Reactor

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A drawing of the Joe Kizis Autorama Special by Ben Delphia. The drawing is dated July 16, 1964. Photo courtesy of the Ron San Giovanni Collection.
Photo courtesy of Gene Winfield.
Gene-winfield-reactor.jpg
A press release announcing the spectacular Joe Kizis Autorama Special. Photo courtesy of the Ron San Giovanni Collection.
The Reactor appeared in several television series. In 1967 it appeared as the Reactor Mach II in a Bewitched episode called "Supercar".
An ad for the Jupiter 8 from the Star Trek episode. Photo courtesy of Memory Alpha.
A screen shot of the Reactor from the Star Trek episode. Photo courtesy of Memory Alpha.
The Reactor as it appeared as the "Catmobile" in an episode of Batman. Photo courtesy of www.bat-mania.co.uk.
Another photo of the Reactor from the Batman episode. Photo courtesy of www.bat-mania.co.uk.
The Reactor at a car show in Portland, Oregon in the 1960s. Photo by Dick Page.
Photo by Jerry Hatto.
Photo by Jerry Hatto.
The Reactor at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show. It was displayed next to Wheels Unlimited's 1965 Buick LeSabre, a Winfield Custom that made its debut at the show. Photo by Wheels Unlimited.
An interior shot of the Reactor taken at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Photo courtesy of Anthony Diliberto.

The Reactor is an aluminum show-car built by Gene Winfield at Winfield's Custom Shop for Connecticut show promoter Joe Kizis. Designed by Ben Delphia, the original name of the Reactor was the "Autorama Special."[2] It featured a four wheel fully independent self-leveling suspension from a 1956 Citroën DS and a flat six engine from a Corvair. The low engine allowed an unusually low hood.[3] It was a front wheel drive vehicle, and it ran inboard spot disc brakes. The car could be raised and lowered with a load leveling device which allowed a minimum ground clearance of four inches up to nine and a half inches.[4] The hand built car featured electronically-operated doors, hood and roof. Completed in 1965, the first version was painted in green and gold Metalflake.[5]It ran on 910 x 15 Firestone tires, made for racing at the Indianapolis Speedway. The tires were mounted on wheels of special design with air vents for better cooling.[4]


Back to California 

After the Reactor had been shown on the East Coast, Gene brought it back to California, where he entered in the Grand National Roadster Show. Against tough competition, the Reactor won the coveted Tournament of Fame Award. Winfield soon realized even bigger dreams for his car. So, he packed up the Reactor and took it to Hollywood, where it captured the attention of leading filmmakers.[6]


Movie Car

"I put the car in an open trailer and I towed it straight to Hollywood," said Gene about the car. "I didn’t know anybody, but I found 20th Century Fox Studios and I went up to the gate and conned them into letting me in to show my car to their transportation department. From there, the transportation coordinator gave me the names and addresses of all these other studios, and for two days, I took the car around and handed out my business card. Two weeks later, Bewitched called me and said that they wanted The Reactor on their set."[6]

Bewitched

In 1967 the Reactor appeared as the Reactor Mach II in a Bewitched episode called "The Super Car". In that episode you can see how the Reactor rises off the ground when you start the engine, just like the DS.[3]


Star Trek

The Reactor was also featured in an episode of Star Trek as the "Jupiter 8", a two-seat sports car marketed to the inhabitants of the planet 892-IV.


Mission: Impossible

In 1968 it made an appearance in the Mission: Impossible episode "The Freeze".[5]


Batman

In Batman, the Reactor appeared as the "Catmobile", and it was driven by Eartha Kitt in the episode. Playing "Catwoman", Eartha picked up Cesar Romeo, playing the Joker, in the car, and they drove away together.


National Roadster Show 1999

Gene Winfield bought the Reactor back and restored it in time for the 50th Oakland Roadster Show in 1999.


Shown in Sweden

In 2005 it was shipped to Sweden, and shown at the Bilsport Performance and Custom Motor Show in Jönköping.


Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2017

August 20, 2017 the Reactor appeared along with nine other one-off creations at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It was shown in a special class called "American Dream Cars of the 1960s."


References






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