Most classic car owners fall into one of two camps. On the one hand, we have a small minority of owners with rare, museum quality cars. In most cases, these folks are reluctant to make any changes to their cars because even the smallest modification means losing an important part of automotive history. On the other hand, we have classic car enthusiasts that modify their vehicles for better performance and safer operation.
In many instances, these owners are willing to look at making a change if better performance is achieved without substantially compromising the appearance of the car. A great example here is the brake system. Most classic cars came originally equipped with drum brakes—and even the best drum brake systems of yesteryear lacked in the performance department.
At the same time, classic car owners can make significant improvements to their brake systems without losing the curb appeal of their vehicles. To improve the performance of your classic, drum brake equipped vehicle, start by asking these three basic questions:
1. What is the best scenario for my vehicle?
We all want better brakes, and as classic car owners, we need them too! If someone pulls out in front of you, or misses a red light, chances are good that once you catch your breath, you’ll be asking yourself if you have enough brakes. I bet you say no!
So, how do you solve this problem? The first step is to determine what is available for your vehicle. Even if there isn’t a disc conversion kit available for your car, you may be able to score a better available feeling pedal through a power conversion. If you are required to keep the drum brakes, take a hard look at your existing system. Is your current brake system as currently configured the best you can do? Can the friction material on the brakes shoes be improved? Is there a larger bore wheel cylinder that might work better?
2. If you plan to convert to disc brakes, which kit is best for my vehicle--and my driving patterns?
Remember, planning a disc to drum brake conversion classic car is only the start of your journey toward more efficient braking—you still have to weigh the pros and cons of the available options. Do you just need a simple conversion so you feel more comfortable going to the Saturday night cruise-in, or have you decided that your stock discs aren’t cutting it as you try and push your car a little harder or maybe run some autocross events.
The choices out there can be somewhat overwhelming. There are single, dual, four, six and even more piston calipers available. What is right for you? Maybe you only have 15” wheels but you want the best available that will fit or maybe you have stepped up to an 18” wheel and want to fill up the wheel, but you don’t need the biggest and baddest system out there. We have many options from our Legend Series, the Rallye Series or the Pro Driver Series. One of them is certainly going to be right for you!
3. How will I know if I am getting ALL of the right parts?
This can be the most challenging part of converting to disc brakes. Nobody likes the thought of picking, choosing and praying that everything will work together. You buy the booster/master from one place, the disc brakes from another and then hardware from yet another place. You have asked questions but nobody can tell you it’s going to work together because nobody knows what the other guy is selling.
Therefore, your best option is to look at a company that can provide everything you will need in one simple stop. A brake system is just that, a system. Everything has to work together as one in order to provide you with the best possible results. If one part is off, everything is off.
Upgrading your brakes is one of the best modifications you can make to your classic car. Once completed, you’ll have better performance, improved safety, and enhanced value. Follow these three steps or thoughts and we are confident the next time you need more efficient braking, it will happen.