We've gone about this a little bit backwards: we fitted the Crossfire Z with all the best components from Hotchkis to improve the handling and help it get around the corners as quickly and safely as possible. But before we can really put the car through its paces on the windy roads of the foothills, we needed to make sure that we get it stopped. You just can't dive into a corner by simply decelerating; if you want to wring it out, you've gotta have the hoofs to slow it down quickly. Since we've attacked this project trying to keep things somewhat affordable, we're going to stay with the stock rear drum brakes for now. So, the logical place to begin is on the front. While we contemplated a simple pad and rotor upgrade, once we put a pencil to paper, we figured that the Stainless Steel Brake Company's (SSBC) Quick Change Aluminum Caliber Upgrade Kit we've had our eyes on would be worth the extra expense. Besides, nothing says "cool" like a set of aluminum calibers peeking out from behind the spokes of your billet wheels. Add a set of slotted, and cross-drilled rotors like SSBC's new Big Bites and the "Wow Factor" is complete.
The SSBC front Quick Change caliper kit is designed to work with the factory spindles, brake hoses, and rotors with no modifications. The company claims that it can be installed by anyone that has replaced a caliper on their car before. The Upgrade Kit (#A181 $495) comes complete with a pair of SSBC's Force 10 Sport Twin 2-piston forged-aluminum calipers (you have your choice of seven different powder-coated colors as well as a highly-polished finish), high-performance carbon metallic brake pads, and all of the necessary fasteners. To complete the installation, we added an Earl's Hyperfirm stainless steel brake hose kit (#28A090ERL $71.95), which also comes with the rear line. This is always a worthwhile and cost-effective upgrade to the stock rubber hoses.
Burn 'em In
Having just completed one of the simplest and most straight forward installations of an aftermarket part that we've ever done, we were real anxious to get the car to the track and see how the SSBC's measured up to the stock units. While we did make it out to the track, the new rotors require 200 miles of driving before the zinc is properly worn off of the rotors and the new carbon metallic pads are correctly bedded in. So, as of this writing, we haven't made any banzai test stops. We'll report on our findings in the next issue. Until then, we'll just enjoy the newfound aesthetics that the billet brakes have brought to our disco-era beauty.