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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 11-14-2008, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr bruce View Post
JohnnyMac, wait 'till you cats see the latest car, all aluminum Rodek Big Block Chevy, measly 747 cubic inches. I'm looking to book BeaveRun in the early spring fer sum track testing, you Jersey Pisscutters want in on sum cheep track time ,get in touch with me.
McBruce,

I haven't a clue on what our schedule is next year or when I will be ready. Need to put the 95R in the race shop for some suspension mods in the near future. I'd love to run Beaverun again, fun little track.

Get 'Werks to help you out with the vid. Looking forward to seeing that monster moder in that Gerbal car. Gonna squeal like a pig!
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr bruce View Post
I have video of my cars at BeaveRun, but have no idea how to put them on the internet.
Bruce,
The first step is to get your video into your computer. I have a digital video camera with a cable that allows me to connect it to my computer. Software that came with the camera allows me to download the video into my computer. My computer also has video editing software that allows me to do things like add a sound track or take the best three minutes out of a 45 minute long segment. The next step is to go to a free video site like youtube.com and establish a free account. After you do that, it will show you how to upload any videos on your computer.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:29 AM
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Bill Thomas had one goal in mind when he designed and produced the Cheetah: beat the Ford Cobra. With Chevrolet backing the company, 25 fine examples were produced until sadly, the factory burnt down. After the blaze, Chevrolet pulled out of the project.
The power to weight ratio of this beast was phenomenal as the car was small and lightweight (Almost 500lbs lighter than the cobra!). The V8 was pushed back as far as possible leaving the engine almost in the center of the car. Some examples were tuned as high as 520HP.
http://www.myclassiccar.com/MCCTV/20.../cheetah.shtml
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Last edited by CobraDan; 11-14-2008 at 06:33 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:43 AM
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The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction
Friday, August 13, 2004 - Saturday, August 14, 2004

1965 Cheetah Sports Racing Car
LOT: 266

Estimate:
$120,000-$160,000 US
Chassis No. 16
Offered Without Reserve
AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $82,500





The Ex-1985 Monterey Historics Races Cheetah
400bhp (est.) at 6,500rpm 327 cu. in. type Chevrolet V8 with Holley four-barrel carburetion, Corvette “Muncie”- type four-speed with full synchromesh shifting, Chevrolet Corvette rear end with LSD, Triumph Spitfire-type rack & pinion steering, front suspension by unequal length upper and lower arms with coilover shock absorbers, adjustable anti-sway bar, Corvette style rear suspension with drive shaft as upper transverse link, two “hair-pin” type trailing arms fore and aft location, coil-over shocks and 1965 Corvette four-wheel disc brakes. Weight: 1,510 lbs. Wheelbase: 90"


Back when Carroll Shelby’s Anglo-American Cobras first made their appearance on the racing scene, they pretty much rained on the Corvette parade. Racing classes that had been the exclusive domain of Zora Duntov’s pride and joy were suddenly lost to the new, aluminum skinned interlopers. At first, the engineers who worked for the “General” seemed to have an answer – the Grand Sport Corvettes which they had been racing while on “vacation”. Unfortunately for the Corvette fans, even this clandestine semi-official factory sponsorship was too much for the corporate top brass who had ordered compliance with the 1957 Automobile Manufacturer’s Association ban on factory racing be followed to the letter. Things looked gloomy indeed as Shelby’s Cobras took victory after victory.

If the factory was not going to act, then somebody had to act for it. That person was Californian Bill Thomas, a successful Corvette racer whose two-seat plastic fantastics had once won all but two of the 56 races he entered in one season. With racing credentials of that magnitude and an inside connection with Ed Cole, then Chevrolet’s top man, Thomas seemed just the man to pull the fangs of Shelby’s snakes. Thomas and engineer Don Edmonds set out to design and build what would become known as the Cheetah. Built over a tubular semi-space frame they featured a frontengine, rear-drive layout, but the Cheetah had a midengined car’s weight distribution, thanks to the rear positioning of the small-block engine in the frame.

Speaking of the powertrain, Thomas left nothing to chance. He put his tried-and-true 327 mill on a bodybuilding course and pumped it up to 377 cubic inches in one of the early cars. Topped with a Rochester fuel-injection unit and connected to calfroasting, side-mounted exhaust pipes, running from tubular headers, the high-winding engines cranked out upwards of 500hp at 7000rpm. Those impressive numbers were further magnified by the total 1510 pound curb weight of Thomas’ svelte felines. With a power-to-weight ratio of less than three pounds for every pony (2.9 to be exact), driving one of his creations must have been like putting a saddle on the back of one of the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. That is probably a more than apt analogy as the car’s interior was just about as well appointed as the booster. One would be hard-pressed to find a single scrap of superfluous upholstery in the cramped allaluminum “cockpit”. Side glass was also deleted from the flimsy fiberglass body panels. (Although the first two came with aluminum skins.)

