From Dayton to Daytona: hometown wheels crossing elite finish lines

I Love Dayton

MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – Forgeline Motorsports doesn’t claim to be reinventing the wheel, but it makes a solid case for improving it.

“It breaks better, accelerates better, performs better,” Forgeline director of sales Steve Schardt said of the product’s affect on a vehicle’s performance.

Schardt started the company in Moraine in 1994, but his family’s experience with wheels extends back to his father, who first worked at the former GM plant before starting his own wheel business. The elder Schardt also raced cars, so it’s no wonder Steve Schardt and his brother David inherited a passion for motorsports.

The family hoped to give drivers more consistent, lightweight quality.

“No one really made a customized race wheel in America,” Steve Schardt explained. “You had to buy certain sizes and certain offsets for certain applications.”

In its 25th year, Forgeline customized almost one hundred styles and several dozen wheel sizes. It’s products attract customers like legendary Richard Petty, compete on tracks like Daytona and carry the vehicles the average person only dreams about.

“Our wheels are on Hennessey Venoms, they’re on the Glickenhaus. We have GT 4 wheels on the Mustangs, Camaros, Panoz,” Steve Schardt said.

Each wheel can cost several thousand dollars and Schardt explained it takes 12 to 14 man hours from start to finish.

The forging process, of which the company derives its name, machines down a solid, 100-110 pound piece of aluminum into a sturdy 18 pound wheel. The resulting piece weighs almost half as much as a wheel on a typical passenger car.

“What makes it unique is we’re making wheels four at a time. We’re not making the same wheel for a Honda or a Camry or whatever it is. We’re making wheels specifically for what the customer wants,” said David Schardt, the Forgeline president. 

David Schardt also credits the company’s family-owned, midwestern roots for its quality and market appeal.

“(It’s) mainly because of the people. The work ethic of the midwesterners is so much better,” he said. “All of the other wheel companies are in Miami and California. And we like being by ourselves here in Dayton, Ohio.”

You can learn more about Forgeline Motorsports and see its products by clicking here.

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