Publish date: 2016-06-22 14:06:26
By the time Fred Yeakel acquired this 1964 Cheetah that was built by Bill Thomas, it still had the original chassis and body, it has also been recently restored. Yeakel removed the original body from the Cheetah and replaced it with a body that has an ‘uncertain’ origin which he had to rebuild. 25 years later, the original body is now back where it rightfully belongs and the Cheetah is speeding its way to the Monterey auctions that will be held this August 19 to 20.
The reason Yeakel removed the original body was probably because of the fender flares. Bill Thomas was still designing the car in 1963 and the cars were finished in 1964 but by that time, the race tires had significantly widened that it has extended outside the body of the newly released Cheetah. Alan Green Chevrolet’s racing team from Seattle was one of the top dealers for Cheetah and offered them without the fender flares but in 1965, the conceded and reinstalled the flares for the rest of the Cheetahs.
But Yeakel wanted to race the car. To be precise, he wanted to race it in its original flare-less look. He did not want to cut off the original flares and ruin the body, he preferred to replace it with a flare-less body that he found in Albuquerque that was taken apart. “So we glued it back together and went racing,” he said.
This isn’t really surprising as Thomas really intended the Cheetahs to be race cars. The Cheetahs from Alan Green Chevrolet did not even have any serial number for them to match with and Thomas did not really care with these things. “He was just trying to get cars out the door to go racing,” Yeakel said. This is also evident in how Thomas barely keep any documents that would’ve helped in knowing how many Cheetahs were built. it is believed that there are 11 Cheetahs but it is probably just the number of completed Cheetahs and not the ones that were sold as incomplete body and chassis kits.
3 Cheetahs were sold by Alan Green Chevrolet and 2 of these were intended for the track. Unfortunately, the first Cheetah crashed on its first Daytona race. This Cheetah, that was purchased a month later was the 2nd racer and immediately heeded for its first race in the Phoenix International Raceway. In just a year, Yeakel says that this car has finished 60 race events in total. The tragic part is that the 3rd Cheetah that was intended for street use was wrecked in a drag race accident which means that this is the last remaining Alan Green Chevrolet Cheetah.
This Cheetah had a 327 cubic inch small block Chevrolet V8 engine that is fed by a fuel injection system modified by Thomas. The regular Rochester fuel-injection system had a single air meter on its side, Thomas added another air meter one, calibrated and mounted it on the top of the system.
The Alan Green racing team with Larry Webb later installed the scoops on the top of each door for better cooling and also installed the fender flares. In May of 1966, the car was sold and had numerous owners that still used it in the track and competed in the SCCA racing up to 1970. Several years later, it was acquired by Rob Pinkham from Lake Tahoe, California. Pinkham started to restore the Cheetah for street use, a project that lasted for 10 years.
For it to be street legal, it needed a serial number but Thomas was not cooperative to give Pinkham a serial number. Yeakel said that Pinkham had no choice but to create his own serial number which was BTC003. Pinkham based this to the fact that the body of the first two cars were made in aluminum and assumed that this is the first one with the fiberglass body making it the 3rd Cheetah.
Yeakel spent a lot of years racing the Cheetah which probably earned him the FIA Historic Technical Passport for this car. His doctor advised him to stop racing the Cheetah, so he decided to return the original flared body. “I’ve had it 27 years, so it’s not like I didn’t have my fun with it,” he said.
Currently, is has a 0.60 inch overbored 327 cubic inch engine that is dated to be in the mid-60s, it is matched with a dual air meter fuel-injection unit. Both of them were mounted by Pinkham in the 80s. “It works fine on the street,” Yeakel said.
This last remaining Alan Green Chevrolet 1964 Cheetah will hit the block at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction which will be held in August 19 at Carmel, California. There are no estimated value for this car but expect that it won’t be cheap.
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