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Thread: The Cheetah

  1. #21
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
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    Cheetah

    It must be a popluar name for sports cars. I see on my list that I have two Cheetahs listed. No 001 to Bruce Wooten and No 002 to Bruce McCoy.

  2. #22
    Can't believe how much more work I have got done over the last weeek this site has been down!

    Kiwi285, the Cheetah/Cheaters of Wooten and Bruce McCoy (recently sold) are Formula Fords built by my brother Donald and me in 1974/5. At the time any FF which went well was automatically labeled a cheater so we though we would get in first. The name has morphed into the more PC Cheetah over the years.

    001 was driven my me in the FF championship 1974/75 then sold to Norm Lankshear May 1975. 002 was sold as a new car early 1975 to Bob Donaldson.

  3. #23
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
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    Cheetah

    Howard thanks for the info and history. I remember now that they were single seaters.

  4. #24
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jac Mac View Post
    The Cheetah body molds /Jigs & right to produce etc were up for sale in the USA recently-last couple of months-Club Cobra website had info )
    You're absolutely right. The BTM business was for sale on eBay with a starting bid of US$100,000 but didn't meet reserve. But remember that the BTM Cheetah, although authorised by Bill Thomas before he died, is not an exact period copy of the 1963 car - it uses a lot of modern components.

    There has been a lot of talk about this sale in Cheetah circles, because it all seemed a bit odd. The company is selling the rights to build copies of the original 1963 Cheetah, but they are also advertising that they were about to start producing copies of the 1965 'Super Cheetah' - a car that was never completed (the prototype was originally thought to be lost in the factory fire that ended the production of the original Cheetah).

    BTM are also 'selling' access to their archives of Cheetah images, documents, technical information, etc. Seems like they need cash!

  5. #25
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pallmall View Post
    Thanks John, that explains the little story I heard. I don't think there would be any objections if you put some in progress build photos on here for us to see, please.
    I'm currently redesigning my website so that I can document the entire build of the Cheetah, and will provide a link once it is up and running. I've also created a couple of Albums on my forum Profile page - check them out.

    We intend to build an exact period clone of the 1963 Cheetah for historic racing (it's not a restoration because the parts we have are not all from one of the original 16 Cheetahs, but it's not a typical replica either because all the parts will be period correct - hence the term clone). Here's what it looks like now (don't worry we won't be using those wheels!)...

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    It's certainly going to be a rare beast - only approx 16 Cheetahs were built before a factory fire ended production. And it should be quick! The original 1510 lb (685 kg) Cheetah used the modified running gear from the 1963 Corvette, but the 327cu.in V8 was stroked to 377cu.in. with 500+ hp. It was clocked at 215mph (346 kph) at Daytona in 1964 - with drum brakes!! Our Cheetah will be built to the same specs. It should look something like this...

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    Last edited by John B; 12-22-2011 at 02:43 PM.

  6. #26
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
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    That car will certainly be a great addition to the historic fields when it is completed. Do you have any approximate deadline. When you talk about the same spec - do you mean still using drum brakes !!!!

  7. #27
    Semi-Pro Racer pallmall's Avatar
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    Thankyou.

  8. #28
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi285 View Post
    That car will certainly be a great addition to the historic fields when it is completed. Do you have any approximate deadline. When you talk about the same spec - do you mean still using drum brakes !!!!
    Can't decide about the brakes. As you know the Cheetah was based upon the 1963 Corvette, and GM wanted Bill Thomas to use as many Corvette parts as possible (even the Corvette tail lights). The 1963 Vette didn't has discs, so the Cheetah didn't have disc brakes. Thomas finally opted for 11" Chevrolet passenger car drum brakes, as used in NASCAR at that time. Apparently they were very effective because the aluminium bodied Cheetah was only 685 kg (the fibreglass only bodied cars were slightly heavier).

    However, in 1965 the Corvette was finally fitted with disc brakes as standard equipment, and some of the racing Cheetahs were then upgraded to discs. So we may construct our car as a "1963 Cheetah as raced in the 1965 season".

    As for an approximate deadline, we would love to have it on the track for the 2013 NZ Festival of Motor Racing, but maybe that is a little optimistic. We have only just started on the project, having spent the last 12 months doing research, CAD design, and collecting parts. If we had the money I believe 12 months is do'able (the Cheetah is a very basic little machine), but we need to sell another race car to fund this project ... same old story!!

  9. #29
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    1963 Cheetah V8 by Bill Thomas

    Here are a few more images...

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  10. #30
    Wow, John, you're really done your homework! I hope you can put together a build thread. That'd be fantastic to see coming together. I think that first photo in post 29 shows just how fast the Cheetah really was. One of the Cheetahs is on the front row next to a mid-engined King Cobra, and ahead of another King Cobra and a Chaparral. What a shame GM weren't interested in this project. I think these cars would have been devastating in the category they were created for.

    Interesting point about there being a replica of the Super Cheetah being built. I thought the original Super Cheetah only made it as far as being a drawing? Did it progress further than that?

  11. #31
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    Any chance you opening a youtube account with timeline footage of the rebuild John?....Awesome project!!

