Having the privilege of participating in the Project American Heroes buildup of the Cars Inc./Roadster Shop 1957 Chevy convertible, our military personnel are more and more in our thoughts and prayers. The men and women of our armed forces are laying down their lives to protect our country. Military images and parallels seem stronger, and more prevalent than ever, even some that apply to our beloved hot rodding hobby.
Project American Heroes (www.projectamerican heroes.org) will be the culmination of some of the best minds, motors, and machinery available anywhere in the world to produce a safe and reliable street machine with top ranking performance at all levels: acceleration, handling, and braking. There is great anticipation of being catapulted to exhilarating highway-legal speeds via the big-block powerplant. Concurrently, we are consumed with building Project American Heroes with a braking system that represents some of the best the aftermarket has to offer. All these parts will come together built on the foundation of the spectacular Roadster Shop Tri-Five chassis to produce one amazing, military-strength ride.
Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation is up to providing the equipment needed to not have to "think" about braking during road trips in the '57 Chevy ragtop. In business for over 30 years, SSBC has worked hard to provide the ultimate braking systems for all late-model performance cars, musclecars, street rods, trucks, SUVs, and sport compacts. With constant research and development to provide superior braking to a broad range of customers, SSBC presently offers individually designed brake packages for over 400 specific applications.
The SSBC four-wheel disc-brake kit called into duty for Project American Heroes matches 13-inch front-vented rotors with 12-inch rears. Instead of cross-drilling the rotors, SSBC's rotors are "Turbo slotted." Cross-drilling can cause severe stress fractures, shortening the life of the rotor and possibly leading to an unsafe situation. The CNC-machined Turbo slotted rotors provide airflow to both cool and clean the rotor. Optional "Xtra-Life" plating, three layers of an anti-corrosion material, resists rust and keeps non-wear surfaces looking great for a long time.
Far superior to the typical OEM single-piston caliper, a multiple-piston caliper improves braking by applying stronger and more equal pressure over the full face of the pads. SSBC offers both three- and four-piston calipers. The three-piston "Tri-Power" calipers will be used on Project American Heroes. The calipers are constructed of aircraft-quality aluminum, reducing unsprung weight for better ride quality and handling. Corrosion-free stainless steel pistons minimize heat transfer to the brake fluid for optimum performance, and come in various sizes, depending on the application.
There is no doubt the industry standard today is big brakes, with discs at all four corners. The improvements in caliper design, larger rotors, and weight reduction make rear drum brakes seem more and more archaic. Most rear drums do very little for stopping power, which is usually why they last two to three times longer than the front pads. By adding rear disc brakes, a performance vehicle will add as much as 30 percent more brake force to the braking system.
While we were installing our SSBC disc brake package, the crew at the Roadster Shop was also busy plumbing the chassis with brake lines from Classic Tube. Classic Tube not only provides brake lines in stainless steel, steel, or aluminum, their state-of-the-art computer-driven CNC tube benders can match bends from blueprints or original lines.
To top it off, the impeccable installation of the brake lines by Doug Leetzow of the Roadster Shop matched what Project American Heroes is all about: building a landmark hot rod worthy of identification with the bright, courageous men and women in our Armed Forces.