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Life and career
Zwart was born in Long Beach, California, and learned to drive in his father’s 1964 Porsche 901, chassis number 35. Growing up next door to his childhood friend and future automotive designer, Freeman Thomas, the two shared a lifelong obsession with automobiles and Porsches in particular. In high school, Zwart worked as a veterinary assistant in order to save enough money to eventually purchase a yellow Porsche 914/6. In 1997 he ran that same 914/6 in the 10,000 mile, 25 day, Panama to Alaska Rally winning second place overall. In 1979, after graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he began work as a still photographer shooting Road & Track Magazine covers, calendars, and article photos.
In 1989, following an American Photography Magazine cover story on Zwart’s automotive photography work, he was given the opportunity to direct television commercials. He joined Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma to form @radical.media. His commercial client list includes; Porsche, Cadillac, BMW, Ford, PlayStation, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and Forza Motorsport 5/ Xbox.
Zwart is known[by whom?] for his camera philosophy of “full immersion” perspective, an expertise consulted by “Rush” director Ron Howard. He has shot in over 30 countries throughout his career working on a range of international advertising campaigns and TV series work. On September 20, 2013, working with San Francisco-based advertising agency twofifteenmccan, Zwart revealed the world’s fastest Zoetrope in the form of a two-minute film entitled “Forza/Filmspeed.”
Zwart started road racing Formula Fords during the mid-1980s on the West Coast of the United States which led to an interest in rallying. In 1989 and 1990 he drove a Mazda in the US Pro Rally Championship, eventually winning the Open Class National Championship. Zwart also competed in the New Zealand round of the World Rally Championship driving a Mitsubishi EVO in 1993.
Zwart is noted for his wins at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. In 1994, he entered the event with a Porsche and won the Open Class Championship. This success led to a number of programs; driving 10 different Porsches resulting in 8 different class championships over a period of 14 years, including his 2015 win in the Time Attack Class. In 2011, he competed in what was essentially a production street car, a Porsche 997 GT2 RS. The accomplishment of driving the Porsche from Southern California to the famous hill climb in Colorado and successfully racing at Pikes Peak was highlighted in the short film “Porsche, the Road to Pikes Peak,” directed by Will Roegge.
- Porsche 917x17: The Cars and Drivers in Studio, ISBN 978-1-935007-04-3, Hardcover with slipcase, 13"x11", 264 pages, Published in 2009
- Three Points of Contact, ISBN 978-1-893618-99-2, Hardcover with slipcase, 13"x11", 152 pages, Published in 2008
- Porsche Rennsport, 1-893618-69-2, Hardcover with slipcase, 15"x10", 192 pages, published 2006
- Jeff Zwart on IMDb
- Rennsport Randomness: An Interview with Jeff Zwart Car and Driver Magazine article, October 18, 2011 by Sam Smith
- Commercial reel on @radical.media website
- Road and Track magazine article
- Automobile Magazine Article from August, 2013 by Michael Jordan
- Jeff Zwart client list on Radial Media's site
- Review; Porsche Rennsport on David Bull Publishing
- Jeff Zwart's Hill Climb driving is the stuff of the commercials he directs
- Ride Along as Jeff Zwart's 911 GT3 Decimates Pikes Peak
- Works: Jeff Zwart by Fatlace
- “Porsche, the road to Pikes Peak” Video A short film Directed by Will Roegge, Sunday June 26, 2011