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

Cheetah Partners & Products

Transmission & Drivetrain

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


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


Quick Ratio Power Rack

Independent Rear Suspension

Front & rear shocks


Gearz & Cheetah seat/dash logos
American classic 6pc gauge
Seat & dash upholstery
Tiny Gen II Mini AC

Tilt Column Brushed

Autodrome 70 Steering Wheel


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

Quick Clips

Custom fiberglass Cheetah body

Tires, Wheels & Brakes

Sportsman S/R 26x10R18, 28x12R18
Igniter Wheel 18x9 Front, 18x11 Rear
  • Front brakes, 3 pedal assembly
  • Corvette 4-piston rear brakes
  • Electronic e-brake


Fabrication and Axalta Blue Moon CFX Paint


Upper Control Arms

From the Store

Cheetah Episodes

  • Cheetah Big Booty and Suspension Upgrades

    This time on GEARZ, the Cheetah is back in the shop after a trip to Cheetah Evolution for some major frame modifications to make this 630HP cat plant its booty firmly to the ground.

    June 21, 2023
  • The Cheetah is back from paint! It’s not an illusion… you don’t need to adjust your television set the fastest cat on the planet is back!

  • Cheetah Bodywork, Latches & Custom Exhaust

    The son of legendary car builder, Bill Thomas, talks shop about wrenching, racing and his father’s Cobra Killer…the Cheetah.
    March 26, 2016
  • Evolution of the World's Fastest Cat

    Stacey tells the story of the legendary Cheetah and how that car was designed to beat Shelby’s famed Cobra.
    April 17, 2015