Terminology for the human anatomy and an automobile's mechanical workings are often interchanged. For example, we talk about the car's oil as its blood, sometimes the computer is referred to as its brain, and most readers are familiar with the old cliché of the iron lung in reference to the engine.
The same analogy can be applied to the braking system by classifying the brake lines as arteries. These arteries run up and down the chassis circulating the brake fluid to each corner and allow the binders to function. Over time, these arteries eventually corrode and need to be replaced-enter the latest scenario with our resident '71 Camaro project vehicle, dubbed Back To The Street, or BTTS for short. An investigation during the installation of our front and rear suspensions revealed rotting brake lines and our project manager-and Mercer County Vocational School shop teacher-Bob Gonier deemed it mandatory to replace all the pieces and parts of the brake system.
Most of the time, people pay more attention to the fancy parts, namely the large discs and calipers that are seen through the stylish wheels. But behind those flashy parts is a series of hard and soft lines carrying brake fluid as part of a hydraulic system that commands the brake movements based on the driver's use of the brake pedal. This month, we got down and dirty with running the arteries to the Wilwood brakes-truth be told, Gonier and Master Tech shop teacher Mike Cramer did all the work and we just shot the photos and took notes.
Running brake lanes is a basic and tedious job that requires a few special tools to do it properly and just as importantly, neatly. We turned to Inline Tube for the brake lines and the tools to bend it all up. Other essential components like the master cylinder, booster, and proportioning valve came from Classic Performance Products (CPP). Of course the crown jewels of our system are the Wilwood 12-inch front disc brakes, 11-inch rotors out back, and massive six-piston calipers for the maximum in gripping power.
The brake system is going to be put to good use as the suspension, fore and aft, has been upgraded to make BTTS a serious handling machine. In the front, Gonier and his students bolted on a Fatman Fabrications G-Tech front suspension system along with adjustable QA1 coilovers. The control arms are shorter, allowing us to run wider front wheels for more grip. In the back, Fatman set us up with a four-link system for the ultimate in adjustability on the street and track. We added QA1 coilover shocks, and Gonier welded on all the suspension and shock brackets. The final pieces of the handling puzzle are the stylish Rocket Racing wheels and Nitto 555 rubber.
The suspension is going to be put to good use thanks to the prodigious horsepower underhood. A GM Performance Parts ZZ454 crate engine is being stuffed under the National Parts Depot cowl induction hood.
The transmission of choice is a fortified 4L80E that was built by Level 10, which also supplied a matching torque converter for the big-block Chevy. With a little luck, we will have BTTS looking like a hot rod soon enough when Gonier and his students paint the Camaro in a unique blue hue and add white stripes.
Once this installment was completed we cleaned up our photo equipment and vacated the school property so Gonier could get back to work on making sure all the body parts are perfect and primed to perfection. It's been a long road to get this former dragstrip-only Camaro back to the street, but we are still plugging away on it.