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						Btm Cheetah14
Two-Pedal BTM Cheetah

Vortec V8-powered BTM Cheetah

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

There’s no mistaking the radical profile of Bill Thomas’ Cheetah roadster, the Chevy-powered anti-Cobra that could have been. Tightening homologation rules and rapidly evolving race car technology of the 1960s spelled the end for the Cheetah before it ever really took off, and by the best estimates, 19 chassis and 33 bodies were constructed, but maybe as few as 10 cars were ever completed. The lost potential means that there are more than a few bow tie fans out there looking for a chance to counter the Cobra as Thomas intended, but decent Cheetah replicas are much more difficult to bag than their Ford counterparts. Boasting a tried-and-true 5.3 Vortec V8, C4 Corvette suspension parts and (interestingly) a Turbo 400 automatic, this BTM LLC Cheetah replica will get you there quick and easy.

Robert Auxier’s BTM LLC has been building Cheetah replicas and conducting restorations on original cars since 1992 in Arizona. The Cheetah featured here on BringaTrailer.com allegedly started out as a bare fiberglass body shell that was purchased from BTM in the early ’90s. The original owner and a friend worked on the car off and on over the years, before the owner sold the car to that friend in 2017 when work resumed. The pair constructed a tubular chassis of DOM mild steel for the car, allegedly based on blueprints from an original Cheetah race car. The chassis utilizes a Corvette C4 rear differential, front spindles and four-wheel disc brakes.

Most of the original Cheetahs were powered by 327 ci Chevrolet small-blocks, but the builder of this car opted for more of a restomod program, and dropped a 5.3-liter Vortec engine under the hood. It’s fit with some minor upgrades, including Holley Sniper fuel rails, GPHeaders exhaust headers and a reprogramed GM ECU, all pretty standard stuff, but that all changes at the bellhousing.

Citing that the footboxes were too narrow for a three-pedal arrangement, the owner of the car finished it with a GM Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission. That’s a beefy transmission and is sure to handle all the abuse the car will receive, but there’s no doubt most Cheetah fans would prefer a manual. That’s always a matter of preference though, and some buyers may enjoy the TH400’s get-in-and-go functionality.

Finished in black over a red chassis and roll cage, this BTM LLC Cheetah has a restomod flavor, capped off by the 16-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels. The skinny rears and auto box may not make the grade on the track, but for a cruiser hobby car, this thing’s hard to beat. Except there’s nowhere to put the groceries…

See it here on BringaTrailer.com.

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