with a VIP guest party.  I’m a big fan of Knight Rider and Chris Jones had been asked to help with the on-the-day organisation and he’d ask if I could come along to assist with event security for the Friday evening. Happy to oblige, I started practicing my lines. I had received a clipboard list of guests who were down for the Friday event. One of the barmaids in the Marquee mentioned that her husband was due to come down later so was overjoyed when the opportunity presented itself. I scanned my name list. “I’m sorry” I said with a dry smile, “If their name isn’t down, they are not coming in”.

Chris grimaced. “You’ve been dying to say that haven’t you”.

The Knight Rider Truck!

The Knight Rider Truck!

Outside the Marquee there was a projection of the KITT schematics onto the top of the tent which looked fantastic at night.

The Friday night event was excellent – with music and drink flowing until the guests arrived later in the evening. Rebecca Holden, who played April in Series two and Mike Scheffe who designed the original KITT car came along as special guests. After being presented on the stage, they said a few words and then proceeded to mingle with the crowd for the rest of the evening.

The evening passed without a hitch and the next morning I arrived expecting a few people milling around. I could scarcely believe my eyes – a car park packed with people, cars overflowing and a semi-frantic Chris welcoming me with “Where the f**k have you been?!” Whoops…

The car display was magnificent. As you entered the car park where were a number of American cars of all ages to the right, further up the straight were TV show cars including Starsky and Hutch, Delorian, The A-Team van and the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard!

Some people did appreciate the Ferrari

Some people did appreciate the Ferrari

An out of place character was also on display near the entrance to the show – a bright yellow Ferrari 355 convertible. Jonty owns the car and had come to see the car show like the rest of us. Not knowing where to park he mistakenly drove into the event and was directed to park up inside with the display cars! Having the car near the entrance caused a lot of negative feeling with some of the hardcore American car owners which I found disappointing – yet not unusual as I’ve seen this behaviour before.

As Jonty left later in the afternoon there was much jeering “I bet it’s an MR2 or some crap replica” one said. I found this negativity towards someone who had only come to enjoy the show like everyone else a little unfair “That’s a real Ferrari” I said to one of them. Laughs and dismissive belief followed along with aired comments “Why bring that to an American car show”. As he departed, revving the engine to get over the speed hump and up the hill “yeah, that’s it, blow your engine up!” Mercifully, they were in the minority and seeing the fruitlessness of any defence I just left them to it.

Later in the afternoon “Eleanor” also arrived from Gone in 60 Seconds fame, which attracted a huge amount of interest. A spectacular rare car, fastidiously looked after by its owner who has modified a number of components to improve its performance. “It’s a real handful to drive though” he tells us “No power steering and a cable clutch means it is hard to control when setting off”.

Mustang

Mustang

Now then main event – the KITT replica’s. A huge number of cars were on display. Many of them had the complete dashboards and one in particular had a voice recognition system, which allowed KITT to actually respond to your requests. Fantastic!!

Dukes of Hazard and the A-Team van

Dukes of Hazard and the A-Team van

The Celebrity guests arrived in the afternoon, being driven to the crowds in three replica KITT cars. With Rebecca and Mike they were also accompanied by Catherine Hickland who played Stevie in the original series. She Married “Michael Knight” in the show and actually married David Hasslehoff in real life.

A Q&A session followed, allowing anyone to ask them questions about the show, their lives at the time, or what they are doing now. We were regaled with stories of life during the Knight Rider days and the fun that was had whilst producing the TV show. These days Rebecaa is a singer and Catherine is now a professional hypnotist in Las Vegas!

Video messages were also played from many of the other cast and crew, including David himself.

All in all, a fantastic day out, with a lot to see. Three cheers for Rob and Steve who put this event together with such detail and perfection. In the run up to the event they spent several days working until 4am with friends and family to get everything finished in time. They then proceeded to spend most of the weekend either shell-shocked or in frantic panic keeping the show running smoothly. Not that you’d know it as it was one of the most professionally arranged events I have attended.

KITT Indoors

KITT Indoors

The 2009 KITT

The 2009 KITT

So thanks again to you both.  One man – or in this case two – really can “make a difference”.

Addendum: The series of KnightCon shows finished in 2013 and due to expansion in the displays and wider public appeal, will in future be known as Star Cars and Heroes.

September 2010