Frame-mounted master cylinders have always made sense on early rods because underhood space is at such a premium. But when you start getting into machines from the late-'40s and early-'50s, swinging pedals and firewall-mounted master cylinders are often a more convenient option.
Todd Walton started thinking about such a setup for '49-54 Chevys after his brother Dane mounted a power booster and dual-chamber master cylinder under the floor of his '54 Chevy. The booster was one of the lowest components on the car, and one of the first things to scrape on speed bumps and driveways. It was an inconvenience at best, and a potential safety concern at worst; the car actually had to be towed home once when the booster was damaged enough to lock up the brakes.
As it happens, Todd's company, Walton Fabrication, was in the process of engineering a line of custom chassis components for '49-54 Chevys, so Todd put a swinging brake pedal assembly on his "to do" list. Well, it's done, and we thought you might be interested in checking it out.
The kit is quite impressive in its simplicity. A 1/8-inch-thick plate takes the place of an OEM access panel on the firewall, providing a mounting location for the booster and master cylinder. Extra strength comes from a bracket assembly that links the panel to the dash and provides a mount for the swinging pedal. A new dual-chamber master cylinder and 8-inch booster come with the kit and can be set up for drum/drum, disc/drum, or disc/disc applications. The master cylinder is actually an early Camaro-based part, making it easy to service or replace if needed.
In addition to the clean design, the kit is a breeze to install. It took Todd less than an hour to demonstrate for our cameras, and we're confident that most weekend warriors could do it just as quickly. And with the prospect of gaining a safe, slick brake setup that's simple to maintain and service, we don't know why you wouldn't want to.