Cheetah, the Bill Thomas dream!

Anaheim, Ca. 1965: The SEMA Show: Only 21 of these beautiful Cheetahs were produced by the factory Bill Thomas created. This was the most ‘streetable’ of the group and was on display at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show at the Anaheim Convention Center next to Disneyland! (Photo by Mike Jones)

Milan, Mich. More Cheetahs found their way to the drag strips than the SCCA races they were designed for. Here the Super Cheetah B/A makes a run with ‘injected big block’ power!

As last month’s column ended, Mike Jones, GM of OCIR, had just recommended that I talk with Bill Thomas, concerning the position he had vacated there to manage OCIR. Taking Mike’s advice was certainly correct.

WOW, what a deal! Bill was an amazing person. He made me his PR chief and in charge of their huge Chevrolet Performance Parts Dept. It was truly wine & roses until General Motors put a lid on performance in 1970, to concentrate on small cars and economy.

The Bill Thomas Company… Sadly Bill passed away recently (Oct. 2009) just prior to my starting this series. His personal touch, recounting the racing lore of the '60s and how much he meant to drag racing of that era, albeit behind the scenes, would have been invaluable!