When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels? - Third Generation F-Body Message Boards


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When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Old 04-18-2017, 10:42 PM   #1
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When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

I have only ever seen the 14" and 15" Turbo cast aluminum wheels with the "bowling ball" hubcaps on 1982 model cars from the factory,yet in my "Standard Catalog of Firebird" it shows photos of 1983 model cars with "knight rider" Turbo rims!
Were these wheels available on early production 1983 Trans Ams and Firebirds? When exactly did Pontiac quit offering those wheels?
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Keep in mind I'm going from memory, but I recall those wheels being available from the very beginning.

I also recall they were so universally hated, their removal was the first mod most new Firebird owners made after buying their cars.

I seem to recall they were available from '82-'84
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:27 AM   #3
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Originally Posted by Galaxie500XL View Post
Keep in mind I'm going from memory, but I recall those wheels being available from the very beginning.

I also recall they were so universally hated, their removal was the first mod most new Firebird owners made after buying their cars.

I seem to recall they were available from '82-'84
Seems like a good reason to me. They are fugly, personal opinion of course.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #4
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Originally Posted by Galaxie500XL View Post
Keep in mind I'm going from memory, but I recall those wheels being available from the very beginning.

I also recall they were so universally hated, their removal was the first mod most new Firebird owners made after buying their cars.

I seem to recall they were available from '82-'84
"Universally hated"? I don't know where YOUR recollection comes from, but I never heard anything like that before. The 1983-1984 N78 turbo-finned aluminum wheels were simply not as popular as the new high-tech turbo wheels, is all.

Especially when GM came out with their new 16 inch wheels with the 245-50-16 Goodyear Gatorback tires. That was the hot ticket back then, and if anyone was swapping out wheels, it was because they loved the sixteen-inch high-tech turbo.





Back in the early 90's when my car was still 100% stock and I was autocrossing in F-stock category
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:08 AM   #5
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Originally Posted by Galaxie500XL View Post
Keep in mind I'm going from memory, but I recall those wheels being available from the very beginning.

I also recall they were so universally hated, their removal was the first mod most new Firebird owners made after buying their cars.

I seem to recall they were available from '82-'84
Yes,that is true about them being hated. I had a friend who was a Pontiac dealer at the time and he said that buyers stated they were ugly and asked what other wheel options there were. When I had bought mine many moons ago too,it was already sporting a set of aftermarket rims because the original owner removed them shortly after buying the car.
I think the only reason most people want them now is due to their use on "Knight Rider". I always liked them,but I guess that makes me unusual.

I don't ever recall seeing them on any other years other than 82 though.

http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/1982-pont...d-trans-am.jpg

Last edited by JimRockford; 04-19-2017 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:44 AM   #6
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

The caps fell off as well. That did not help the turbocast cause.
My car had aftermarket Cragars on it for years.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:30 PM   #7
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Tastes change over time..they look different to folks these days, than they did then.

A similar thing these days with Chevrolet "rally" wheels. Not that popular when new, but now they're everywhere. I'd bet more have been reproduced in the past two decades, than Chevrolet actually sold new back in the day.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

..and, as to where I got my information, I was in my 20's when the third gen was introduced....and wanted one so badly I could almost taste it.

It didn't hurt having an uncle that worked at Norwood building them.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

didn't those wheels (with the covers) help with drag? Off topic but I recall reading in a Firebird development book of somekind that with those wheels, if the '82 T/A was dropped an inch or so, it's cd would drop into the 0.29/8 region. Not too shabby at all today and v. impressive in the early 80s

I wonder if we'll ever see a 16" version of them in the aftermarket (I'd be interested). 17's may be a bit too much for that design...
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Pontiac made a very big deal about the aerodynamics of the car.


I recall going to the 1982 World's Fair, and in the US Pavilion was a display from Pontiac with sheetmetal from a Firebird showcasing what all had been done to reduce drag. It was a pretty cool display.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:43 PM   #11
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Pontiac made a very big deal about the aerodynamics of the car.


