My Car Quest

March 3, 2024

Car Of The Day – 1963 Cheetah Race Car

by Mike Gulett –

Bill Thomas created the Cheetah to compete with the Shelby Cobra in 1963 and produced 16 or 17 examples between 1963 and 1965. Thomas had help from Chevrolet in the beginning because they wanted to beat the Ford powered Shelby Cobras at racing. There may only be 11 original Cheetahs left now.

1963 Cheetah Race Car

The engine was pushed so far back in the chassis that the transmission connected directly to the differential without a drive shaft!

This is an extreme example of front mid-engine placement and explains why the rear of the Cheetah is so short – the differential had to touch the transmission. This resulted in nearly an equal front to rear weight distribution similar to a mid-engine car. This also resulted in an uncomfortable driving position because of the engine heat in the cockpit and I suspect the physical position was not comfortable for a long race.

1963 Cheetah Race Car

Mecum Auctions has this one – Cheetah no. 4 of 11 completed by Bill Thomas – up for auction May 14-19 in Indianapolis.

1963 Cheetah Race Car

Mecum writes,

Engine 327 CI
Trans 4-Speed
Color Red
Interior Black

One of the most complete and original Cheetahs known to exist

Unrestored original condition

Cheetah no. 4 of 11 completed by Bill Thomas

Owned new and raced by Bud Clusserath

In 1965 Clusserath sold the car to Sam Goins

Goins maintained ownership of the car for 53 years until it was sold to Steve Juliano in 2018

Featured in Automobile Quarterly in 1981

Fuel-injected 327 CI Corvette engine

M21 4-speed transmission

C2 Corvette rear differential

Chevrolet stock car drum brakes

Letter of Authenticity by Bill Thomas III attesting to the car’s originality

The estimate is $500,000 – $750,000 USD.

1963 Cheetah Race Car

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Thank you for supporting My Car Quest


1963 Cheetah Race Car

All photos compliments of Mecum Auctions.

Car Of The Day - 1963 Cheetah Race Car
Article Name
Car Of The Day - 1963 Cheetah Race Car
This Cheetah is a rare American made race car and is up for auction at Mecum in Indianapolis.


  1. Rob Burdett says

    Amazing cars. I have been racing against one this morning at Donington in the UK. Sadly it crashed although just w bit of fibre glass damage.

  2. Art Salo says

    Wow, wish I had $800,000 of disposable cash.

  3. Not sold at a high bid of $250,000.

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