Let me start by saying that I’ve never been a fan of Star Trek; other than the two Hollywood blockbusters that have been recently released, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a single episode. I mean, I’m a gearhead at heart, so why would I be into any of that sci-fi stuff, right? Well, that is unless those two worlds ever combined.
On March 15, 1968, there was an episode of the original Star Trek, the one starring William Shatner as the Captain James T. Kirk, where a unique car made an appearance. It was called the “Jupiter 8”, and the story was that the car was made by aliens. After looking at the car, that almost seems believable.
The car was built by an automotive genius by the name of Gene Winfield who was responsible for some very unique vehicles used both on TV and the big screen. It’s an all aluminum, custom built car that has a mid-mounted engine and front wheel drive. The Jupiter 8 was a variation of the car Winfield called the Reactor that was used not only in Star Trek, but also made appearances in Bewitched and Mission Impossible, and even the Batman TV series as Catwoman’s Kitty Car.
It was built using a chassis from a 1956 Citroen DS, but with power coming from none other than a Chevy Corvair engine. So it wasn’t the most powerful of cars by any means. But considering the entire thing was built out of aluminum it would’ve just crumbled into pieces heaven forbid there was an accident. Obviously, it was designed more for its looks.
The Jupiter 8 had electronically-operated hood, roof, and doors made it much more believable that the car was from “outer space” for whatever reason. Many people even go as far as to say that the Jupiter 8, or Reactor depending on who you ask, is the first car to have “scissor doors”. It can still be seen on display even today at the Starbird’s National Rod & Custom Car museum in Oklahoma so if you happen to be in the area you can stop in and see a true “alien-made” car.