Suspension on Thomas’ land rockets consisted of a Corvette modified IRS out the back and fabricated A-frames with coilovers up front. They are not sophisticated by today’s race car standards, but in their day they were good enough to pull almost 1.2g’s on a GM skidpad. This kind of performance far outclassed that of both Corvettes and Cobras.

Therein lay the irony of the Cheetah’s racing record. Thomas had set out to build a Cobra killer, but his creations so outgunned their intended target that they were never allowed to race in the same class. Instead of trashing Shelby’s finest, Cheetah’s drivers were pitted against rear-engined cars racing in the prototype classes. (Editors note: The real reason Cheetahs were not allowed to race against “production” cars like the Cobra was not superiority, but build numbers. In 1963, 100 examples had to be produced in order to homologate a car for SCCA production racing and in the following year, this number was increased to 1,000. With likely less than two dozen Cheetahs constructed, they had to race in the SCCA Modified Class against early Can-Am cars.)

Even so, success was no stranger. Jerry Grant, Bud Clusserath and Ralph Sayler all raced their Cheetahs effectively. Sayler, for example, was once clocked on the high banks of the Daytona oval at a blistering 215mph. Unfortunately the car’s body began to disintegrate due to the speed achieved. Sayler also won the runoffs at Elkhart Lake two years in a row (1964 and 1965) reaching an incredible top speed on that course of 185mph! Drag racers fell in love with the Cheetah’s ability to negotiate the quarter mile in 10 seconds at over 135mph.

Blisteringly fast and race-car uncivilized (the temperature in a Cheetah’s footwells – close as they were to the headers – was said to be hotter than Duntov’s passion for fast cars) Bill Thomas’ little kitties never got past the developmental stage. A line of tamer street Super Cheetahs was planned, but a fire at the production facility abruptly ended that project. Since no one at Chevrolet was willing to lend a corporate hand, the final opportunity to beat Shelby at his own game was lost, once and for all. As a result, Cheetahs became only a memory with just a few remaining today.

The preceding article was written by automotive historian Dr. John Craft for Chevrolet High Performance Magazine after seeing Albert Way race this Cheetah at the 1987 Grand Bahamas Vintage Races.

This Cheetah’s known history begins in 1984 when Colorado resident and vintage racer George Raterink found and purchased it. “I bought it from a kid, it was a monster street-machine painted a bright blue and it had a Chevy Big-Block motor and huge rear tires that stuck out beyond the rear fenders”, recalls Raterink. Our best assumption is that it was built in the late 1960s as a road or drag Cheetah, perhaps based on one of the unfinished chassis sold off after the Bill Thomas fire. Certainly the general appearance of the chassis and suspension looks like the 1964 Sports Car Graphic magazine cut-away drawing and the 1965 Corvette disc brakes, not found on the early cars, further support this theory.

Cheetah history is notoriously sketchy with every author offering different and often contradictory opinions about what actually transpired in the 1964/65 period. Take build numbers for instance. Perhaps the most scholarly Cheetah history, written by Anthony Young for Automobile Quarterly’s volume 19, no. 3 issue, claims that “only 27 Cheetahs were built before the September, 1965 fire that broke out in Thomas’ shop”. Dr. John Craft says, “between 17 and 22, depending on your source”, but the Cheetah website lists only 16 cars including “the never completed chassis numbers 11, 12, 13 and 14.”

Contributing to the confusion, or perhaps the main reason for it, was the fact that Thomas, a brilliant engineer, did not sweat the front office details – apparently none of his cars had ID numbers or any sort of chassis data tag! Most of the conjectured build chronology is therefore derived from period race results which are somewhat datable. Despite all the race publicity generated by these early Cheetahs, only five different cars feature in contemporary race records – those of Jerry Grant, Bud Clusserath, Jerry Titus, Allen Grant and Ralph Salyer. The rest of the small production was sold for street or
drag racing use.

It seems that if you laid eyes on a Cheetah you were smitten by its mad and mod bob-tailed charisma and you had to have one. A member of the Mama & Papas bought one and Alan Grant’s wife as well; she immediately drove hers to the nearest drag strip.

In its day and even more so today, Cheetahs have assumed an astonishing cult status which far surpasses any significance of their short racing history or even their state of mechanical sophistication, especially in view of the fact that they were mostly assembled with common parts from a Chevrolet parts bin.

Cult cars generate great stories, and lots of them, but our favorite is this gem, “Cheetahs are the only cars ever to blow the doors off Big Block Cobras – and their own too!” Both Grant and Clusserath discovered that once you get a Cheetah up to about 180 mph the doors literally “blow off” and sail off into the landscape!

