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Where It All Started-High Horse Performance

Posted By: Evan J. Smith
Where It All Started‑High Horse Performance
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography courtesy of HHP
Going strong for nearly 20 years, High Horse Performance is now highly respected for being the home of the world’s quickest Gen 3 HEMI-powered cars, but it wasn’t always Mopar muscle that filled the HHP stable.
Midway through his college studies, Josh Schwartz joined the United States Air Force Reserves. After boot camp and flight school, he returned to the University of Delaware where received his degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering. His Reserve Squadron was activated after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and he was on active duty through several different wars.
“I was young with a steady income and decided to reward myself for all this hard work, so I bought an ’03 Mustang Cobra Terminator with an Eaton blower and it was a badass street car,” laughed Schwartz, now 46, who quickly began modifying his New Edge Cobra with basic bolt-ons. 
From his purchases, he got to know one particular online parts dealer very well and realized that the market was both plentiful and profitable. With two friends joining in, Schwartz and the team built a website, put parts online, opened an eBay seller account, and officially launched High Horse Performance in 2004.
At first, HHP focused on Ford Mustang parts as that’s what was most readily available and was based out of Schwartz’s home. It was the perfect side project while he was waiting around to be called into duty while on active standby with the military.
“By late 2004, Dodge released its new HEMI and everyone loved it,” said Schwartz, who was very much self-taught but wise enough to recognize a tremendous opportunity. With little aftermarket support for the new applications at first, Schwartz was quick to be one of the first sellers to offer items when they did become available—and his customers responded with intense loyalty. “At the end of our first year, our sales were 90-percent Mustang, but by the end of 2005, we were 90-percent HEMI.”
As more parts became available for the popular Mopar platform, Schwartz saw there was also room to offer repair and upgrade services. He met Bruce Maichle, HHP’s longtime Racing and Technical Sales Manager, as Maichle had been working as a technician at a local Chrysler dealership and racing with the NMCA. Able to do work on the side after hours, Maichle and two others teamed up with Schwartz to expand HHP’s offerings into the more mechanical side of things.
“Bruce had a good relationship with Tony Bischoff [of BES Racing Engines] and we were able to offer HEMI engine and cylinder head work early on as a result,” Schwartz continued of how he grew his dedicated Dodge market.
Today, HHP is synonymous with Gen III HEMI performance but also offers products for other Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models as well as many Fords and Chevrolets. Proudly veteran-owned and operated, the company employs a staff of 16 gearheads who treat their customers like family. From skillful parts selection and sales to expert technical support, custom-tailored performance packages and installation as well as dyno tuning by Schwartz himself and race support services, HHP’s 16,000-square foot facility in Smyrna, Delaware, houses it all and the company has become a mecca of Mopar goodness.
Over the years, both Schwartz and Maichle have made their mark in the drag racing community. Several flagship vehicles – including Rob Goss dominating X275 and LDR with his record-setting Dodge Challenger, “TopCat” which was the first stock motor/stock supercharger Hellcat to run in the 8-second zone, the “TomCat” Hellcat which ran 7.65 at 177.9 mph with a Whipple supercharger and Schwartz behind the wheel, Darrell and Tommy Falk’s street-legal and 8-second Challenger which has earned multiple wins, and many others – have regularly highlighted HHP’s impressive capabilities.
Schwartz has been a longtime supporter of both grassroots racing as well as the NMCA. He hosted the first “HEMI meet” in 2005 at New Jersey’s now-defunct Englishtown Raceway Park and founded the first Gen III HEMI-based series, the HHP Late Model MOPAR Series, in 2006; the latter of which eventually evolved into the Modern Street HEMI Shootout series which is still running strong.
“HHP worked with the NMCA in 2008 when we collaborated on the first-ever NMCA Late-Model HEMI Shootout,” noted Schwartz, who again partnered with the series to create the HHP Racing Quick 8 in 2022. Contested on Sundays during NMCA national events, takes the top eight finishers from the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout and runs them in a special heads-up competition to determine who is the King of the (HEMI) Hill. “It’s important to us to help put cash back into our customers’ pockets because without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

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