For most of us, performance has always been an important part of this hobby and will be until the sensation from punching the throttle and being shoved back in the seat no longer creates an ear-to-ear grin. However, while acceleration is a thrill, there are occasions when deceleration can create an even greater, albeit less enjoyable sensation often referred to as the pucker factor. Chances are if you drive any car, including a street rod, past the end of your driveway, sooner or later someone is going to do something stupid in your path; it's one of those experiences that makes every nerve ending in your body, particularly those in the seat of your pants, go on red alert. The ability to stop quickly may be the difference between a bent car and a bruised ego (or something much worse) and continuing on your merry way no worse for wear.
When our Road Tour car rolled down the assembly line in 1952, the Chevy was equipped with drum brakes at all four corners that were barely adequate to cope with the speeds generated by the 105-horse inline six. Of course, with the original suspension and 6.70-15-inch bias ply tires, better brakes would probably result in longer skid marks rather than shorter stopping distances. But that was then; now a state-of-the-art Morrison chassis and several times more rubber meets the road, and we needed brakes to match, so we turned to Wilwood for proper stoppers. To give our Chevy whoa commensurate with the go, we opted to have the crew at Woody's Hot Rodz, builders of this year's car, install Wilwood's Superlite Big Brake kits (part number 140-9919-D for the front, 140-9219-D in the rear). The front kits are engineered as complete assemblies for conventional pin, non-ABS front spindles, and the rears include parking brake assemblies.
Here's a look at the components in the kits:
Wilwood has always been a leader in disc brake caliper technology, a theme they continue with the Superlite 6-Piston SL6 Calipers we used on the front of our Chevy. Based on a fully CNC-machined billet body, these calipers use six stainless steel pistons with what is called a differential bore configuration. Adapted from Wilwood's racing technology, it means that the piston sizes are staggered, in pairs, along the length of the caliper body. According to Wilwood, "clamping pressure is proportionately distributed to provide balanced pad loading with even wear properties at all loads and temperatures. Pad life is extended and performance is measurably improved." We all know this, as they really work.
In the rear we used Superlite 4R calipers. Also made from billet aluminum, these four-piston calipers are said to have the highest clamping efficiency and the lowest deflection of any caliper in its class.
Another unique feature found on both styles of calipers is described as radial mounting--it allows for adjusting the caliper in two planes (closer or further from the centerline of the spindle pin or axle on one plane--centering the pads over the rotor on the other).
The front hubs are forged from aluminum, then CNC-machined. They come complete with bearing races installed and new bearings, grease seals, screw-on billet aluminum hubcaps, and 1/2-20 RH grade-8 wheel studs.
Think of these as the mounts for the rotors. The hats bolt to the hubs, and the rotors bolt to the hats.
Wilwood offers two styles of rotors: SRP rotors are cross-drilled and have slots in the faces not only for aesthetics, but the venting and cleaning action of the holes and slots reduce pad glaze, dissipate surface heat, and minimize irregular pad build-up on the rotor faces. To prevent corrosion, SRP rotors are treated with a silver zinc wash. GT rotors have asymmetrical face slotting and individual dynamic balancing, but are not cross-drilled. We went with the 13-inch SRP versions for front and rear.