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." 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. 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. The hand built car featured electronically-operated doors, hood and roof. Completed in 1965, the first version was painted in green and gold Metalflake.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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
Shown in Sweden
Did You Enjoy This Article?
Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to protect, preserve and share traditional hot rod custom car history from all over the world.
- Find out how you can become a contributor.
- Forward this article to a friend.
- Subscribe to our newsletter and receive updates on Reactor and other subjects featured on Kustomrama.
Help Us Make This Article Better
If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Reactor, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: firstname.lastname@example.org.