  12. #32
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    Wow, John, you're really done your homework! I hope you can put together a build thread. That'd be fantastic to see coming together. I think that first photo in post 29 shows just how fast the Cheetah really was. One of the Cheetahs is on the front row next to a mid-engined King Cobra, and ahead of another King Cobra and a Chaparral. What a shame GM weren't interested in this project. I think these cars would have been devastating in the category they were created for.

    Interesting point about there being a replica of the Super Cheetah being built. I thought the original Super Cheetah only made it as far as being a drawing? Did it progress further than that?
    Yes Steve, I've spent the last 12 months doing my 'homework' on the Cheetah, and have collected a large amount of information. I've also been in contact with the owner of Cheetah number 6 (the Alan Green 'Teardrop 8' in some of the images above), and he is being very helpful. And yes, it is a shame that Bill Thomas didn't manage to create the 100 cars required to qualify it as a 'production' car. Although it still out-performed many of the mid-engined C-Sports/Modified cars that it had to compete against.

    The Super Cheetah did make it as far as a 1965 prototype, but was thought to have been destroyed in the factory fire. But apparently it was only damaged, and did survive ... see below.

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  13. #33
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bry3500 View Post
    Any chance you opening a youtube account with timeline footage of the rebuild John?....Awesome project!!
    I certainly will be posting both images and video of the Cheetah rebuild on my website (as soon as it is redesigned to accomodate the new project). I currently use YouTube to post all my car-related videos.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I certainly will be posting both images and video of the Cheetah rebuild on my website (as soon as it is redesigned to accomodate the new project). I currently use YouTube to post all my car-related videos.
    can you post a link to your YT account and website John? ..thanks
    In the 60s when I was collecting Slot Cars the Cox Cheetah was the bees knees,I I still have a couple of Cheetahs in my collection , 35th and 42nd scale, an all time fav car..hope you bring it across across the Tasman for an airing when it's completed

  15. #35
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    Name:  cheetah1.jpg
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    Here is a continuation Cheetah ran by Robert Boyce of Melrose Park,Illinois

    Robert has modified the engine placement and suspension and how the rear end is mounted in the chassis. His car is very fast, also has 680 hp+ engine with dry sump and disk brakes.
    Last edited by Jerry Entin; 02-12-2012 at 10:30 PM.

  16. #36
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    Name:  cheeah road (600 x 450).jpg
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    Cheetah continuation Roadster of Ron Keck
    This roadster is a copy of the Ralph Salyer Cro-Sal Cheetah roadster. It also has a high horsepower dry sumped Chevy engine. Ron is from Montgomery, Illinois.

  17. #37
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Entin View Post
    Name:  cheetah1.jpg
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    Here is a continuation Cheetah ran by Robert Boyce of Melrose Park,Illinois

    Robert has modified the engine placement and suspension and how the rear end is mounted in the chassis. His car is very fast, also has 700 hp+ engine with dry sump and disk brakes.
    Hi Jerry,

    I originally replied to your post on the "1967 Road America Can-Am" thread in this Forum, but I guess this is a more appropriate thread for discussing the awesome Cheetah. If you have read my posts above, you will see that I'm building a Cheetah here in NZ using some original Cheetah parts brought from the US over 25 years ago, plus a collection of 'period correct' 1963 Corvette parts.

    You can imagine how excited I was to see that you had joined "The Roaring Season", as I have until now never had the chance to communicate with someone who actually raced a Cheetah back in the 60's. I hear that it was a hard car to master? Is that correct? Maybe that's why it "spun out" in the Elvis movie! I believe your old Cheetah, now painted blue, is still owned by the guy in New Jersey.

    We desperately want to make our car totally accurate, so we can race it in classic events. We have most of the parts, but don't have the original Bill Thomas dual air meter injection system, or brakes. My research tells me that all the racing Cheetahs ran 11" Chevrolet drum brakes, but one car (I believe it was the Clarance Dixon Cadillac sponsored car) was converted to run Corvette disc brakes. Do you recall anything about this?

    Any information would be really appreciated, as this is a difficult project to undertake here is NZ where there is little knowledge or information about the Cheetah, and obviously no actual cars to examine. Thank goodness for the internet!

    Regards, John

    PS : I believe this is you at the Stardust International Raceway on October 3rd 1965, where you finished first in a club race (just before the accident at the Times GP at Riverside latter that month)?

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    Last edited by John B; 02-04-2012 at 05:08 AM.

  18. #38
    Can't wait to see it in the metal John. The rear end of the 'super cheetah' looks a lot like the Marcos.

  19. #39
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel watts View Post
    Can't wait to see it in the metal John. The rear end of the 'super cheetah' looks a lot like the Marcos.
    Yes Nigel, the rear end of the proposed Super Cheetah road car certainly does look like the back of the Marcos. Check this out...

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    I certainly prefer the rear end of the original 1963 version.

    PS : Your images from the NZFMR were superb - incredibly clear!
    Last edited by John B; 02-04-2012 at 09:05 AM.

  20. #40
    Semi-Pro Racer John B's Avatar
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    And here's a few more images of the Super Cheetah, as it is currently being advertised for sale on eBay...

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    Last edited by John B; 02-04-2012 at 09:23 AM.

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