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						Elegant Motors Cheetah1
Big-Block Powered Elegant Motors Cheetah

Barn-find Elegant Motors Inc. Cheetah

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

We’re always baffled at the wide diversity of kit cars to come out of the 1970s and ’80s, and I’ll admit to being a bit clueless on this interesting Cheetah replica when it first surfaced on Craigslist. That was quite a few weeks ago, and the information and photos in the listing were initially slim. Now however, the seller has been able to dig up some more information on the car, revealing that it’s actually a barn-find cat from the early 1990s, built by Elegant Motors Inc.

There’s very little information out there on the Elegant Motors Cheetah, suggesting that they didn’t build very many. Period literature indicates that Elegant offered the car in at least five configurations under the model names Matchless and Lightning, with convertible and hardtop offerings designed for Chevrolet 327 and 427 engines. Of course that could have just been a marketing effort piggybacking off some of Chevrolet’s hottest V8s, but we do know that Elegant offered kits that fit on stock Corvette chassis, or a propriety tube chassis for an additional fee. From a period article in Petersen’s Kit Car Magazine, we can tell Elegant’s operations were in full swing by 1993, and their facility was located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

From Indiana it’s only a two state jump to land near St. Louis, Missouri, where this very well preserved Elegant Motors Cheetah is located today. The car appears to be somewhat of a barn find from a few of the photos, which indicate it was covered up in the corner of a garage on dollies for some time. Beyond that, it seems like the car was never driven much to begin with, as just 14 miles are shown on the odometer. Of course the car could have been driven some without the odometer hooked up during the build, but who’s to say.

What we can say is that the car appears to be a really nice example that’s exceptionally clean inside and out. It looks to be based on a Corvette chassis (likely C3) with a really clean 454 big-block installed, and the seller claims the car runs and drives and the engine sounds strong. The interior looks to be clean, and more complete than most with full carpeting, glass, etc.

While the body shows a number of differences from Bill Thomas’ original Cheetah racer, it looks to be in really good condition with a high degree of finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if this car was a demo for Elegant and some point, as it’s very similar to the press cars used back in the ’90s. If not, it was certainly someone’s prized possession to remain in this condition today.

The seller has priced the car at $64,900, which seems a little lofty. We’ve seen “more correct” Cheetah’s out there for this money within the last few years, but it’s not every day you see any Cheetah on the market. And as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Check out the Elegant Motors Cheetah here on St. Louis Craigslist.

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