Big brakes are all the rage these days. After all, with modern cars having high-tech items like ABS, we’ve become accustomed to our cars stopping on a dime. Splicing antilock brakes into our classic Camaros is a huge undertaking, so the typical plan of attack is to "plus-size" the binders in search of modern performance. The problem is that larger brakes necessitate bigger wheels, and many Camaro enthusiasts would just as soon stick with smaller rollers, most notably the iconic 15-inch GM Rally wheels.
Wilwood has been working this “big brake performance in a small package” angle for a while now, and what they’ve come up with is a solution perfect for guys that want modern performance that doesn’t detract from the classic look of their F-body.
For the front brakes, they just released their D52 caliper, which replaces the cast iron single piston calipers found on the front of many ’68-96 GM vehicles. The twin-piston aluminum caliper is stronger than the stock versions, and with features like stainless steel pistons, they won’t have the same rust, bore pitting, and seal failures that plague the OEM calipers.
They also tackled the rear system with a new disc brake conversion kit centered around their D154 caliper. Like the D52 pieces for the front, these are also twin-piston calipers, but the pistons are much smaller to achieve the correct brake bias. This kit includes rotors with an internal parking brake system along with the brackets and parking brake cables to make it all work. And like the front, they fit comfortably inside most 15-inch wheels.
Mark Olivera loves his ’69 Camaro, and when he’s not deployed to some sandpit overseas, nothing makes him happier than cruising his red SS around Southern California. He’s always had enough “go” from the big-block under the hood, but the brakes have always been on the “iffy” side. While he would love better brakes, he’s not about to give up his Rally wheels, which made him the perfect test case for Wilwood’s new widgets. So, with parts in hand, we headed over to Best of Show Coach Works in Escondido, California, to see if we could shoehorn big-brake performance into a small-wheel package.