Cheetah Racing Cars (Australia)

Trevor Longmore's unmodified Mk6 at Canberra in 2002.  Copyright Mick O'Brien 2006.  Used with permission.Trevor Longmore’s unmodified Mk6 at Canberra in 2002. Copyright Mick O’Brien 2006. Used with permission.

Cheetah Racing Cars were designed and constructed by Brian Shead in a small factory at the rear of his home in Mordialloc, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. There were never any employees other than Brian – his was a one-man racing car factory.

The first car was built for his own use in 1960 and two more were constructed in 1962 and 1963. In 1970 he began building a new design and was persuaded to build a second car for a friend and in 1973 he gave up his job to build racing cars full time.

From 1960 to 1989, Brian built a total of 49 cars from the original “Cooper copy” Mk1 to the “Formula Holden” Mk9. He competed in his cars, racing the first of each model up to the Mk7 in 1980, when he retired from racing to concentrate on customer support and manufacturing. From May 1970 to February 1980, Brian raced at 293 events for 112 wins, 228 podium places, 85 fastest laps and 30 lap records – an outstanding competition record.

He is still actively involved in motor sport today, being a long standing member of the CAMS National Track Safety Committee, as well as supplying parts and advice to Cheetah owners.

Editor needed

These histories were constructed in 2006 with the help of a number of Cheetah owners but the editor of the material has since moved on. OldRacingCars.com is happy to continue to provide a home for these histories but a new Editor, ideally located in Australia, is needed to bring them up to date and to continue the work. Please email Allen Brown (allen@oldracingcars.com) if you are able to take on this role.

Cheetah Mk 1

Formula Junior (Cooper copy), BMC A series engine – 948cc rear engine, transverse leaf spring rear suspension.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk 1
‘101’
Delivery date 1 Aug 1960. First owner Brian Shead … Subsequent history unknown but presumably consumed into the Mk 2. Unknown

Cheetah Mk 2

Major revision of Mk 1, same power unit, coil and wishbone rear suspension, longer wheelbase.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk 2
‘201’
Delivery date 1 Feb 1962. First owner Brian Shead. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown

Cheetah Mk3

Completely new chassis, body & suspension. Same power unit.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk3
‘301’
Delivery date 1 Mar 1963. First owner Brian Shead – Peter Macrow … John Jones Unknown

Cheetah Mk4H

Formula libre. Spaceframe chassis, Oldmobile alloy V8 3500cc engine, modified VW gearbox. Hillclimb car.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk4H
‘4H-1’
Delivery date 1 Jan 1970. First owner Don Biggar … Ian Judd … Unknown

Cheetah Mk4A

AF3. Spaceframe chassis, Toyota Corolla 1100cc engine, Holinger gearbox, Triumph front uprights, cast alloy rear uprights, glassfibre bodywork.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk4A
‘43-1’
Delivery date 13 May 1970. First owner Brian Shead … H. Roberts c1997 … Unknown

Cheetah Mk4B

AF3. Spaceframe chassis, Ford Twin Cam 1600cc engine, Holinger gearbox, Triumph front uprights, cast alloy rear uprights, glassfibre bodywork.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk4B
‘43-2’
Delivery date 1 Jun 1970. First owner Peter Macrow – Graeme Crawford – Colin Milne … Peter Macrow … Brian Sampson Unknown

Cheetah Mk4

AF3. First production chassis, minor changes in chassis layout, live front axles with fabricated uprights, rear fabricated uprights, Holinger gearbox. Toyota Corolla 1300cc engine. New front nose cone and cockpit body sections.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk4
‘43-3’
Delivery date 5 Jan 1973. First owner Brian Sampson … John Keirath c1997 … Unknown
Cheetah Mk4
‘43-4’
Delivery date 30 Mar 1973. First owner Peter Roach. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk4
‘43-5’
Delivery date 1 Sep 1973. First owner Vince McLauchlan. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown

Hugh Gartley (VIC) has retained his Corolla-engined Mk 4 for many years and was racing it until recently.

Cheetah Mk4E

Built for Australian Formula 2.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk4E
‘42-1’
Delivery date 1 Feb 1974. First owner Graeme Crawford. Subsequent history unknown but a car matching this description is currently in storage in Australia. More to follow on this car as it arrives. Unknown

Cheetah Mk5

Built for Australian Formula 3.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-1’
Delivery date 7 Feb 1974. First owner Brian Shead. Converted at the end of the 1975 season into ANF2 car 63-1 and raced by Shead until the end of the 1979 season, winning the 1979 ANF2 title. Sold to Frank Curcio at the end of 1979 – Les Groom 1983 – A Ashley 1986 – Peter Glover 1993 and rebuilt by Brian Shead during the 1990s. To Gray Malyon 2005 and retained 2006. Gary Malyon (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-2’
Edward Gavin 's Mk6 at Wakefield in Nov 2005. Copyright Mick O'Brien 2006. Used with permission.Edward Gavin ’s Mk6 at Wakefield in Nov 2005. Copyright Mick O’Brien 2006. Used with permission.

