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KITT, Smokey alive and driving with local car club



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August 20, 2014 - Most people will never remember the movie plot of "Smokey and Bandit"—legendary truck driver Bo "Bandit" (dare devil Burt Reynolds) is offered $80,000 to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texas to Georgia.

And while picking up a rather attractive Sally Fields along the way—Bo also purchases a 1977 black Pontiac Trans Am, which he will drive as a "blocker" car to deflect attention away from the truck and its illegal cargo.

The late 1970s era movie is somewhat blasé; however, the black Trans Am remains a legendary muscle car.

Burt and Sally may not be part of the ride, but Ortonville resident Eirk Modzelewski's Trans Am still turns some heads.

On Sunday, Modzelewski, along with members of the Great Lakes Knights, gathered in Ortonville to show off some of their vehicles made popular from film and television.

"It took me six years to build," said Modzelewski. "It started out as a 1981 Trans Am and I changed it to the 1977 that was in the movie. The car is very unique because the man who applied the original decals in the movie car applied mine. However, the car includes a small block 355 cubic inch rather than the big block 400 cubic inch engine."

Currently Modzelewski is building a second movie car KITT from Knight Rider.

The TV series lasted from 1982-1986 where a lone crimefighter fights crime and evil assisted by an indestructible and artificially intelligent super car named KITT. The series starred David Hasselhoff, who had a rather unique relationship with the talking and sometimes arrogant KITT.

The series faded, but the jet black Pontiac Trans Am has survived.

"In the year 1982 Pontiac changed the body style from "Smokey and the Bandit" style TA and came out a totally different look, people just all fell in love with it," he said. "There were customers going in wanting the Kitt Car from auto dealers."

The transformation is not cheap.

"The 1980s Trans Am is still out there to buy," he said. "But add the changes to the dash, steering wheel plus the television similar to KITT car and it adds up. You can even make the car talk like it did in the show. Push a remote control button and the dash lights up first, the windows go down. It's a lot of fun and people still relate to the cars."

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