Bill Thomas Cheetah

Ah, the Cheetah – the American sportscar that never was to be. Looking like the voluptuous result of a one-night stand between a Chevrolet Corvette and a Lotus Seven, the Cheetah was conceived as a Chevy-backed answer to the Shelby Cobra. Unfortunately, the factory suffered a devastating fire back in 1965, General Motors pulled its support and the dream faded away.

Fast-forward to 2007 when an outfit in Arizona called BTM got authorization from the Cheetah's original father, Bill Thomas (who passed away the following year), to build a series of "continuation cars." That is, officially sanctioned replicas of a small volume car long since out of production. The faithful were elated, but now it seems the Cheetah has died again as BTM has closed up shop.

According to Hemmings, tooling and licenses are now up for grabs, but an online auction that included everything a new investor would need to begin production anew reportedly failed to attract a single bid after starting at $120,000. Cats may have nine lives, but whether the Cheetah will get a third remains to be seen.

UPDATE: The eBay Motors Cheetah auction has been relisted with a lowered reserve sitting at $100,000 and no bids. Check it out here.