Rare Cheetah sports car sold for record price

An ultra-rare Cheetah sports car from the 1960s has been sold for a record price.

The red 1963 coupe, believed to be the most original of the handful of surviving cars, went for $718,750 at a Guernsey’s auction event in New York City on Thursday night.

(Guernsey's)

That beat the old mark of $660,000 set earlier this year for the distinctive, long-hooded sports car, which was developed by Bill Thomas as a Chevrolet-powered competitor to Carrol Shelby’s Ford-powered Cobras.

It’s not clear exactly how many Cheetahs were built – estimates run from 11 to 23 – but this fiberglass-bodied one has been certified by Thomas’ grandson as the fourth out of the shop. Production stalled after a rules change essentially eliminated it from the competition class it was originally intended for and General Motors lost interest in supporting the project.

(Guernsey's)

This particular car was raced at Datyona in 1964, and hit 215 mph there. Sam Goins purchased it in 1965 and has owned it ever since.

Goins says it has less than 100 hours of use on it, and that its 327 V8 received new rings and bearings about 30 hours ago. He hasn’t driven it in years, but believes it “runs and drives as it should.”

The identity of its new owner has not been revealed.