I recall going to the 1982 World's Fair, and in the US Pavilion was a display from Pontiac with sheetmetal from a Firebird showcasing what all had been done to reduce drag. It was a pretty cool display.
I went to the Knoxville fair too. I wish the Pontiac display was available for review now.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:11 PM   #12
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Growing up, I never saw those wheels on a Trans Am. Now that I have a set on my 82, I'm the only one in my county with a set as far as I know. My 82 did not come with them, however the RPO was for 14" Turbo Casts which were long gone. I got a set of 15s with caps for it several years ago. Most I encounter at car shows think they are custom wheels for the Knight Rider car until I tell them they are factory Pontiac wheels.

I don't know how long they were available, but years ago a friend of mine bought a used 83 Trans Am with about 60,000 miles, red with black spoiler, black mirrors, black lower stripe kit, 15" turbo casts, PMD seats, round shift **** and a TH200 transmission. To this day, it's the only 83 I've ever seen with those options.

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Old 04-19-2017, 07:19 PM   #13
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Those wheels were widely thought of as UTT BUCKING FUGLY, and the people I knew who bought those cars new, ALWAYS tried to get something else. Not sure how those disgusting things ended up on that children's show but whatevs.

Don't try to take your 2017 "memory" of some early 80s TV show and try to project your warm & fuzziness onto the general public 35 years after the fact. It's as bogus as projecting our today's modern, say, anti-slavery feelings onto, say, the ancient Greeks or Chinese. Just because we here now today find something utterly revolting unacceptable criminal or the like, or conversely memorable terrific "worthy" of preservation, doesn't mean that the people AT THE TIME were automatically good bad or indifferent because of their stance on the issue. Times change.

I agreed, at the time. I specifically DID NOT BUY at least one car at the time because it had those ... POSs ... on it. Frankly, I still agree. No: I do not "agree", I REINFORCE. Those wheels were are and will always be UTT BUCKING FUGLY.

No I am NOT a Knight Rider fan. I was older than like 8 yrs old at the time. The show like totally barfed me out. Like gag me with a Ginsu.

No offense meant to young people that turn 45 or so this year.

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Old 04-19-2017, 07:20 PM   #14
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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I went to the Knoxville fair too. I wish the Pontiac display was available for review now.


Part of what made a big impression on me was the car wasn't available until IIRC December of that year....so we were seeing sheetmetal for a car we hadn't actually seen yet.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:08 PM   #15
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Originally Posted by Galaxie500XL View Post
Pontiac made a very big deal about the aerodynamics of the car.


I recall going to the 1982 World's Fair, and in the US Pavilion was a display from Pontiac with sheetmetal from a Firebird showcasing what all had been done to reduce drag. It was a pretty cool display.


Yep,the really stressed the slipperiness of the design. It was a new high tech aerodynamic look for the Firebird and really made the second gens look dated overnight.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:09 PM   #16
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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I went to the Knoxville fair too. I wish the Pontiac display was available for review now.


I'd like to see pictures of the Pontiac display if anyone had a camera with to photograph it.
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:30 AM   #17
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

My 1984 Trans Am came from the factory with 14" turbocasts with hubcaps. RPO N89:


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Old 04-20-2017, 08:56 AM   #18
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Just curious,but why do people call them "turbocast" wheels? Pontiac called them Turbo cast aluminum wheels. Cast aluminum is what they are made of. My friend who was a Pontiac salesman in 1982 said they were called Turbo wheels. For some reason people attach the "cast" from cast aluminum to the word Turbo.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:53 PM   #19
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Just curious,but why do people call them "turbocast" wheels? Pontiac called them Turbo cast aluminum wheels. Cast aluminum is what they are made of. My friend who was a Pontiac salesman in 1982 said they were called Turbo wheels. For some reason people attach the "cast" from cast aluminum to the word Turbo.
I think it started with the internet. People tend to shorthand or throw words together and it sticks! Even I call them "turbocasts." When I hear "turbo wheels" I think of 81 Trans Am wheels. When I hear "turbine wheels" I think of General Lee Vectors for instance.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:25 PM   #20
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Sofa - I agree - at the time they were ugly. But now seeing them on the early third gen Trans Ams looks retro. I like the way they look without the caps as well. They are impossible to find and expensive if you do. I know the whole Knightrider fad contributes to it, but people want them. There is a parts guy on the boards that made his whole career off selling them. I have a clean set in my basement that I could probably sell for a grand. Everybody's tastes are different.

