With the turn of the new millennium, the "high-tech" theme has firmly integrated itself into the automotive aftermarket and onto many vintage machines. Simply stated, more and more late-model technology is finding its way onto the chassis of early American musclecars.
Some of the more popular high-tech upgrades are disc brake conversions. The binders on most early cars were not very good, to say the least, for the level of performance of some of today's pavement-pounding boulevard bruisers.
For serious performance enthusiasts, front and rear disc brakes have become a necessity. For canyon carvers and g-Machines, rear discs are one of those additions that go a long way in helping a car builder attain his or her goals. Performance improvements aside, they look really trick, especially on a 30-year-old hot rod.
The rear disc system we will be installing is the latest setup from Wilwood. It is a completely bolt-on rear assembly that features solid, one-piece rotors with an integral drum parking brake. Gone is the need for an additional caliper as an emergency brake. The new kit uses an aluminum caliper bracket, which incorporates the two-shoe drum assembly that is bolted onto the rearend housing in place of the backing plate.
Installation is a breeze: Once the new caliper bracket is bolted in place of the stock backing plate, the axles are slipped back into their axle tubes, the new rotors are placed over the studs, the trick Dynalite calipers are fit in place, and you're finished. The only things left to do are slip the brake pads in, install a proportioning valve into the brake line system, and plumb the calipers to the existing brake lines; then you're ready for the improved stopping power and awesome, high-tech looks these binders provide.
If it sounds too easy, it is. The whole install took about two hours to complete. Of course, we were fortunate to locate a 12-bolt that was out of a car, so it would be easier for you to see how the Wilwood kit was installed. You'll more than likely do the swap with the rear in place, but anyway you look at it, this system adds a new dimension to a classic hot rod. Plus, there are no extras needed to mount up parking brake. It comes pre-assembled to the backing plate or caliper bracket. It is just a simple part you take out of the box and bolt on.