Hagerty.com

Driving a Bill Thomas Cheetah will make your palms sweat


#1

Fred Yeakel wasn’t looking to sell his Ferrari 250 Lusso in 1989. “I would get offers all the time and just say no,” the 77-year-old Yeakel says. “But this one guy wouldn’t go away. After a few months of calls I told him I’d trade it for a Cheetah just to get rid of him.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/08/29/driving-a-bill-thomas-cheetah-will-make-your-palms-sweat

#2

Always wanted to drive one of these hand granades back in the day. My 64 season was done in a vette but luved the style and bare bones of the Cheetah they were one the neatest race cars I ever saw back then.


#3

Probably wanted one of these also but my daily driver through college in the late '60’s and early '70’s was an Austin Healey 100-6 with a similar but lesser displacement engine(292 cu. in.). Even had the Rochester FI. So I was carrying an extra 3-400 pounds with maybe 2/3 the HP but it was still a beast. Could chase down any motorcycle of the day at a stop light. Got a little drunk one night with a recent grad friend in Morro Bay about his 440 Road Runner vs the Healey. Had to find out on Hwy 1 back toward San Luis Obispo. Raced him standing start, rolling start and top end(about 135-140 MPH at 7000 RPM in 4th). Healey won all three. No one died.


#4

There is an aftermarket company that actually sells these little beasts as clones. A friend of mine builds Shelby Cobra clones and built one of these. Took a looong time to sell it!


#5

One correction, It was Jerry Grant that drove the Allen Green Chevrolet owned Bill Thomas Cheetah at Daytona in February 1964. Allen Grant drove the Allen Green Chevrolet Cheetah for the second half of the 1964 season before moving on to become a Shelby American team driver.


#6

@fyeakel - Thanks for the note. We are updating the story.


#7

Kyle

		December 6

@fyeakel - Thanks for the note. We are updating the story.