Don’t let the Barrett-Jackson fences with the Schwartz Performance shop signs on each side of Jeff Schwartz’s ’49 A-D Chevy fool you – it isn’t that kind of truck. Sure, with its bright teal paintjob and chrome-plated grille from Brothers it looks one of those super nice restored old pickups rolling through a Barrett-Jackson auction, but that’s where the similarity ends. The saga of Jeff’s ’49 Chevy A-D actually started many years before he scored the truck from his friend Hank Groves – his grandfather and uncle both owned A-Ds while Jeff was growing up.
In the state Jeff acquired it from Hank, the A-D was already on its way to becoming a hot rod. The stock 216-inch Stovebolt with its closed driveline was long gone, and it now had a shaved firewall. Whoever sold the truck to Hank had grafted on a Heidts IFS, plus a few other goodies, and then ran out of steam. Jeff picked up where he left off and hung a four-link on it with some trick front and rear sway bars.
As soon as Jeff had the reworked the A-D chassis ready enough to plop a cab onto, a German buyer came along and bought it to ship home. Apparently there are some countries that are a little strict about maintaining an OEM frame. Fortunately we don’t have some of those goofy laws here in the United States, so the door was opened for Schwartz Performance to add another application to its line of high-performance G machine-style chassis.
In no time Jeff was hustling to develop a new A-D specific design. Everything from the front crossmember to the drop spindles and tubular control arms on the new A-D chassis were made in-house at Schwartz Performance. The Chevy and GMC A-D’s natural tendency to be top-heavy is discouraged with fore and aft Schwartz racing-style sway bars with Heim-jointed ends.
The double-adjustable shock absorbers are from Viking Performance, and the rack-and-pinion steering is from AGR Performance of Ft. Worth, Texas. For rearend gears there’s a Moser Engineering 9-inch Ford packing 3.50s with a Detroit Truetrac. The disc brakes at all four corners are 13-inchers from Wilwood. For rolling stock Jeff went with XXR 962 style wheels shod with 275x35 ZR18 BFG tires.
Under the hood, the ’49 is powered by a 2009 Chevy 4.8 with GM #243 aluminum heads. The fuel injection is a GM E-38 sucking strained air from a Spectre air-cleaner. The exhaust system is where Jeff says the strong-running little 4.8 picked up some extra ponies. Its Hooker Headers feature 15⁄8-inch diameter tubing that feeds into 2½-inch mandrel bent stainless steel fabricated by Schwartz Performance muffled with Pypes high-performance mufflers.
To help the 4.8 engine look a little less complicated than an octopus eating an air-conditioner Jeff installed a pair of chromed Holley valve covers set apart by a custom-made Schwartz engine cover. Jeff says an educated guess would place the 4.8 engine’s output at around 350 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. The four-speed automatic overdrive transmission is a 4L65E shifted with a Spectre shifter.
The ’49 Chevy’s bright teal PPG paintwork was done by Jerry Lins of Harvard, Illinois, with graphics by Matt Eby. Those good-looking heavily varnished stake sides were a surprise gift from Deena, Jeff’s girlfriend. Looking inside the truck’s cab reveals a black suede-covered dashboard packed with Haneline gauges. The stock ’49 seat is covered in black vinyl with black suede. The carpeting is a kit Jeff bought from Brothers, and installed himself. A Lecarra steering wheel sits on top of a Flaming River steering column. No old truck should be without the finer things in life, so Jeff installed a kickass A/C system from Vintage Air.
Jeff has already had the ’49 out to the autocross tracks, and has been enjoying shutting down late-model LS-powered car. “It’s a sports car disguised as an old truck.”