Cheetah, Keystone-Equipped

Posted May 03, 2017

By Dean Larson

Ok, there’s a lot to take in here. Somehow, in the world’s most incomplete Craigslist ad, there’s a whole treasure trove of good and bad. So lets dissect this Craigs-listing and separate the good from the not so good, starting with exhibit A, the Cheetah.

It’s not everyday that you see one of these cats rolling on iconic Keystone Classic wheels, and while they’re not the most authentic choice, I can’t help but like the look. The seller claims that the Cheetah is actually a Fiberglass Trends Cheetah body on an AC Cobra frame, but before you scoff a second time, lets look at a little Cheetah history. 

Ketstone Cheetah 1

After Bill Thomas decided to abandon skinning his Cheetahs in aluminum, two different companies produced fiberglass test bodies for Thomas’ consideration. Fiberglass Trends was one of these companies, but was ultimately not chosen. They continued producing their Cheetah body anyway, now deemed the G.T.R., with some success. While the G.T.R was designed to fit on most frames, the company offered a tube chassis that was designed for the drag strip, and many of the drag racing Cheetahs you see in vintage photos are actually G.T.R.s. The key difference between the two lies in the A pillar. The G.T.R. has a conventional A-pillar while an authentic Cheetah will have a much thinner, nearly invisible A-pillar.

Ketstone Cheetah 2
Cheetah Road America

Based on this information, we’re not totally offended by the use of the Cobra chassis. It’s probably one of the better options on a budget, but buyers should plan on adding some rollover protection to the chassis. Unfortunately the car is definitely a project and should really be considered body panels on a rolling chassis. It’s clear that the car is missing any and all glass, trim, lighting and interior panels. The body will also require some massaging to get back into the correct shape. There’s a lot of work to do here, but the car does have some serious potential, especially if it could be had for a cheap price.

Ketstone Cheetah 3

If we got our hands on the G.T.R., we’d build it just like Fiberglass Trends did back in the ‘60s with their “Instant Motion” drag car. It looked the part with big slot mag wheels, piecrust slicks out back and orange paint. We’d be happy to have the G.T.R. project, so we’re clearly placing it in the “good” column.

Other things in the “good” column are obviously the blue, VW-based beach cruiser, the hot rod Gremlin and the lifted ’74 El Camino. The rest, we’ll leave up to you, except for the funny car sedan, which appears to haphazardly constructed and overall goofy looking. 

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