Schwartz Performance Shop Tour

It is said that when one door closes, another one opens. In the case of life-long road racer Jeff Schwartz, that saying rings very true. Just over 15 years ago, Jeff found himself out of a job which prompted him to make his hobby his career.

During their annual open house, Schwartz Performance is surrounded by even more hot rods and muscle machines than usual.

Jeff had already been working on the concept of producing an all-new bolt-in chassis for muscle cars. The new chassis would provide improved suspension geometry for modern handling with increased rigidity and strength. The new frame had to be as bolt-in as possible and would not require cutting the floor out, moving the firewall, or other major modifications like other chassis and suspension systems of the day. It wasn’t long until he introduced the bolt-in G-Machine Chassis for GM A-bodies launching Schwartz Performance.

Schwartz Performance in one photo: Complete G-Machine Chassis for over 30 applications getting prepped along with a custom pro-touring build in progress on a Studebaker (including a custom Schwartz Chassis.).

Schwartz Performance was founded on manufacturing bolt-in G-Machine Chassis for muscle cars. As the demand for their Chassis grew, so did the number of customers that wanted to have their dream car built. The company began doing builds that have grown into a large part of the company.

This chassis is getting finalized for the drivetrain before being shipped to the customer to finish. Schwartz will ship a bare, rolling chassis or assemble it to fit the customer’s needs.

G-Machine Chassis ready for final prep and shipping. There’s some serious handling prowess in this pic.

That was back in 2005 and within a year, they doubled the size of their shop and started working on new applications which included a full-length chassis for uni-body applications. At the time there were only front clips available and Schwartz introduced a complete G-Machine Chassis for the Chevy II/Nova platform – a complete game-changer.

The Schwartz team also practices what they preach! They attend a number of events each year to run their ’65 Tempest and team up with their own customers or friends such as Mark Greenisen and his ’74 Gremlin (which is on a shortened G-Machine Chassis).

Fifteen years later, Schwartz Performance now offers over 30 different applications for their G-Machine Chassis including models for original uni-body cars like Mustangs, Novas, and Mopar B&E bodies. His son Dale plays a major role in the company (after earning his BS in Auto Restoration Management from McPherson College) along with a talented group of skilled craftsmen and engineers. Together, the Woodstock, Illinois-based team not only designs and builds their line of G-Machine Chassis but also builds some serious pro-touring street machines.

No, the 392 is not going in the ’63 Chevy II. The Hemi is slated for a custom Hudson project while a new LT4 is already under the hood of the Nova. Schwartz has built a number of Mopars with late-model Hemis and Hellcat swaps.

Jeff’s road racing experience brought key elements of handling to the chassis design, but he also wanted to combine that handling performance with luxury and comfort to use on the street. The luxury aspect likely stems from Jeff’s wicked ’82 Cadillac Brougham. The Caddy was completely different and he and Dale cruised it on a couple of different Power Tours and also won the 2002 Car Craft Magazine Real Street Eliminator title.

All of their builds use a G-Machine Chassis as a foundation and most receive late-model drivelines. The custom tunnel on this early Mustang is covering a 10-speed automatic.

The Caddy ended up being sold to build something a bit more serious; a twin-turbo fed LS-powered Ultima GT. This mid-engine monster weighed in at about 2,200 pounds with 1,000 hp on tap. Jeff and Dale also cruised this one on Power Tour then scored the 0-200-0 Silver State classic win in ’06 (and runner up the following year) while rolling to a 211 mph top speed in the standing mile. With all of the miles racked up on Power Tours, combined with showcasing performance on the track, the target was set high for the G-Machine Chassis: Performance handling with a comfortable, controlled ride.

With modern technology comes a lot of wiring and electrical circuits to contend. At this point, the build team at Schwartz have pretty much wired it all.

 

One of the key aspects of achieving these goals was to engineer the suspension to use longer coilovers creating increased travel. The upper A-arms also are fitted with needle bearings for bind-free movement. Along with adjustable coilovers and splined sway bars, a customer can really dial-in their suspension to achieve the ride quality and performance they seek.

Without a lot of aftermarket support, the Hudson in the background is getting a lot of custom formed sheet metal created by the Schwartz team.

When we stopped by for a tour prior to stay-at-home sanctions, we saw at least 15 different project cars in various stages with more coming down the line. Pretty much each build ends up on a G-Machine Chassis along with a late model drivetrain of sorts. The chassis are well equipped with standard components which include a power rack, Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes, 6-piston calipers, and 13-inch rotors, RideTech coilovers, as well as a full-floating 9-inch Moser rearend complete with a Truetrac differential.

To keep builds on schedule as well as enhance quality control, Schwartz invested in a paint booth. Across the complex in a quieter corner of the shop, there’s a clean room dedicated to assembling engines. Jeff has devised his own cam profile and engine combinations for several LS recipes to give his customers an advantage over a stock crate engine.

As we wandered around the shop, we noticed the underlying theme of performance matched with modern power and amenities. There was a ’63 Nova with an LT4, a classic Ford Woody wagon getting a supercharged Coyote and six-speed, and a ’67 Barracuda with a Hellcat engine sitting alongside a ’74 Nova, also with an LT4. They recently shipped a supercharged Hemi Cuda and an 800 hp S10 pickup.

A look at things to come: a ’67 Barracuda with a Hellcat drivetrain, a ’74 Nova with an LT4, a just finished ’69 GTO with an LS7 (all on G-Machine Chassis) and Jeff’s ’72 Javelin AMX.

Not everything is built to the extreme side of the performance spectrum. They recently finished a ’69 GTO convertible that looks nearly stock but rides on a G-Machine Chassis with LS7 power. Thanks to a custom set of 18” wheels modeled after the Pontiac Rally II design, the car gives off a classic muscle car vibe with a modern spice to it. They also just finished a sweet ’72 Javelin AMX which happens to be Jeff’s personal project.

Schwartz is a two-time winner of Car Craft Magazine’s Pro Builder Award, which was last earned for this right-hand drive supercharged ‘Cuda build. They’ve also built three giveaway vehicles for Raybestos including this ’53 Chevy pickup.

Not only can a Schwartz G-Machine Chassis transform your muscle car, classic cruiser or vintage truck into a smooth performer, but Schwartz can also build the vehicle of your dreams. As a matter of fact, our own Scott Parker is prepping his ’70 GTO body to mate to a new G-Machine Chassis soon. We’ll keep you updated on Project Payback and keep you posted on many of the wicked new builds that roll out of Schwartz Performance.

It may look stock, but this GTO is the definition of a modern-day muscle machine with its G-Machine Chassis, LS7 powerplant, huge brakes, and 18” wheels.

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