Delivery date 28 Mar 1974. First owner Brian Sampson. First race Amaroo Park 2 Jun 1974 and raced in ANF3 until August 1977. Then rebuilt as a Mk 6 as ‘002’ and raced by Sampson in the new ANF2 category started at Amaroo 10 Mar 1979. Raced througout 1979 and then sold to Bernard Cashin July 1980 – Paul McDonald (Leon Automotive) Nov 1982 – Peter Maybe (for display only) – Damon Beck June 1988 – Franke Burke Dec 1988 (maybe owned before Beck) – John Muddle Jan 1989 – Edward Gavin August 2001. Fitted with Celica engine on Brian Shead’s advice and raced extensively in historic racing. Retained 2006.

Edward Gavin (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-3’
Delivery date 1 May 1974. First owner Vince McLaughlan. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-4’
Delivery date 26 Sep 1974. First owner Peter Roach – Ian Bland – Derek Pingel – Brian Sampson c1991 – Bob Romano – Blair Salter – Russ McBurnie … Doctor on S/Coast QLD (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-5’
Delivery date 12 Feb 1975. First owner Bob Prendergast. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk5
‘53-6’
Delivery date 17 Mar 1975. First owner Peter Macrow. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown

It is believed that other Mk5s were converted to Mk6 specification but it is unclear whether these conversions then appear in the Mk6 production below.

Cheetah Clubman

Built for Australian Formula 3.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Clubman
‘CM1’
Delivery date 29 Aug 1975. First owner Peter Jones – Keith McCleland … John Keirath c1987 … Brian Sampson. Retained 2005. Brian Sampson (Aus) 2005

Cheetah Mk6

Built for both AF3 and AF2.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-1’
AF3 car. Delivery date 17 Jan 1976. First owner Brian Shead. Subsequent history unknown but likely to be the Mk5/Mk6 listed above as 53-1. See 53-1.
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-2’
AF3 car. Delivery date 20 Feb 1976. BDA engine???. First owner Brian Sampson. Subsequent history unknown and likely to be the Mk5/Mk6 listed above as 53-2. However, if it is 53-2, then the delivery date makes little sense and the BDA engine is definitely wrong. See 53-2.
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-3’
AF3 car. Delivery date 15 Mar 1976. First owner Bob Power – Bob Romano (#90) – David Robinson. Retained 2005. David Robinson (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-1’
Trevor Longmore's unmodified Mk6 at Canberra in 2002.  Copyright Mick O'Brien 2006.  Used with permission.Trevor Longmore’s unmodified Mk6 at Canberra in 2002. Copyright Mick O’Brien 2006. Used with permission.

AF2 car. Delivery date 15 Apr 1976. First owner Mike Stack … John McClennan. Subsquent history unknown but believed to be the 1976 Mk6 Ford TC owned by Trevor Longmore in 2006.

Trevor Longmore (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-4’
AF3 car. Delivery date 9 May 1976. First owner Terry Finigan May 1976 (- Alan McConnel 1980?) – Roy Goodman Jan 1989 – Richard Willis Sep 1997 – Warren Brown Feb 1999 – Alan Watts Nov 2000. Retained 2006. Alan Watts (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-5’
AF3 car. Delivery date 30 Jun 1976. First owner Geoff Phillips – Ian Richards. According to Gordon Dowthwaite’s research, Richard sold it to Tom Monro (or Monroe) as a rolling chassis in 1980. It next appears in an Escada Finance yard and was bought by Peter Smeets, still as a roller. Then to Graham Sharley who fitted a Toyota Celica engine and got the log book S1252 which is still with the car. To Adam Kaplan (Sydney) – Gordon Dowthwaite (Leongatha, VIC) around 1992/93. Retained 2006. Gordon would be interested in swapping the Celica for a VW powerplant if any Mk6 F2 owners are interested in that. Gordon Dowthwaite (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-6’
Graham Engel in the Mk6-Ford at Amaroo Park in 1980.  Copyright Glenn Moulds 2006.  Used with permission.Graham Engel in the Mk6-Ford at Amaroo Park in 1980. Copyright Glenn Moulds 2006. Used with permission.

AF3 car. Delivery date 3 Mar 1977. First owner Graham Engel – Steve Swain 1981 – Brian Keegan 1983 – Neville Trainor 1989 – Dick Willis 1997. Retained 2005.

