Valves From the Unknown: Cheetah Coupé (1961)
The Cheetah had a tubular spaceframe chassis and powered by a Corvette V8 small-block engine bored out to over 6 liters. Thomas [the creator], was restricted to only Corvette parts, so all components were stock or modified Corvette materials.
The Cheetah had a tuned-version of the Rochester fuel-injection system which helped produce over 475 horsepower. The positioning of the engine was done to improve performance; it sat very far back in the engine bay resulting in the driver compartment moving rearward. The engine was mated to a Borg Warner T-10 four-speed gearbox and sent the power to the rear wheels. The rear wheels were a mere inches behind the driver.
Corvette drum brakes were placed on all four corners which would prove to be unworthy to handle the massive amounts of power produced from the engine. The entire package was clothed in a lightweight aluminum hand-formed coupe body featuring exotic gullwing doors.
Theory never guarantees success. After much planning, building, tuning, and modifying, the Cheetah was brought to the track. Its performance was less than adequate and disappointing. Teething problems are to be expected from any new race car, but some are just too difficult to overcome.
The doors blew off the vehicle while at speed, its brakes were inadequate, and the cockpit had poor ventilation making it unbearably hot for the driver. The heat problem was solved for at least on car whose top was cut off. The first year proved to be a valuable learning experience.