Keep the Iconic Cheetah Muscle Car Alive by Buying the Company That Builds It
All the molds, tooling, fixtures, and more required to build the Cheetah are for sale—now’s the time to save it.
If you've ever dreamed of owning a car company, now is your chance to step up and make it a reality. The small-scale coachbuilder responsible for producing the long-running but little-known Cheetah muscle car is up for sale, meaning it could be up to you to save the rascally V8 bruiser’s future. Ruth Engineering and Ruth Restorations, the companies behind Cheetah Evolution, are getting out of the custom car business and are including all the necessary resources—sans a shop —in their sale of the company.
The Cheetah has a storied history as the car has been made by a few different groups over the years and was used extensively for racing in the 1960s. It can all be traced back to Bill Thomas, who aimed to take down Carroll Shelby’s Cobra some 50-plus years ago at tracks across America. This meant building a car that was lightweight and had big time power, typically from a Corvette V8. The result was a squirrelly machine that had its flaws, sure, but was extremely quick on any given day that the driver could muscle his will into existence.
At one point, there were multiple disputes over the Cheetah name and trademark, though that all seems to have been resolved. Ruth Engineering and Ruth Restorations picked up making updated versions of the car in 2005, with their RER Cheetah Evolution.
Craig Ruth, the man behind Ruth Engineering, says it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. In a message to The Drive, Ruth explained that the sale will include all of the molds, tooling, fixtures, parts, supplier relationships, social media accounts, and the domain name. He says his current inventory includes enough raw steel to make two frames, but the new owner will need to source fiberglass to make the cars' bodies after the sale.
The price for all of this? $200,000. Theoretically, that could be recouped after selling a handful of custom Cheetahs, though it's all up to how the business is managed. You'll also have to travel to Ohio if you want to pick up all the parts yourself.
In a Facebook post, Ruth rejects commenters’ calls to reach out to celebrities like Richard Rawlings to buy the shop, saying “I don’t chase anyone,” and adding that the tooling can “sit and rot” if it doesn’t sell.
Making the car could be an absolute playground for the right buyer. Shops like Factory Five have been successful making kit cars and building one-off customs for its customers, so with some motivation and business sense, it stands to reason that the Cheetah Evolution could be every bit as popular. No matter how illogical it might seem to buy a tiny, bespoke car-making operation, somebody should step up to keep the Cheetah alive—Bill Thomas would be proud.
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