After taking delivery of his street Cheetah, George Raterink decided to convert it into a proper vintage racer. Accordingly the Big Block motor was yanked and 327 mill installed along with correct 7 x 15 inch American Racing Mags and driver safety equipment – the final touch being a classic Cheetah red-withwhite- stripes paint job. After that George, according to the log book which accompanies this sale, competed in five vintages races including the Monterey Historics on August 22, 1985.

In the fall of 1985, he sold this Cheetah to New Jersey Cheetah enthusiast, Albert Way, who already owned one of the early alloy-bodied cars. A well-known historic driver, Al Way raced no.16 a further 10 times in the 1985 to 1987 period including Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Watkins Glen, Lime Rock Park, Summit Point and at the Freeport Grand Bahamas Vintage Grand Prix.
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Dan Wulff

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
(No doubt, most will blame it on the donuts.)
You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me
Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 11-14-2008, 06:53 AM
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Hey Brett, How about a Cheetah section here on club Cobra.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:22 AM
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Here is Wayne and Mary Ann's Cheetah from last weekend at the Reptile Roundup.

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Old 11-14-2008, 08:09 AM
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I had read that they needed to built 100 units to homologate it for racing., The actual number built was approx. 27 and the first 2 were all aluminum bodies, the rest were 'glass.

They were also in the process of designing a street version called 'The Super Cheetah'. But once the homolgation rules changes from 100 units to 1000, Chevy was not willing to back the project anymore and the Cheetah died. The Super Cheetah was lost in the shop fire. Sad.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:17 AM
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Wayne Pontes Cheetah is #26 of 100 only continuation Cheetah's being built by Bill Thomas, and unlike the Cheetah's of the Cobra age they were all race cars only, Wayne has made his Cheetah for the street with lights and a full interior plus instead of a 327 he choose a 350 fuel injected Chevy engine.
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Dan Wulff

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
(No doubt, most will blame it on the donuts.)
You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me
Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:54 PM
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Hey Mikey P.,
Thanks for posting the pic.
Hey Dan,
Great write up,see you on the 7th,we'll be driving the Cheetah down to Sun Splash, (if it's not sold )just a short 60 mile trip,one way!!
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Last edited by Tangible Toys; 11-14-2008 at 07:05 PM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:39 PM
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So, who makes the most authentic Cheetah replica on the market today?
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:10 AM
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From what I have seen it would be BTM. I met Robert Auxier at Barrett Jackson in 2005 when he was still building the cars out of a shop behind his residential house. The cars looked amazing and very period correct with updated chassis materials.

At the time he told me I could buy one for $40K without an engine... I should have done it... I just visited tangiletoys.com and they are $59,500... But dropping a small block chevy in one of those would be a lot cheaper than the 482 SO I have planned for the Kirkham.

Mr. Bruce and Wayne could answer this...what does it take to make one steet legal, especially in California? That was one thing that caused me not to get one, I didn't feel like I could ever get it registered for the street.

If GM ever really followed through with some of these ideas and projects and didn't cave to the insurance companies back in '63 a lot of racing history would probably have been different.

Last edited by KM480; 11-15-2008 at 03:17 AM..
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:34 AM
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Wayne
The show on December 7th will be one of the larger shows in our area but has never been at Cape Corals water park Sun Splash before. One week before the show I will email the Deeper South Cobra Club and you so we can all meet at Santa Barbara and Hancock Bridge less than a mile from the show so we can enter as a group.
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Dan Wulff

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
(No doubt, most will blame it on the donuts.)
You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me
Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:27 AM
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KM 480, my cars will pass Pennsylvania state safety inspection, and I will guarantee is is tougher than California requirements, or any other state in the Union for that matter. Cars that go to Calif, go with out engines , and you must use SB100. My cars have safety glass windshields, DOT door latches, DOT lites, parking brakes, etc.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:35 AM
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KM480 our Cheetah rolling chassis price has been reduced, we are having our website updated and the price has not been changed yet, if you want more information please go to our contact page and send us an e-mail. We get our Continuation Cheetahs titled thru International Title Service, I do know that there has been 1 titled out near you, not sure which state. I can look into that for you. The Cheetah Car is considered a replica, being built as it was in 1965, like the BDR's we build, there are some states we have problems with because of lack of emissions control, air bag, door impact side bars, it must titled as a replica. Here in FL., we have vintage race cars titled and taged driving on the street with lexan windows, no doors or signals.
Our cheetahs have corvette tail lights, headlights, LED turn signals, all are DOT, the door latches are the originals, and can be used because we sit in the capsule of the cage and the latch does not come in to play with safety.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:43 AM
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Just like the cobra, with today's technology and superior parts, the cheetah replica's too can be made a more refined user friendly car. Powertrain, suspension and interior comfort, improvements from the 1960's could make the cheetah another nice replica alternative for us "motorheads".
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