Brake upgrades don't have to be elaborate or cost-prohibitive. If you're in the market for an increase in performance on the street for your daily driver, then a front drum-to-disc upgrade is going to make a huge difference without killing the bank. Since the front brakes do more than 60 percent of the vehicle's braking, just replacing the old drums will net you a significant gain in performance along with better pedal feel and cooling. A lot of the drivers out there won't be flogging their rides on open-track days or performing 60-0 mph stops on a daily basis. However, having the confidence to know you could is always a bonus. Most rides will see light duty on the track, with most miles accumulated on the streets in and around town through traffic and to local car-digs.
Forty years ago drum-brakes were outfitted on nearly everything, from delivery trucks to four-door saloons. Our mildly modified '64 Nova Wagon was one such vehicle. While that may have been more than adequate at one time, it's fairly antiquated by today's standards. Increased freeway speeds, frequent traffic stops, and high-zoot engines won't allow for any lacking in the wagon's clamping department. To combat this problem, we needed a full front brake upgrade complete with everything from the rotors to lines. Pirate Jack Brakes had what we needed. We got the full-deal with one kit that provided everything we needed for the swap, including new stock-height spindles, 11-inch cross-drilled rotors, calipers, bearings, lines, and even the master cylinder in one complete kit for under $700.
We should mention that the drum-to-disc upgrade took the better part of the day, but it only required basic handtools. Follow along as we modernize yesteryear's technology for a set of modern-day binders.
What We Did
Upgraded the front factory drums with a modern set of 11-inch cross-drilled rotors
Stop faster and smoother with less drama and fade-free performance
'64-72 A-, F-, and X-body front disc conversion. Complete stock-height kit with 11-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors, loaded large GM calipers, caliper brackets, backing plates, stock-height spindles, braided stainless steel hoses with banjo bolts, vacuum hose with intake manifold fittings, bearings, seals, dust caps, spindle nuts, spindle washers, cast iron master cylinder, brass proportioning valve kit, and a power brake booster.