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Old 04-20-2017, 08:50 PM   #21
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Sofa - I agree - at the time they were ugly. But now seeing them on the early third gen Trans Ams looks retro. I like the way they look without the caps as well. They are impossible to find and expensive if you do. I know the whole Knightrider fad contributes to it, but people want them. There is a parts guy on the boards that made his whole career off selling them. I have a clean set in my basement that I could probably sell for a grand. Everybody's tastes are different.
I agree,everyone has their own opinion on what they like. I think your car does look cool without the caps too.

Personally I think the modern "giant rim" fad is moronic and Ugly. I also think 2 foot tall carbon fiber wings,truck nuts and stick on ventiports look stupid. How about the spinning hubcap fad of a few years back? And the skull fad,skull tattoos,skull purses,skull shift *****,skull pacifiers for baby,skull coloring books,skull shaped pancakes with skull shaped syrup served on skull shaped plates,eaten with skull shaped forks and knives. Lol.

Ever seen a Camaro with wheels so large it looks like King kongs rollerskate? I think that's far worse than Turbo wheels were thought to look back in the day.
What looks cool about putting gaudy chrome Conestoga wagon sized wheels on a muscle car or classic? Asides from the cartoonish aesthetics,think of what it does to the gearing and ride! What about fart can exhausts? There's no shortage of "fugly" today. In the end as you say,we all have our own tastes.

Personally I understand what Pontiac was trying to do with those wheels.they were intended to look and be slippery and aerodynamic. People hated them back then though and usually removed them from the car soon after its purchase.

The only reason the Turbo wheels sell for as much as they do is because of Knight Rider pure and simple. Plus you have people in foreign country's who don't mind ponying up the large sums people ask for them.
I have a couple sets I got back when nobody cared and I'm not selling them

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Old 04-20-2017, 11:59 PM   #22
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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I don't ever recall seeing them on any other years other than 82 though
They were available in 14" from 1982 to 1984, and in 15" in '82 and '83.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:08 AM   #23
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Yeah, they disappeared completely from the product books in 1985.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:53 PM   #24
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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They were available in 14" from 1982 to 1984, and in 15" in '82 and '83.
Thanks for clearing it up for me. They must not have been as popular after 82
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:34 PM   #25
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/wto/6094797267.html Here is a NOS set I have been watching
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:58 AM   #26
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

Take it from a guy who knows a thing or two about these wheels for the last 13+ years LOL


YES !! They are F#@ ugly without the caps, I 100% agree on that.
But they were not just the wheels on a so called "Cheesy kiddy show about a taking car"

The N89 Turbo cast Wheels were an important design function/feature and respectfully standard equipment on the 1982 Trans Am and Firebird S/E lines. To point out to some this is a THIRD GEN WEBSITE and would ask some of you to show some respect in that perspective !!!
I'm not really into Camaro's but I wouldn't be rude or disrespectful to "Talk trash" on a third gen based site. Remember KITT is a Third gen based vehicle and has helped showcase our cars to a worldwide audience !!!! What other car have you owned that people stop and shake your hand or give you free pizza ?? lol


From speaking to some F-body experts from back in that era and reading my "Bible" lol "The 1982 Firebird book" the caps were designed for CO aerodynamics and the wheels had the slots around the caps as vents to help cool for braking.

