Call it Chester - Cheetah making a comeback

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 before the 100 necessary for homologation were built, putting the first nail in the car's coffin. A shop fire finally killed the Cheetah effort. Before disaster struck, Thomas was able to produce only about 16-23 Cheetahs.

One of those original cars was used to help Arizona's BTM whip up a continuation series, along with the original drawings. Thomas has granted BTM the rights to build a new Cheetah, which differs from the original in details, but retains the spirit. There are some vintage Chevy pieces in the new Cheetahs, but the engine is now a ZZ4 350 with aluminum heads. Not underwhelming by any stretch, and it's only got 1,780 pounds to yank around anyway, so acceleration will be brisk. Before you dream of untwisting your favorite road with this thing, take note that it's not street legal. No matter, it's still cool to see something other than a Cobra. While the Cobra is capable, we've seen so much of them in pictures and replicas that we're desensitized. The Cheetah, on the other hand, would stick out more than a Cobra Daytona, and could offer your trackmates serious hell at a vintage racing event.

[Source: Inside Line]

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