Stacey David’s GearZ® is a high-octane automotive program that covers all things mechanical and is designed to appeal to the gear head in everybody. The show includes vehicle make-overs and transformations, and builds of trend-setting custom vehicles.
Stacey David has been twisting wrenches on TV for over 15 years now, leaving in his wake two hit TV series and numerous industry awards. He is also the builder and designer of many iconic, trend-setting vehicles that influence and raise the bar for builders everywhere. From being the first to chop a top on national television, to helping the OEM’s introduce new engines and vehicles, Stacey continues to push the limits of the automotive aftermarket to give viewers a true inside look at what it takes to build and modify cars and trucks. From the massive “SGT. Rock” power wagon to the brutal “V8 Interceptor” Mercury Cougar, you never quite know what you’ll see on GearZ, but you know it’s gonna be cool!
Building a Cheetah — This year Stacey will feature a “Cheetah build”. Guided by the iconic 1965 Bill Thomas Cheetah, Stacey will be building a Cheetah Evolution from Ruth Engineering. While staying true to the classic Cheetah profile the Cheetah Evolution is an entirely new design from the ground up using all modern components. During the show Stacey will cover the history of this unique race car and show how that classic 60’s look has been converted by Ruth Engineering into an eye catching street car that you can build and own.
The Gearz - Cheetah Evolution story
In the summer of 2014 we hosted a 50th Anniversary event for the Cheetah at Road America in Wisconsin. We had established a relationship with Dave Kennedy who is a local marketing manager for Carrera Slot Cars. Carrera has been making Cheetah slot cars for many years and is the source of many people’s Cheetah “dreams”. It seemed appropriate to include Dave in the Cheetah “family” so we invited him to display his Carrera slot cars at the event. During the event we discussed marketing opportunities for the Cheetah Evolution with Dave. He expressed real interest in linking the slot cars with the “real things”.
A few weeks after the Road America event we got a call from Dave. He said he had just spent time with Stacey David in Nashville and had told him about the Cheetah Anniversary event. Stacey admitted that he didn’t know much about the car but he had always loved the shape and legend. They had discussed the Cheetah Evolution and how it would be fun to build a modern day Cheetah. Stacey thought it would be a great feature build for his GearZ TV show and asked Dave to reach out to me to see if we would be interested in providing a car for the show.
We contacted Stacey and set the wheels in motion. We knew that this would be a GREAT opportunity for us to showcase the Cheetah Evolution. After our initial discussions I handed the ball over to Craig Ruth to begin to work out the details… and there were MANY!
After the initial contact with Stacey, Craig needed to see, firsthand, how the whole TV show production gig worked. Stacey’s enthusiasm was off the charts and it really felt like we needed to provide him with a Cheetah Evolution to finish. Craig spent the weekend in Nashville enjoying the city and visiting Stacey’s shop. After hours of discussion of what we would provide and details of how the product would be displayed on the show, they finally had a plan.
They discussed the differences in our design and why we chose to emulate the car from the 60’s. They talked about original cars and told him about our friend Sam Goins who has the original car that went over two hundred MPH at Daytona. We talked to Sam and convinced him to make his car available to film once Stacey took delivery of our Cheetah Evolution.
Craig agreed that Ruth Engineering & Racing, Inc. would manufacture a “Body-in-White” Factory Package with a few “add-ons”. Stacey decided on a silver chassis with the suspension in black. He also stated that he just wanted the car delivered in gel-coat, which is a typical choice. The Body-in-White was assembled over a 5 month period with generous contributions by our suppliers, including but not limited to – Blue Arc Fabrication, Scott Rods, Flaming River, Wilwood, Henderson Driveline, VB&P, QA-1 and Lokar.
While we completed the Body-in-White we had our good friend Mark Durdak film and edit our portion of the show since Stacey couldn’t have a crew in Cleveland. Mark’s movie company did a great job and you see some of his footage on the Gearz TV show.
Once we had the chassis assembled, Stacey and his crew came to Cleveland to do interviews with Craig’s father, Bob Ruth and discuss what it was like starting out in the Corvette repair business in the 50’s when nobody wanted to touch the fiberglass work. Stacey also interviewed Walt Bredel, the owner at AJ’s Welding Service who completes all the TIG welded joints on the Cheetah Evolution.
For Stacey’s car, we asked Anton Lanesky at Anton’s Hotrod shop to fabricate and donate the front aluminum splash panels and the rear compartment covers the hide the fuel tank and filler. (These items are not usually included in the Factory Package.) We also installed the aluminum gullwing hinges from Brad at Rocky Hinge. We trimmed the outer doors also and bonded them for Stacey. Usually this is not done because clients want to design their own door latche systems. Hendrick’s Manufacturing supplied their aircraft latche mechanisms so Stacey asked that we complete the doors. Stacey will install the latches on one of the episodes.
A brilliant set of stainless headers and custom side pipes were supplied by Jim Browning at Ultimate Headers.
Jason Beck from Jason’s Custom Trim also teamed up with the folks at Cals Sales for some custom embroidery and beautiful leather seat covers and a dash cover. The seats feature Stacey’s logo and the dash has the Cheetah Evolution logo.
All of these items are wonderfully crafted items and are options available to every Cheetah Evolution builder.
We look forward to seeing the Cheetah Evolution completed and we at Ruth Engineering & Racing, Inc. hope you enjoy it also.
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