Dick Willis (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-7’
Edward Gavin 's Mk6 at Wakefield in Nov 2005. Copyright Mick O'Brien 2006. Used with permission.Rod Swadling ’s Mk6 at Wakefield in Nov 2005. Copyright Mick O’Brien 2006. Used with permission.

AF3 car. Delivery date 15 Jul 1977. First owner Lew Wade but first event listed as 19 Aug 1978 at Winton. To Murray Wilson 1979 – Chris Charge 1982 – Max Engel-lenner 1984 – Peter Hudson 1986 – David Schofield 1988 – Rod Swadling 2001. Celica engine. Retained 2006.

Rod Swadling (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk6
‘63-8’
AF3 car. Delivery date 7 Dec 1977. First owner Mike Stack. Subsquent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-9’
AF2 car. Delivery date 7 Mar 1978. First owner Greg Turner. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-10’
AF2 car. Delivery date 2 Oct 1978. First owner Tom Crozier … Mike Stillwell … Brian Sampson. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-11’
AF2 car. Delivery date 6 Oct 1978. Celica engine. First owner Vince McLaughlan – Geoff Forsythe – Lucio Cesario – Perry Spiridius – Peter Banfield – Geoff Sherrif – Rod Moody – W Kim – Ray Delany – Calvin Baumanis – Warren Brown – Alan Watts. This agrees with Alan’s history on his Mk 6 although he understands it to be chassis 631. Nick McDonald was traced the early sequence of ownership on his car as the same as far as Moody. The current logbook has P Banfield Mar 1988 – R Moody Sep 1986 [sic] – W Kim Jan 1989 – R Delany Oct 1989 – Calvin Baumanis May 1992 – Warren Brown Jan 2000 – Alan Watts Nov 2000. Retained 2006. Alan Watts (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-12’
AF2 car. Delivery date 9 May 1979. First owner Bob Prendergast. Current owner Tony Johns. Tony Johns (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk6
‘62-13’
AF2 car. Delivery date 1 Aug 1979. First owner Chris Hocking … Eric Mills. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown

A Mk6 was owned by Andrew Sutton in 1987.

Cheetah Mk6E

A number of Mk6Es were also built, new cars having gone to Grahame Blee (Celica engine), Murray Wilson and David Crabtree (Ford). One of these later went through the hands of Mick Markham and then Warren Brown but, based on correspondence Alan Watts has between Shead and Markham, Watts believes this to be the car he now owns (see 62-11 above).

Another Mk6E, reported to have once been owned by Bruce Kennedy, is currently owned by Geoff Wiseman. However, Ron Coat reports that the ex-Bruce Kennedy car is the Mk 6 now owned by Trevor Longmore (see above).

Cheetah Mk7

Built for Australian Formula 2. New monocoque, bodywork, suspension etc. First ground effects car. The first car was sold to Peter Macrow in March 1980 after Brian Shead’s retirement from driving. Six more cars followed over the next two seasons, all following the pattern Shead’s prototype but with Peter Glover’s car powered by a Judd Golf 1600cc engine.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-1’
Delivery date 28 Feb 1980. Toyota engine. First owner Brian Shead – Peter Macrow March 1980 … Current owner Terry Robertson. Terry Robertson (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-2’
Tom Crozier's Mk7-Toyota at Amaroo Park in 1980.  Copyright Glenn Moulds 2006.  Used with permission.Tom Crozier’s Mk7-Toyota at Amaroo Park in 1980. Copyright Glenn Moulds 2006. Used with permission.

Delivery date 10 May 1980. Toyota engine. First owner Tom Crozier.

Terry Robertson (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-3’
Delivery date 1 Jul 1980. First owner Vince McLaughlan. Believed later to Bob Jennings them to Leon Edwards. Leon Edwards (Aus)
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-4’
Delivery date 1 Sep 1980. Golf engine. First owner Bob Prendergast (#40) – Colin Fulton 1982 (#27, also driven by Mike Hall in 1984) – Graeme Smith 1986 (#37) – Peter Hudson 1988 – Eric (Rick) Fabri Nov 1990 – Brian Sampson Oct 1992 – Jeoff Turner Mar 1995 – Tony Slattery Sep 2005 – Mick Cain May 2008. Mick Cain (Aus) 2008
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-5’
Delivery date 18 Oct 1980. First owner Chris Hocking (#74). Current owner Peter Beehag. Peter Beehag (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-6’
Delivery date 21 Mar 1981. Gemini engine. First owner Peter Glover. Current owner Barry Thew. Barry Thew (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk7
‘72-7’
Delivery date 18 Aug 1981. Toyota engine. First owner Hugh Gartley – Rob Newman (Purchased by John Walker on Rob’s behalf. Converted to flat bottom when rules changed), Ewan Herd (1986) – Bruce Combe (Oct 1997) – Rohan Christmas (May 2006) Rohan Christmas (Aus) 2006

There was also a mystery MK7 owned by Tony Armstrong in 1987.

