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Stainless Steel Brakes - Super Chevy Shop Tour

A Look Inside The Jonas Family's Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation

By Barry Kluczyk

Michael Jonas readily admits his '89 Corvette, which is powered by a 410hp small-block, has too much braking capability for a street car.

"It's a little excessive," he says. "They're too much for the street, but I usually use the car on a road course, anyway."

Indeed, a look through the wheels of the black Vette reveals nothing but four circular walls of brake rotor-thirteen-inchers all around on a car wearing 17-inch wheels.

"They're the first set of production Force 10 brakes we made," Jonas says proudly, adding with equal pride, " From 60, the car averages 93-ft stops. If I stand on them real quick, I'll beat the ABS."

Centering his performance expertise on a car's "whoa," rather than "go," has been in Jonas's blood for more than 25 years. That's when his father, George, began manufacturing upgraded replacement parts for Corvettes.

It was 1975, and George Jonas was at his wits' end trying to solve the fluid leak problems of his vintage Corvette's front caliper sleeves. Relying on his engineering experience and the personal know-how of a real enthusiast, Jonas designed and manufactured stainless steel replacement sleeves for the leaky brakes.

When other Corvette aficionados heard of Jonas's revolutionary fix, they beat a path to his door... And left little puddles of brake fluid once they reached it. More than 25 years later, Jonas's solution to fix his personal car has resulted in a multifaceted business that supplies brakes and brake accessories to enthusiasts of almost all makes and models.

Although George still has a hand in the business, the reigns of Stainless Steel Brakes have been turned over to Michael. And though it seems a symbolic shift to a newer generation, the change is manifested in the technological leaps the company is currently undertaking. On our recent visit to Stainless' Clarence, New York (near Buffalo), headquarters, for example, one of the engineers was getting his fingerprints all over the keyboard of the company's new computer-aided design terminal.

"We've just started to design new products with it," Michael Jonas says. "We're still learning, but already we're seeing that this investment is going lessen the time it takes to test and, ultimately, manufacture new parts."

The design program allows engineers to design and test rotors, calipers, and brake pads. An "exploded" view of the design even allows the parts to be assembled on-screen, which allows the engineers to check for fitment interference problems before someone starts cutting into real steel or aluminum.

By Barry Kluczyk
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