Forgeline wheels are well known on the racetrack and among performance car enthusiasts, but they are also one of the Miami Valley’s best-kept secrets.
“Yeah, you might be right about that,” chuckled company president David Schardt. “We aren’t exactly a household name yet.”
But at the recent Daytona Grand Sports and Sport Touring races, not only are they well known, Forgeline wheels were on one third of the field, and swept five of six podium positions.
“Daytona was good for our racing resume. We have great relationships with our racing customers, and they can count on our wheels to deliver for them,” said Forgeline sales manager Steve Schardt, who happens to be Dave’s twin brother.
The wheel story started in 1970 when Jim Schardt bought the struggling Dayton Wire Wheel and turned the iconic company around. His sons were helping out in the factory then and one wheel led to another.
“We both worked in the shop for as long as I can remember, and have done just about every job there,” notes David Schardt.
In 1994, while selling custom wheels from their shop, Wheel Source, the brothers decided to start making their own wheels.
“There was a lot of variety on the market, but not much high quality,” Dave Schardt explained. “With our background, we knew we could make a better product, and it would be strong and give the driver the results they were looking for.”
Wheel Source was eventually closed, and the brothers concentrated only on making wheels.
Forgeline only makes two styles of wheel, one-piece and three-piece wheels, both of which are made from heat-treated 6061-T6 aluminum that is forged on a 6,000-ton hydraulic press. This forging process aligns the grain structure, reduces porosity and increases uniformity in the material, creating the highest strength-to-weight ratios and the most consistent quality. On average, these forgings are 40 percent stronger than cast aluminum.
The company name also came from the process, explained Steve Schardt.
“Most of the wheel companies used initials, and we kept kicking ideas around with the word forged and suddenly Forgeline stuck.”
A one-piece wheel starts with a 110-pound piece of forged aluminum, and after four hours in the CNC machine and another four hours of hand deburring, polishing and finishing, you have a 19-pound wheel. Aside from the CNC machining process, each wheel is built by hand, one at a time.
“These wheels are as strong and durable as we can make,” Dave Schardt explained. “For racing applications, the wheel lasts at least three racing seasons, and for street use, well, they’ll last a lifetime.”
While Forgeline offers 93 different models on their website, each wheel is manufactured after it is ordered.
“We have no inventory built ahead. Iit takes about 3-4 weeks to get your wheels after they are ordered,” Dave Schardt continued. “That’s still a pretty quick turnaround, and we maintain a large inventory of our materials so we don’t have to wait for our suppliers. Everything is done under one roof. We have 11 CNC machines and we also do our own powder coating.”
Forgeline employs about 25 people. Everything used in the process is American made.
Whether a wheel needs to be specially built to accommodate a unique suspension or brake package, Forgeline’s in-house manufacturing and engineering capabilities also provide great flexibility when it comes to vehicle fitments and wheel sizing options.
Forgeline has built wheels for all types of cars, but Steve Schardt estimates that Porsche owners might be their biggest customers.
“We build about half our wheels for racing and half for street use, but I’d guess that we’ve made more wheels for Porsches than any other make. Our wheels have also become very popular with the Pro Touring car builders, and recently we’ve also begun making wheel for drag racers. ”
In addition to their recent success on the track at Daytona, Forgeline was also commissioned to build the wheels for the Petty’s Garage “King Edition” Ford Mustang GT that includes a limited run of 43 cars that have a silver scheme to celebrate “The King” Richard Petty and his 80th birthday in July 2017.
Forgeline wheels are also on the Mustang GT4, an all-new, track-ready, turnkey Mustang racecar that has been designed and engineered jointly by Ford Performance and Multimatic Motorsports to compete in sports car championship racing series globally.
From a town historically known for inventions and innovations, the Schardt brothers are keeping the legacy intact.
To learn more about Forgeline, go online to www.forgeline.com