BILL THOMAS CHEETAH: TUBE-FRAMED TERROR!

Fully developed, the Cheetah could have been a Cobra & Corvette slayer!
Bill Thomas ran a very successful speed shop in southern California, specializing in dyno tuning, modifying Corvette (Rochester) fuel injection systems, designing his own headers and preparing Corvettes for competition. Thomas also developed and marketed specialty equipment for road racing Corvairs. He was extremely smart and, best of all, had access to the legendary
“back-door” at Chevrolet. Wayne Pontes, above, driving his retro Cheetah, now in Germany.

By 1963, Thomas had built a relationship with GM, working with Vince Piggins, head of the Performance Product Group. That relationship resulted in the flow of high-performance Corvette engines, transmissions, etc for his pet project, the Cheetah. And eventually, leading to a contract to develop a Corvette-powered concept for Piggins.

The Cheetah sports car, with its long hood and extremely short deck was created using a tube chassis and suspension developed by racecar builder and Thomas’ lead fabricator, Don Edmunds. Essentially financed by a local Chevrolet dealer, the prototype ended up in his garage!
Wayne Pontes built his Cheetah, above, at Tangible Toys, Sarasota, FL.

For the full Thomas-Cheetah story, please visit our friends at Wild About Cars, http://wildaboutcarsonline.com/cgi-bin/pub9990327521141.cgi?categoryid=9990327521194&action=viewad&itemid=9990456521462

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