You likely have heard about the Stutz Bearcat, the Indianapolis-built car that dominated American motorsports in the early years of the 20th Century and which Erwin George “Cannon Ball” Baker drove coast to coast in a record-setting 11 days, 7 hours and 15 minutes in 1915.
But do you recall the Blakely Bearcat?
This Bearcat was a kit car and one of them, a 1973 Blakely Bearcat, is the Pick of the Day on ClassicCars.com, where it is being advertised for sale by its private owner in Franklin, Tennessee.
Richard Paul “Dick” Blakely enrolled at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana, to study mechanical engineering but, notes blakelyhistory.com, he proved to be so advanced in his knowledge of the field that the school helped him transfer to the University of Leeds in the UK.
It apparently was during his years in England, where Colin Chapman was building Lotus Sevens, that Blakely got the bug to build his own sports car. He returned to the US and worked at J.I. Case, earning patents for his work on construction machines, and then with Rockford Screw Products. It was in Rockford, Illinois, that Blakely debuted his first cars, a run of 15 Blakely Bantams, which were kit cars based on Ford Pinto components.
Next up by Blakely and his engineering partner Denny Myelle – they had earned praise for the Bantam from Road & Track magazine – was the Bearcat, a sports car with a tube-frame chassis, a cockpit that would fit two tall occupants, a trunk, locking doors and a convertible top.
Subsequent models would include the Bearcat S, Bernardi, Hawk, Ceres (a 3-wheeler), Baron and E-Class.
“In the early ‘70s, Blakely manufactured a kit designed to utilize the Ford Mustang (II) drivetrain and front suspension,” the seller notes in the Bearcat’s advertisement on ClassicCars.com. “This example is the Bearcat and uses the durable Ford 2.3L 4-cylinder, 4-speed (manual) transmission and rear end.
“Boasting the original purple metal flake body, ‘Blake’ was purchased and then embarked on a drivetrain and interior restoration to make him a dependable driver and a Cars and Coffee conversation piece.”
The seller said the car was mechanically refreshed in 2015 and afterward got new leather, carpet and sound system for its cockpit.
“Today, Blake is eager to start, quickly coming to life when the key is turned while making a very pleasant sports car gurgle,” the seller adds. “He is a true roadster with no top. The 2.3L delivers plenty of acceleration in this less-than 2,000 lb sports car.
“If you like getting attention in the car you drive, Blake is your car!.”
Blake is offered for $15,000.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.