Gene Winfield's Reactor: "The Jupiter 8"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Scott Kellogg, May 5, 2021.

  1. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    Hey Folks,


    The discussion on “Bread and Circuses” got me reading up on the car featured in that episode,
    The Reactor, built by Gene Winfield, alias the “Jupiter 8”

    It was built by Gene Winfield, the creator of the Shuttlecraft for TOS. And it’s actually a fully functional car.
    [​IMG]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reactor_(show_rod)


    The Reactor was an ambitious aluminum-bodied project. It was a mid-engined front wheel drive two seater, with a very low profile due to the Corvair Chevrolet Turbo-Air 6 engine flat six. It showcased a light aluminum body, like the Strip Star, but the technology went far beyond its novel bodywork. Winfield took the 180 hp (130 kW) turbocharged engine from a Corvair Corsa and mated it to the drivetrain from a Citroën DS (the futuristic French sedan), and retained the height adjustable Hydropneumatic suspension of the DS. (There’s conflicting information as to if it was a Citroën DS or a DI)

    Citroën DS
    [​IMG]
    The Citroën suspension allows the car to be raised from 4 inches to 9 & 1/2 inches on a liquid-air suspension. It has a hand crafted aluminum body, sequential taillights, electric doors and hood, four speed front wheel drive transmission.

    The Reactor was built in 1964 for $20,000, and displayed at the Hartford Autorama. The buyer then sold the car back to Winfield for considerably less. Winfield brought The Reactor to Hollywood in 1966. “I didn’t know anybody” according to Winfield. He managed to show the car to the 20th Century Fox Studios transportation coordinator, and within two weeks the unique car had landed a television role.


    It appeared in:
    • Bewitched, episode "Super Car" S3 E19 (The entire episode is written around the car.)
    • Star Trek, episode "Bread and Circuses" (as the Jupiter 8) S2 E25
    • Batman, episode "The Funny Feline Felonies" (as the Catmobile) S3 E16 (With cat ears, nose and tail bolted on)
    • "Mission: Impossible", episode "The Freeze”

    Recently, the car has been featured at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

    Gene Winfield’s work can be seen on Get Smart (The Sunbeam Tiger), the “Star Car” from The Last Starfighter, the “6000 SUX” from Robocop, the bubbletop cars from Sleeper, and 25 vehicles for Bladerunner (With Syd Mead.) And of course, the Shuttlecraft from TOS Star Trek.
    [​IMG]

    A good article on the car can be found at:
    https://kustomrama.com/wiki/Reactor
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  2. The Haunted Toilet

    The Haunted Toilet scotpens Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    The car got a write-up in the Fall 1965 issue of Popular Customs magazine. (These pages are excerpted from a longer article about Gene Winfield. Click on image for link to full-size version.)
    [​IMG]

    Gene Winfield headed AMT's Speed and Custom Division Shop in Phoenix, AZ, which built the shuttlecraft mockup. But calling him its "creator" is a bit of a stretch. The shuttlecraft was primarily designed by Thomas Kellogg, with additions by Star Trek art director Matt Jefferies.

    Oh, the indignity! :wah:
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  3. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    According to this article, the Reactor wasn't in "The Freeze."
     
  4. The Haunted Toilet

    The Haunted Toilet scotpens Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    Dean Jeffries' Manta Ray custom car was used in that Mission: Impossible episode. The two cars are somewhat similar in appearance.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Similar? I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. One has big exposed back wheels and the other has the back wheels behind body panels. One has a clear top and the other doesn't.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  6. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    To me, somehow the Manta Ray looks like it inspired several Hot Wheels designs from the same era.
    In a day without video tape and freeze frame, I can see how folks mixed it up with the Reactor.
     
    ChallengerHK and Phaser Two like this.
  7. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    Neat stuff! Thank you!
    Now I can see where the headlight popouts were.
    Come to think of it: Square Headlights would have been really unusual in 1964.

    It's kind of sad: When I was little, I thought that all cars would look like this by 2020.
    Instead, everything looks like a sneaker with no sharp edges like a toddler's toy so he won't hurt his siblings when he throws it at them.

    Scott
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I agree, the Silhouette for one, except for the fenders.

    Very unusual, and illegal for public road use in the US.

    Well thank God they don't, people still need somewhere to put their luggage!
     
  9. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    I was thinking the front end looks like the front end of the Twin Mill.

    Square headlights were illegal in the US? Huh! I wonder why?

    Well, that's when you drive off in Tom Daniel's Garbage Truck... ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Yeah, I forgot that one, but I definitely had one.

    I think it was so the feds didn't have to keep evaluating and certifying new designs. You could have two 7 inch or (after 1957) four 5 ¾ inch circular lights, and that was it until 1975. I remember clearly the first time I saw a car with rectangular headlights, it was a brown Cadillac in the parking lot of a local department store. My aunt was pissed, too, because they had bought a black Grand Prix the year before the change and now it looked out of date.
     
    Scott Kellogg likes this.
  11. The Haunted Toilet

    The Haunted Toilet scotpens Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    The Silhouette was actually a full-size, functional custom car built by Bill Cushenbery in 1963. AMT made a model kit of it and it was featured in the movie Beach Ball (1965).

    [​IMG]
     
  12. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Cool, I did not know that.
     
  13. ItsGreen

    ItsGreen Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Location:
    Near Philly
    The Reactor was used in many tv shows. Here is a montage of some of where it was used.
    [​IMG]

    The Dean Jeffries Mantaray was used in the Monkees , Batman, Mission Impossible, Bikini Beach as well as others.

    [​IMG]
     
    Scott Kellogg and ZapBrannigan like this.
  14. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    Strange things you notice:
    The Aft end of the reactor
    [​IMG]
    Kinda bears a resemblance to the back end of:
    [​IMG]
    The Pink Panthermobile
    [​IMG]
     
    ZapBrannigan likes this.
  15. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    ^I'm sure NHTSA-compliant rear bumpers would fit right in on those designs.
     
  16. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2021
    Location:
    USA
    Do you suppose that the Jupiter-8 was in any way named
    after Star Trek's contemporary main competition?
    [​IMG]
    ;)
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    See, I always through Trek shoulda rented one of those weird show cars, removed the wheels and put some spacey doohickuss in their place and make it a one or two person shuttle or something.
     
    F. King Daniel likes this.
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I doubt it. It was the 20th-century Rome planet, after all, so the car was named after the king of the Roman pantheon.

    Although I admit there was a time in my life when I got the names confused and thought the Lost in Space ship was the Jupiter 8.
     
  19. Dr. Kravaal

    Dr. Kravaal Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    publiusr
    That’s what I used to do to spacy looking hot wheels...tear off the wheels with my Dad’s pliers and try to fill them with something. My parents thought I was insane when I said wheels ruin the look of the car. I used to discard the pilots from toy planes too...the back of this reminds me of the new Batmobile...now just a muscle car..,
     
  20. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    I so regret parting with all my Hot Wheels and Matchbook cars when I was a young man getting rid of "childish things." Stupid!
     
    Dr. Kravaal likes this.