Former GM President John F. Gordon’s 1964 Cheetah #002 prototype surfaces for sale

A 1964 Cheetah prototype once owned by a General Motors president is listed for sale on Hemmings.

The Cheetah was created by Bill Thomas, who, after success tuning and racing Corvettes, sought to build a Chevrolet-powered rival to the Shelby Cobra. But instead of using an existing chassis, as Shelby did with the AC Ace, Thomas designed the Cheetah from scratch with clandestine help from Chevy, which was not officially participating in racing at the time.

The engine and transmission are mounted so far back in the tube-frame chassis (for better weight distribution) that the Cheetah doesn’t have a conventional driveshaft. The driver practically sits over the rear wheels in a cramped enclosed cockpit. The car also sports a very short 90.0-inch wheelbase, and a low curb weight of just 1,750 pounds.

1964 Cheetah prototype (photo via Hemmings.com)

Thomas hoped to build 100 Cheetahs to meet racing homologation requirements, but the bar for homologation was later raised to 1,000 production cars—far out of reach for Thomas’ small operation. Just 16 Cheetahs were ultimately built, and 11 are said to survive today, according to Hemmings.

Among them is the car currently up for sale. Wearing serial number 126364002, it’s the second prototype Cheetah, and was ordered by GM for development work, according to Hemmings. It was tested by Chevy between December 1963 and April 1964, with John F. Gordon, president of GM at the time, listed as the owner at one point.

1964 Cheetah prototype (photo via Hemmings.com)

This prototype differs from production Cheetahs in having aluminum bodywork instead of fiberglass. It’s powered by a 327-cubic-inch V-8 sourced from a 1963 Corvette with rare Rochester mechanical fuel injection. It’s good for 360 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission.

The Cheetah and its creator aren’t as well known today as the Cobra and its creator Carroll Shelby, but a $2 million asking price puts this Cheetah prototype in the same territory as current Cobra transaction prices.