As our 1960 Corvette project rolls along, we are dealing with some of the smaller tasks involved in a frame-up build. One such project is connecting the parking brake cables from our Wilwood disc brakes so they can be actuated by the factory parking brake lever.
It is this melding of the old and new that we find most enjoyable. As it turns out, the original 1960 Corvette parking brake cable, handle, and lever were easily adapted to our modern parking brake cables.
The process begins at the rear where a set of Wilwood brake cables connect to the internal parking brake on each rear caliper. The parking brake works like a small drum brake, utilizing the internal diameter of the rotor hat as a drum. Pull the cables and they move a lever that pushes the brake shoes out against the drum and you have a very effective parking brake. The trick is to mount the cables with enough leverage to activate the brake, and of course that lever must be designed to pull the cables. Since we were able to use the factory Corvette lever and the original mounting hole, the force required at the parking brake handle will be the same as the stock parking brake.
We began at the brake caliper where we connected the parking brake cable and laid out the rest of the cable heading forward. By following the rear portion of the X-member the cables would leave ample room for exhaust, and at first glance it appeared the factory Corvette brake lever should work well with the new cables.
As it turned out, after some basic fabrication the factory parking brake lever and associated cables worked perfectly with our new Wilwood brake cable kit. While we had the original cable and it seemed to still function, it was also heavily rusted and 57 years old. We opted for a new cable assembly from Corvette Central simply because it was relatively inexpensive and it seemed like good insurance against future problems. We also ordered a new lever return spring since our old spring actually broke during the removal process.
This entire project consumed a couple of evenings, much of that time was spent designing the system, figuring the best route for the cables, and then actually fabricating the pieces to make it work. In the end, we had an all-new parking brake system that works perfectly, is fully adjustable, and blends well with both the chassis and the interior of our 1960 Corvette.
01. Our project car has Wilwood rear brakes mounted to a Currie rearend, so we used this Wilwood internal parking brake kit to make the connection to the 1960 Corvette brake lever.
02. First, slide the supplied clevis over the cable. The braided cable can then be slid into the cable cover.
03. This is the proper orientation for the clevis on the cable. The brake end of the cable has the end lug already crimped to the cable.
04. The slot in the clevis simply slips over the parking brake lever that protrudes from the internal parking brake assembly. The cable cover is then fastened to the bracket. Always use antiseize on aluminum threads.
05. With the cables connected to the brakes, we moved forward to figure out how to use the stock 1960 parking brake lever with the new Wilwood brakes. We clamped a piece of 3/16-inch flat stock in place to take initial measurements.
06. This is the finished bracket. To align the cables with the ’60 Corvette lever we welded an additional piece of 3/16-inch flat stock on both ends. This placed the cable mount 3/8-inch below the X-member.
07. Next, we routed the cables using the original parking cable routing brackets for support. This leaves plenty of room for exhaust components. The cables were shortened to the proper length at this time.
08. The Wilwood kit even comes with stainless cable clamps. We mounted the clamp to the original cable bracket using a stainless steel button head bolt.
09. On the end of the Corvette lever we attached a new return spring sourced through Corvette Central. The spring holds the arm back and also pulls the lever upward to keep the long lever level. The Corvette parking brake cable is attached to the lever using the factory connection.
10. We bought a new parking brake cable from Corvette Central and used the factory clamp to locate the end of the shield cable. This is on the front portion of the chassis X-member.
11. The new cable includes a rubber protector where the cable passes through the front X-member. The cable has ample adjustment where it connects to the rear parking brake lever.
12. The bolt slides through a recess in the cable to lock everything in place. After the body is back on the chassis we will do final adjustments so the original brake handle applies the parking brake. As per the factory manual, seven clicks of the parking brake handle should fully engage the parking brake.