Yes, As mentioned 15" were '82/83 only and EXTREMELY rare to find on the 83's !! Have seen some 84's with em in the past but VERY rare also. Only base level suspension 1984 Trans am's had them since only 14" was available. Most rare would be a 82 or 83 Firebird S/E with WS6 or WS7 suspension and had the colored key caps. Have seen 15" Bowling Ball caps in gold/Grey/Red !!! Even bought some barbie pink 15" bowling ball caps once !!!, Had to wear a mask,cap and sunglasses for that odd in person purchase lol


But now as some have mentioned this retro old skool factory stock fad is coming back HARD and that only means these will be in HIGH demand and only go higher in value !!


Now'a days, I'm getting $1500-2000 a set for 15's NO caps from international buyers EASY !! I love those guys. NO STUPID QUESTIONS ASKED or INSULTING $500 offers !!!

I guarantee you in 5 years these will be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find and a clean set with NO caps will be $2000-2500 !!!!!!!!!

Last few years I have had to purchase ENTIRE cars JUST to get those wheels !!!!!!!!! I purchased 3 1982 trans am's so far this year JUST to get those 15" N89's lol



If you want em, Gem em now.


You have been warned



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Old 04-22-2017, 08:46 AM   #27
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

I don't know Dave - call me crazy, but I kinda like them without caps too
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:48 AM   #28
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/wto/6094797267.html Here is a NOS set I have been watching
Those are Turbofin - they only got a small trim cap.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:15 AM   #29
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

I agree with what Dave the Turbocast king said. The wheels were definetly designed to be an integral part of the cars high tech aerodynamic design theme,and he hit the nail on the head,the caps made the wheels more slippery and the fins around them helps cool the brakes. I know these wheels seem to be reviled by most,but I liked them when they were new and still like them now,but to each his own.

Do you have a picture of this pink bowling ball caps? Were the from the factory in that color? I didn't think they offered a car in pink that year?
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:18 AM   #30
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

A lot of the 1982 specific parts are now being reproduced by Knight Rider parts company's. Go on eBay and you can find aftermarket bowling ball caps,cone shaped shifters,pmd guides and emblems,etc. about the only thing not currently being reproed are the pmd "viscount" seats and the Turbo rims.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:28 AM   #31
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Those are Turbofin - they only got a small trim cap.

It's funny how many people mistake the Turbo fin wheels for the Turbo KITT rims. At an auto swap meet I witnessed a very heated argument because a seller had sold a guy a set of Turbo fin wheels to an Australian kid who was visiting here saying they were "knight rider rims" and then he found out after they weren't and he came back with his dad and they got into it.

I've seen many people call them "knight rider" rims.
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:14 PM   #32
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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I don't know Dave - call me crazy, but I kinda like them without caps too

Maybe if you paint em a nice coat of silver and some clear lol


Dave
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:50 PM   #33
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Maybe if you paint em a nice coat of silver and some clear lol



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C'mon Dave - check the sig. Look how nice they look in gold!
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:43 AM   #34
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

There's a guy in the UK who has reproduced the 15" Turbocast rim and the bowling ball hubcaps. The caps are made in steel and bolt onto the rim, not clipped or zip tied on.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:21 AM   #35
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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I'd like to see pictures of the Pontiac display if anyone had a camera with to photograph it.
Same here. First I've heard of it.
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:33 AM   #36
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Same here. First I've heard of it.


Awhile back there was a cool thread IRC here on the history board of pics from Auto Show displays and one in Chicago from 1982 stood out.

Some of those pics might be on the official North American Auto Show web site also

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Old 04-26-2017, 02:38 AM   #37
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Re: When did Pontiac stop offering Knight Rider "Turbo" Cast Aluminum wheels?

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Do you have a picture of this pink bowling ball caps? Were the from the factory in that color? I didn't think they offered a car in pink that year?
Yes, But I can't access them right now. They're on my old laptop that was damaged and haven't had the chance to transfer to my new PC yet.
But you did remind me to put it on my May "To do list" LOL


Story is, I got em from a guy with a Black/gold 82 T/A years ago in the SF bay area. He didn't even have the N89 wheels on his car !! How/Why they were painted barbie pink is BEYOND ME ?? lol

Dave

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