The pro-touring craze has created a swarm of spectacular Chevelles and Camaros that finally sit right and fill the wheelwells perfectly. Basic understanding of the increased weight of the 17s, 18s, 19s, 20s, and even 22s has made bigger brakes and reworked suspension must-haves for exclusion from the dreaded poseur label. A pro-touring guy swaps wheels and tires, brakes, spindles, and springs in order to transition his car to the pro-touring theme. The result is a great-looking car that would probably handle fairly well on a winding road, but is more than likely relegated to form-over-function cruiser duty. Yet, in most cases, the owner is happy.
However, some musclecar guys have higher standards. The more serious and demanding among the musclecar crowd are not satisfied with their cars unless they really "work." There is a slice of the musclecar hobby discontent with simple wheels, stance, and brake upgrades if handling and straight-line performance have not been optimized. Whether Stock Car racing, road racing, or drag racing is in their blood, this crowd sacrifices a particular "look" if it is detrimental to handling and performance. Jeff Schwartz is a member of that crowd.
In the '80s, Jeff Schwartz was a professional road racer. Highlighting a prolific career of motorcycle and road racing, he raced a GT1 Corvette, showroom-stock race cars, and IMSA Camaros. Schwartz appeared in the street-machine world when he competed in Car Craft's 2002 Real Street Eliminator with an '82 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe and won the event. More shocking, Schwartz would show up one year later in his handbuilt Ultima--a street-legal endurance racecar--and soundly embarrass the competition again.
The birth of Schwartz Extreme Performance in Crystal Lake, Illinois, has allowed the building of killer street machines and dream cars that reflect a philosophy of pavement-shredding, all-around performance. One such vehicle, a '65 two-door Chevelle wagon, was slated for a complete build with Schwartz-style performance. Even though aftermarket pieces abound to improve the handling of GM's full-frame A-bodies, the development of a purpose-built performance chassis began to emerge. Adding up the costs and parts needed to make the stock chassis work to the level desired for the wagon, Schwartz determined that a "clean sheet of paper" build of a serious street chassis incorporating the best technology from the race track would be both cheaper and superior. Schwartz's 26 years of automotive manufacturing came together to expand the vision beyond his customer's Chevelle wagon.
SEP has recently announced the availability of the Schwartz Precision Chassis (SPC). The mild-steel chassis transforms any '64-72 Chevelle/Malibu from mundane grocery-getter to street warrior. The SPC is available in a number of other applications, including the '67-69 Camaro, which gives Camaro owners an affordable option to convert their 40-year-old unibody platform into a full-framed, high-performance slot car. Don't sign up for one of these if you have a stock restoration in mind.
Schwartz recommends an in-depth evaluation of a driver's needs and desires before a chassis is built. It can be ordered as a fully jig-welded chassis with front tubular A-arms for $2,995. From this as a starting point, SEP will equip the chassis with parts specified by the owner. Highly recommended is the complete roller frame with front and rear coilover suspension, 12-inch four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, A Winters Aluminum Ford 9-inch housing with axles, and 18-inch wheels and tires for a bargain price of $11,995.The intensity and quality built into each chassis, along with product support from a real enthusiast, promises to make a huge impact on those looking for more than just pro touring. The SPC makes the case for the next step, moving from pro-touring poseurs to pro-turning performers. Bolt one under your Bow Tie and enter a new world of handling and dragstrip performance at a price that is easily affordable.