Manufactures have been pumping out cookie-cutter automobiles for years now starting with the Ford Model T which, back in the early 20th century, sold over 16 million examples and, more recently, the Toyota Corolla just hit the 40 million mark. So when we come across a car that’s production number could be counted by a child in the First Grade, our interest was most certainly peaked.
This super-low volume car we are alluding to is the Cheetah—one of 29 custom racecars built by Bill Thomas Race Cars in Anaheim, California, from 1963 to 1966. This Cheetah was originally powered by a 1964 Corvette 327ci fuel-injected engine making 375 horsepower from the factory. Paired with a Muncie M-21, 3.55:1 rear gears, and triple fuel tanks, this custom coupe was built to race. And race it did, spending five years racing in SCCA and FIA events from early 1965 until late 1969.
Over its five-year racing career, the Cheetah saw plenty of modifications aimed at faster lap times such as new engines, changes to the chassis and suspension, and a Muncie M-22 Rock Crusher transmission.
After changing hands a few times, it stayed with its 5th owner from 1973 until the current owner, Robert Auxier, took possession of it in 2014. Robert then proceeded to do a full frame-off restoration of the Cheetah, using as many of the original parts as possible. Since the first engine was long gone, he opted for a rare 1967 Corvette L88 IT Code 427 with only 50 miles on it paired with a ’67 Muncie M-22 four-speed transmission.
After the full restoration, this pristine 1964 Cheetah is ready to find a new home—or museum—and will be rolling across the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2017. Pull out your pocket book and get ready to start bidding, but don’t be surprised if it brings numbers a little higher than you can afford—after all, this no Toyota Corolla.