Little-known sci-fi fact: Kirk's Trek hot rod was Catwoman's, too

In the photo above, Capt. Kirk gives us his best "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am" smile. But it turns out it's the car that interests us more. Because the Reactor Mach II got around almost as much as Kirk did.

The Reactor Mach II was built by automotive artist Gene Winfield in 1965. According to Memory Alpha, "The Reactor was based on a 1956 Citroen DS chassis and powered by a Chevrolet Corvair engine. The hand-built car featured electronically-operating doors, hood and roof." It also had an aluminum body, which would have crumpled upon impact.

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Per Harpie's Bizarre. the hot rod first appeared in the Bewitched episode "Super Car" as Darrin's dream car, given to him as a gift by his witchy mother-in-law, Endora. (Of course, Endora had stolen it.)

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Next, the car was dolled up, or rather kitted up, for its appearance in Batman as Catwoman Eartha Kitt's best accessory. The Kitty Car, complete with eyes, ears and a tail, appeared in the episode "The Joke's on Catwoman."

It made a third and final appearance in the Star Trek episode "Bread and Circuses," where the car was given the name "Jupiter 8" and appeared in a television commercial. (We surmise that the above photo was taken during the filming of the episode.)

Gene Winfield's Hollywood career didn't start, or end, with the Reactor. His automotive skills were first used in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Get Smart. Later, he crafted vehicles for Trancers and The Last Starfighter. He was responsible for the Star Car in Star Man and for 25 vehicles in Blade Runner.

Winfield also designed the Galileo 7 shuttle used in the Star Trek episode of the same name.

The Reactor has retired from TV life and now lives at Darryl Starbird National Rod & Custom Hall of Fame.

(via Harpie's Bizarre)

And check out these other little-known sci-fi facts:

Little-known sci-fi fact: James Cameron played the Alien Queen

Why HAL 9000 sang 'Daisy' in 2001

What inspired Alien chestburster scene

3 ways George Lucas' wife saved Star Wars

The brawl that got Mel Gibson the Mad Max gig

James Doohan was shot six times on D-Day

Tolkien killed a Beatles LOTR movie

The lyrics to Star Trek's opening theme

The famous "Wilhelm scream"

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