Wayne Cook
October 1, 2009
Photos By: Miles Cook

You may be tired of hearing us harp about the comparative virtues of disc brakes but in this case the advantages were especially significant. That's because our '67 Fairlane Ranchero with the factory drum brakes seemed even worse than the usual drum-brake cars we've owned and driven, and getting the rig stopped in a tidy fashion was a crapshoot. Sometimes drum brakes work well and stop a vehicle in a relatively straight line; but on this vehicle, a jam at the brake pedal meant a fight at the steering wheel to keep the car going forward in a straight line. As a matter of fact, during our stopping distance testing, where we were simulating a panic stop at 60 miles per hour, things got downright scary as the Ranchero pulled violently to the left much harder than during a normal stop, so the magnitude of our problem was made very apparent to us.

The OE drums needed shoes and obviously weren't adjusted optimally, so we were glad to get a complete disc brake conversion kit from Master Power Brakes onto our car as soon as possible. Once we completed the very straightforward installation we took the car out and set up the orange traffic cones once again. Even with brand-new pads that hadn't been properly bedded yet, the stopping distance from 60 mph went from 169 to 135 feet, a 34 foot improvement right off the bat. However, this isn't what pleased us most. The best part of the conversion was jamming the pedal hard with our hands off the wheel and having our car stop in a razor straight line. No pull, no vibration, and no thrill ride. To eliminate the tires as a variable in our brake testing, both before and after stopping distance numbers were taken with new wheels and tires in place. We know that the stopping distance will improve further once the pads are bedded, but there is no shortage of stopping power now.

To complement our disc-brake conversion we're very happy to be installing a set of Vintage 40 wheels from Vintage Wheel Works. These wheels are of amazing quality and are among the best looking rims out there, in our opinion. Available in a variety of sizes, we chose the 16x8 dimension to give us a nice step up from the stock 14-inch diameter, but still have enough room inside the Ranchero wheelhouses. The new wheels were shod with a set of BFGoodrich P245/50R16 tires and we know the Ranchero is going to look a whole lot better with the new Vintage 40s installed. While we considered going with a slightly larger tire size outback, we decided to use four tires of the same size in order to preserve rotation ability. Join us out in the Modified Mustangs & Fords shop and we'll show you just how easy Master Power makes it to upgrade your classic Ford or Mustang to the safety and comfort of front disc brakes. You'll also get a chance to compare and see what a dramatic difference a set of Vintage Wheel Works wheels will make in the appearance of your classic Ford.

Here's our front disc-brake conversion kit from Master Power Brakes. It features the four piston fixed caliper similar to the factory '67 Mustang disc-brake offering. The Ford four-piston caliper is almost identical to the caliper that was used on the Corvette beginning in '65 and these brakes were considered to be near state of the art and were the high-performance standard for many years. Also shown are the 1¼-inch ventilated rotors, along with the new dual reservoir master cylinder. The caliper mounting brackets come with new mounting hardware and new flex brake lines are part of the kit too. All bearings and seals are included and the bearing races come preinstalled in the rotors. Also included is an adjustable-length master cylinder pushrod. The only other things needed to buy are brake fluid and we opted to replace a few brake lines. The kit we used was PN DB1523M and it has a cost of $795. For the brake fluid and lines we spent about $40 at the local auto parts store.

The Vintage 40 Wheels from Vintage Wheel Works are a one piece cast aluminum wheel. Unlike the Vintage 45 wheels, these have a straight spoke instead of a curved spoke. They have a 4½-inch backspace and a zero offset. Their list price is $249.75 each. Each wheel includes the Vintage Wheel Works center cap and lug nuts.

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