American Dream Cars of the 1960s at Pebble Beach

The Reactor will appear along with nine other one-off creations at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August

The Reactor

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. —Stargazers with dreams too big for a small town often pack their bags and head for one city: Hollywood. Legendary custom car builder Gene Winfield is a man who had very big dreams, but not for himself. His aspiration was to create a futuristic, aluminum-bodied custom automobile.

“I put the car in an open trailer and I towed it straight to Hollywood,” said Winfield of Modesto, California, about his custom coupe, called The Reactor. Appearing at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in a special class for one-off American Dream Cars of the 1960s, the Reactor will uphold its celebrity status as both an iconic dream and significant character in some of the world’s most-remembered films and television shows.

Winfield initially imagined and built The Reactor for Joe Kizis’ 1965 annual Autorama car show in Hartford, Connecticut. After its time spent touring back east, Winfield brought the Reactor back to California, where he entered it 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 didn’t know anybody,” Winfield recalled, “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.”

The Reactor starred in an episode of Bewitched called “The Super Car,” which was written to showcase the futuristic car’s exciting capabilities, like its hydro-pneumatic height adjustable suspension. It was also featured in an episode of Star Trek as the “Jupiter 8” and a Mission: Impossible episode called “The Freeze,” but it is perhaps best known for its appearance in the third and final season of the Batman television series, where it was the getaway car for Catwoman, played by actress Eartha Kitt. 

The car was created around a Citroën DS chassis and its unique hydro-pneumatic suspension so that it could move up and down, a feature that was far ahead of its time. “The inspiration I had for the car was to make something different, something wild,” Winfield said. He installed a 180-hp turbocharged engine from a Chevrolet Corvair Corsa, and paired it with the Citroën DS’s drivetrain. The Reactor was born as a two-seater, mid-engine car, with its most recognizable feature being its very low profile. Cleverly, Winfield used the Corvair flat-6 engine as a stylistic tool, because he wanted the Reactor to be as low and close to the ground as possible.

Automobiles ranging from a DiDia once owned by Bobby Darin to a car powered by gyrodynamics will also be showcased in the American Dream Cars of the 1960s class. Additional cars include:

1969 Farago CF 428 Coupe by Paul Farago

1967 Gyro-X by Alex Tremulis

1966 Bosley Mark II Interstate Coupe

1965 Pontiac Vivant Roadster by Herb Adams

1965 Bugatti T101C Roadster by Virgil Exner/Carrozzeria Ghia

1963 Tex Smith XR6 Custom Roadster

1963 Mantaray by Dean Jeffries

1962 Studebaker Sceptre Concept Coupe by Brooks Stevens

1960 DiDia 150 built for Bobby Darin

For more information on the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, or to purchase tickets for the 2017 Concours, go to www.pebblebeachconcours.net. A Visitor Guide, with a complete calendar of events for the 2017 Pebble Beach Automotive Week, is located at www.pebblebeachconcours.net/visitor-guide.html

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

First conducted in 1950, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® (www.pebblebeachconcours.net) has grown to be the world’s premier celebration of the automobile. Only the most beautiful and historic cars are invited to appear on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links®, and connoisseurs of art and style gather to admire these masterpieces. Charitable donations raised by Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® now total over $23 million. Related events include Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® presented by Rolex, Pebble Beach RetroAuto™, Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum™, and Pebble Beach® Auctions presented by Gooding & Company. Pebble Beach®, Pebble Beach Golf Links®, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach RetroAuto™, Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum™, and Pebble Beach® Automotive Week are trademarks, service marks and trade dress of Pebble Beach Company. All rights reserved.

About Pebble Beach Company

Pebble Beach Company, headquartered in Pebble Beach, Calif., owns and operates the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts®, including The Lodge at Pebble Beach™, The Inn at Spanish Bay™ and Casa Palmero®. The company also operates four renowned golf courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links®, Spyglass Hill® Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay™ and Del Monte™ Golf Course. Its other famed properties include scenic 17-Mile Drive®, The Spa at Pebble Beach™, Pebble Beach Golf Academy™ and Pebble Beach® Equestrian Center. It annually hosts premier events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational presented by DELL EMC, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and Pure Insurance Championship. Future site of the 2019 U.S. Open Championship, Pebble Beach Golf Links® has hosted five U.S. Opens, four U.S. Amateurs, one PGA Championship and numerous other tournaments. For reservations or more information please call (800) 654-9300 or visit www.pebblebeach.com.

 

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