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Who doesn't welcome the return of a monstrosity called the Grotti Cheetah? After appearing in Grand Theft Auto III and the two Vice City and Liberty City stories, the vaguely Ferrari Testarossa-esque sports car with the incomparable handling and braking – but a distinct dislike for curbs – disappeared from GTA IV.

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Lamborghini was in the off-road business before the cult classic LM002, cooperating with MTI on a military vehicle concept dubbed Cheetah in the mid-seventies that it hoped to sell to the U.S. armed forces. The 4,500-pound, fiberglass-bodied troop carrier used a 5.9-liter, 180-horsepower Chrysler engine mounted in back. Hardly Cheetah-like, the vehicle delivered lackluster performance and didn't handle well.

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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.

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1965 Bill Thomas Cheetah Continuation - Click above for high-res image gallery

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If Cobras don't do it for you on track days, you can now make the same choice that was available in the '60s. While Caroll Shelby was stuffing FE Fords into mild-mannered AC Aces, Bill Thomas Race Cars was developing a competitor called the Cheetah that could run with the fire breathing Cobras, as well as keep pace with Ferrari's 250. The original cars used a 377 cubic inch V8 to speed their way to 11 SCCA victories in 1964. While Bill Thomas had friends at the General, Chevrolet backed out well

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With China's Geely out of the picture for now, it looks like Chang Feng will be the Chinese representative in Detroit next year. Dow Jones reports that Chang Feng will bring four vehicles to NAIAS 2007. Chang Feng is expected to show up with two Liebao (Chinese for Cheetah) branded pickup trucks and two SUVs. Photos and details are scarce, as you might expect from China. The above photo is Chang Feng's Cheetah concept, unveiled at the 2005 Shanghai Auto Show. Currently, Chang Feng produces licen

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