Cheetah Mk8

AF1 and AF2.

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk8
‘81-1’
AF1 car. Delivery date 2 Jun 1982. First owner Chris Hocking and raced in ANF1 or Pacific with a BDA engine. Converted to ANF2 with Golf engine. To Ray Bond (Wangaratta) Aug 1984 and raced in ANF2 until Nov 1991. Retained unused until sold to Kevin Lewis Nov 2003. To Edward Gavin Dec 2005. Retained 2006. Edward Gavin (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk8
‘81-2’
AF1 car. Delivery date 1 Nov 1983 (1982?). First owner Brian Sampson (log book issued 19 Oct 1982, not 1983). To Barry Johnson Aug 1985 – Alan Watts Oct 2003. Retained 2006. Alan Watts (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk8
‘81-3’
AF1 car for Atlantic with a BDD. Delivery date 7 Feb 1983. First owner Peter Macrow. To Graham Smith 1986 – Rod Anderson 1989 – James Sears (sp?) 1995 – Geoff Turner 1996 – Geoff Wiseman 1998. Retained 2006. Geoff Wiseman (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-1’
AF2 car. Delivery date 27 Feb 1984. First owner Keith McLelland. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-2’
AF2 car. Delivery date 12 Mar 1984. First owner Kevin McClauchlan (raced by Vince McClauchlan) – Brian Sampson Aug 1988 – Robert McCoy Jul 1991 – Kevin Hardwidge Apr 1993 – James Gleeson Sep 1994 – Ron Coath Dec 1997. Retained 2006. Ron Coath (Aus) 2006
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-3’
AF2 car. Delivery date 5 Feb 1985. First owner Peter Glover but the CAMS log book then gives the history as Derek Pingel July 1987 – Peter Fox Feb 1989 – David Keen Feb 1991 – Adam Kaplan Dec 1994 – Bob Romano Jul 1997 – Paul Scott Jan 1999 – Craig Smith – Russ McBurnie c2003. This car appears to be confused with 82-4. See 82-4
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-4’
AF2 car. Delivery date 6 Feb 1985. First owner Derek Pingel – Richard Davidson … Craig Smith … Russ McBurnie. Russ McBurnie (Aus) 2005
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-5’
AF2 car. Delivery date 8 Jan 1986. First owner Jon Crooke (#71) – Rohan Onslow 1988. Subsequent history unknown. Unknown
Cheetah Mk8
‘82-6’
AF2 car. Delivery date 6 Feb 1987. First owner Arthur Abrahams and said to have gone to Tom Crozier next. Rebuilt with a new tub after a crash at Oran Park 17 Apr 1988. Known as the “Ransburg Cheetah”. With Chris Coombs for about four years and then to Kevin Lewis. Retained 2006. Kevin Lewis (Aus) 2006.

In Jan 2014, Peter Jones email to say that he had owned: "Chassis number was 804 and Log Book was N5131. Built in 1984 for Keith McClelland and came second in ANF2 Championship by 1 point. (painted white). Then raced by Arthur Abrahams (painted in Ignis Fridges livery). Not sure if Arthur owned or leased this car. Leased by Mike Hall for 3 races. Purchased by Tom Crozier (date?) for conversion to Formula Holden but not progressed with. Purchased by myself (Dec’87) and raced ANF2 at Mallala, Winton and Lakeside in 1988. Sold to Arnold? And Lindy Rigby of Wamboin NSW 1989. No known history since this time." This appears to connect '82-1', which was the fourth Mk 8, with '82-6'.

Cheetah Mk9

Formula Holden .

Chassis History Current owner
Cheetah Mk9
‘91-1’
Delivery date 13 Dec 1989. First owner Peter Glover. Later owned by Brian Sampson c1991. With Sampson 2005. Brian Sampson (Aus) 2005

These histories have been compiled using production records provided by Brian Shead of Cheetah Racing Cars. Thanks also to Bryan Miller for his assistance with the cars presently racing in historics; to owners Gordon Dowthwaite, Rohan Christmas, Alan Watts, Gary Malyon, Edward Gavin and Ron Coath; and to Glenn Moulds, Derek Winter, Russell Jay and Mick O’Brien.

All and any help would be gratefully received. Please e-mail Allen at allen@oldracingcars.com if you can add anything.