AJ's Car of the Day: 1964 The Bill Thomas "Cheetah"

Car: The Bill Thomas "Cheetah"

Year: 1964

What makes it special: The Bill Thomas Cheetah was meant to be the "Ford Cobra-killer," designed to outperform its Aluminum bodied, Carroll Shelby built competition. It was Corvette powered, with a custom-designed chassis and suspension. There has never been another car like it.

What made it famous: The acceleration of its 377ci V8 engine, combined with a total weight of 1700 pounds, the car was lightning quick. Unfortunately, the Cheetah never made production. A fire in the shop stopped production somewhere around the 16th car, only 11 cars were fully completed. ( Of the 100 total that were to be produced.)

 Why I would want one: These are extremely rare sports cars, plus straightaway power was never an issue for this car. Its massive horsepower to weight ratio promoted its notorious reputation. ( It had a "rep"...I LIKE that! )

Fun fact:  In order to get the engine (and weight) as far back as possible, Cheetah's designers decided to do away with the driveshaft.  On the Cheetah, the universal joint on the frame-mounted rear is coupled directly to the transmission output shaft joint.

( 1965 Bill Thomas Cheetah photo from autoblog.com )