It's an amazing fact, but in spite of there being a huge disc brake aftermarket, more than 80 percent of muscle cars and hot rods by our reckoning still have their original brake systems. With the exception of a few rare cars that belong in museums, there's no good justification for putting yourself and others at risk with hardware that's a half-century old. It seems everybody reaches for the catalog to put a new exhaust or carburetor on, but if the brakes aren't outright broken, 4 out of 5 times they get ignored.
We realize that not everybody has shamelessly jumped on the Pro Touring bandwagon with huge wheels, wide rubber band tires, and pizza-platter brakes, if for no other reason than it's just plain expensive. Moreover, not everybody wants brain fluid leaking out their ear during the highway on-ramp merge; some hot rods and the gearheads who own them just aren't built for that. We hear you, and that's why we're building Project Valiant, a low-key granny mobile with patina paint, a flat hood, and 15-inch steelies. When completed, our 1968 Plymouth Valiant 100 will look nearly stock, yet have over 650 hp on tap from an all-aluminum low-deck Wedge built by Indy Cylinder Head.
With that kind of power on tap, we need to be able to safely slow and turn this thing without cashing in the life insurance policy. With the handling duties fully covered by a Reilly Motorsports' (RMS) AlterKtion front coilover suspension and Street-Lynx rear four-link suspension, we now turn our attention to the brakes. Fortunately, there are some very affordable options for us that fit inside our chosen 15-inch Coker steel wheels and redline tires—both of them from Wilwood. These consist of Wilwood's forged four-piston Dynalite calipers mated to a pair of .81-inch vented 11-inch discs up front, and forged four-piston DynaPro calipers with 11-inch hats (with integral parking brake drums) in the rear. Both systems are way, way under a grand a piece, and with a little bit of online searching, you can find both 11-inch systems for even less through mail order. (Strange, RMS, and Summit Racing are good starting points.) The best thing about these systems from Wilwood is that they easily fit inside a 15-inch rim, and in some cases, even 14-inch rims. We're showing you details of our Valiant install here, but know that Wilwood makes application-specific kits for most 1960s and 1970s muscle cars from GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Chances are, they have a Dynalite front kit for your car, whatever the brand or budget. (GM guys have it even easier as Wilwood also offers scandalously affordable and attractive dual-piston caliper upgrades in D52 and D154 pad designs that maintain the stock discs.)
We're not going to attack any high-speed road courses with our Dynalite kit up front, but we wouldn't have a problem hitting the Goodguys autocross with them, or hauling the Valiant down from 130-plus mph in the shutdown area of the dragstrip. Mostly, we want to heave those old stock drum brakes as far as possible—they are flat-out dangerous when mated to any V-8 mill, let alone our 500ci Indy wedge. Being scared behind the wheel can sometimes be fun, but it's never fun when your car swerves uncontrollably from unequal braking force, or worse, slams into the back of another car. A Wilwood Dynalite front brake kit can make an immediate and dramatic difference without forcing you to buy new wheels and tires, or changing your car's calculated appearance. Relating to Mopars specifically, more kudos go to RMS. They make a master cylinder kit for $299 that allows you to install any two-bolt GM-style master cylinder onto a Chrysler. RMS offers this in kit form, and it includes a ⅞-inch bore Wilwood master cylinder (for manual brakes), and an adjustable pushrod end to retain your stock pedal and pivot bolt.
Helping us to put all this great hardware into play on Project Valiant is Outlaw Motorsports of Riverside, California. They have been building serious muscle cars, hot rods, race cars, trucks, and other serious play toys for decades. They've got a serious arsenal of skills that range from chassis work, fabrication, engine building, and body and paint, to chassis dyno tuning, nitrous sales, and wheel/tire packages. Proprietor Ron Aschtgen got our Wilwood install done in short order while we recorded everything on video and still pictures. Here's how it unfolded.
More Video Online!
Wanna see how the installation on our Wilwood Dynalite brake kit went down? Dying to see the progress on Project Valiant? Head over to the video page, or YouTube.com/PopularHotRodding and watch the video "Wilwood Dynalite Disc Brake Installation."