Cheetah

1964 Cheetah

In 1964 Carroll Shelby was pretty much stomping everybody on the race track with his brutal Cobras. The Corvettes had not only fallen prey to the Ford powered roadsters, but even Zora Duntov’s Grand Sport program had been cancelled because of the racing ban that GM had. So in a desperate attempt to beat the Cobra’s, GM honcho Vince Piggins met with sports car racer and builder Bill Thomas, and told him Chevy would supply engines and parts if Thomas would build a car that could beat the Cobras. So Bill Thomas hooked up with his lead fabricator Don Edmonds, and they drew up a wild, mid-engine gull-wing door coupe and called it the Cheetah. Since only a handful of Cheetahs were built, you would think it would have disappeared into the fog of the past.

But the Cheetah was so unique, so wild, and so stinkin’ fast, that the legend has just continued to grow over the years… and I, like many other gearheads, have always wanted to build one. But instead of just building a replica of the 60’s race car, with all the inherent problems that the original Cheetah had, I have always wanted to do a modern, street legal version of this wild sports car. Fortunately, with the introduction of the Cheetah Evolution cars, it is now possible for ANYBODY to build one of these wild machines in their own garage. The GEARZ Cheetah Project is designed to show what’s involved in building one of these cars, and also showcase some of the cool things that can be done to it.

Original Manufacturer Specifications

  • 1963-1966

    Designed, engineered & built by Chevrolet Performance Tuner Bill Thomas, developed as a competitor to Carrol Shelby’s Cobra

  • Production Models

    Used fiberglass bodies & chrome moly steel space frame

  • 1964

    Race car rules changed and Chevy advised Thomas they would no longer support the Cheetah project

  • 23 cars

    were built to varying degrees of completion & configuration

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Cheetah Partners & Products

Transmission & Drivetrain

Hydramax clutch kit, White lightning gearbox, 6spd Tremec magnum transmission, Quicktime steel bellhousing

Engine

Stainless Steel Engine Hardware, Engine Bolt Kit
Max Flow Filter
Exhaust insert/baffles
LSX 454 Crate Engine
LS EFI, 4" Ram Tubes, Gravel Guard Filter, Pre-Filter
Oil Pan, Universal In-Tank Fuel Pump
LS Swap mount plates
Heat coating (bronze) for headers & side pipes, Bronze Ceramic
Style track serpentine kit
Wiring Harness
Polished stainless chevy motor mounts
Custom headers & side pipes
Headers & Flange

Chassis

C4 Corvette rear suspension
Front & rear shocks

Interior

Gearz & Cheetah seat/dash logos
American classic 6pc gauge
Steering column, rack & pinion
Seat & dash upholstery
Kirkey Racing Fabrication
Tiny Gen II Mini AC

Body

Fiberglass Body, Tube Frame
Corvette taillight assembly
Stainless screws for body panel
Cheetah Evolution car

Tires, Wheels & Brakes

Sportsman S/R 26x10R18, 28x12R18
Igniter Wheel 18x9 Front, 18x11 Rear
Rear brake calipers
Front brakes, 3 pedal assembly

Project Episodes

  • Recaps & Catchups

  • Cheetah Paint & Body

  • Cheetah Bodywork, Latches & Custom Exhaust

  • Cheetah Paws

  • The Cheetah Gets Her Growl

  • Evolution of the World's Fastest Cat

  • Puttin' the Heart in the Cat