Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016 Congratulations came from Don Edmunds July 6th 2016 8:30 am for BTM participation in being the first to present the Finest restored Genuine Bill Thomas Cheetah at this event. Don was hired to help Bill Thomas design and build the 2 Alloy prototype Cheetah Coupes and design he did, He drew up the wild first drawings that would wind up becoming the Cheetah Coupe design. Don was also in charge of the chassis and unique suspension design with Bill input all the way through. The funny thing was Bill wanted the engine in the back, Don wanted it up front, GM said (no) to rear engine design in Cheetah period they told Bill. So Bill & Don decided to put it mid ship now its history. He then built the wooden buck over the new chassis that produced 2 Alloy bodies for car #001 & car #002. Bill Thomas & Don Edmunds worked great together to produce one of (America’s) Coolest true Sports Car. After #001 & #002 were completed Don did work part time helping finish up #003, #004, #005 that went to Daytona Feb 1964. He was there with Jerry Grant watching him hit speeds he never seen before in Sports Car Racing. He told Grant how fast he was running 214, 215, 217, 218 MPH. The next thing he knew Grant went of the track and damaged the Yellow #17 Alan Green Chevrolet Cheetah. Don explained he just did not want anyone to get hurt in one of these Cheetahs Its just out right blistering fast even for Don Edmunds who is not easily intimidated by speed. Of coarse we all need to know Don was Rookie of the year at Indy 500 in 1957. Don Edmunds is also known World wide for his Racing Sprint Cars his company built. I want to thank Don for the help he gave me back in 1992 & 93 with Chassis drawings and body drawings, Plus he gave me copies of the entire drive line layout he was to use to build the 1st chassis. Engine trans rear end tires & wheels Etc,. and all there sizes. Very cool stuff. Don has been a good friend since the 1st meeting with him in 1992. I respect Don very much for all his Racing efforts and helping Bill give us what we call today the Bill Thomas Cheetah. Don deserves great Credit today for his behind the scenes work and monumental task Bill gave him in helping create Cheetah. What A Great Time It Was in Automotive Racing History.
We are very proud to have been invited to the June 23rd thru 26th 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed event in the UK. This event is the most spectacular Race Car event in the World. To be able to have a limited number of some of the finest race cars & race drivers is a sight to see in person. Let alone all the top auto manufactures set up on the opposite side of the Hill Climb. I think every real automotive enthusiast should see this event once in there life time, there is nothing to compare it to in America. To be able to put together such event with nearly 300,000 attending from all over the World is a monumental achievement. Lord March is the man behind this spectacular event and it is no less than Brilliant.
For the Genuine Bill Thomas Cheetah known as the 1964 Clarence Dixon Cadillac Race Car there is no higher platform to achieve, It has made Cheetah history by being the first Cheetah ever to participate at the Festival of Speed 2016. I had the pleasure of staging & driving up the hill climb 5 times and in my career it tops anything I have done to date. Cheetah ran perfectly and for the 427 L88 spec engine it really came to life off the start line and up the hill. What a thrill to drive Bill’s most famous advanced Cheetah ever built, even in the rain with no wipers I stayed on the track with a set of Museum Firestone Indy tires. Yes ice skates is more like it. But the challenge was to great to let it pass by. A 90″ wheel base 2200 Lb 650HP Cheetah in the rain up hill. Incredible to say the least.
From the first word of a possible invite to Goodwood last Sept 2015 to the final early Feb confirmation I knew game was on and Clarence Dixon Cheetah #33 had to make its appointment with the hill. Now its history.
View short story “This Cheetah Is A Full-Size Slot Car” on Goodwood website: