Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 1, 2009

It's the best of both worlds-the cool looks of a vintage Mustang with the awesome braking performance of the SVT Cobra, not to mention modern 17-inch wheels and performance tires. A new kit from Vintage Venom makes it possible by utilizing used components from a '99-'04 Cobra or brand-new Cobra brakes from Ford Racing. Larger 17- or 18-inch wheels are required for clearance. A wide variety of late-model ('94-'04) Mustang wheels serve the purpose quite well and are readily available used or new from Ford Racing.

The Vintage Venom Cobra brake conversion kit provides caliper brackets, required spacers, longer ARP wheel studs, and needed Grade 8 fasteners. Cobra brakes aren't provided, but you can obtain them used or from Ford Racing, which offers options right up to Brembo versions.

A few additional items are also required, including late-model Cobra brake hoses, emergency brake cables, and various fittings, all available from your local Ford dealership's parts department. The explicit Vintage Venom web-based instructions provide the part numbers. We also chose to convert to power brakes using the popular and easy-to-install kit from Trans-Am Racing. Vintage Venom says the conversion works fine with manual brakes as long as the 15/16-inch master cylinder is used for its mechanical advantage.

Ford Racing offers a number of brake options for the Vintage Venom conversion, including standard 3-inch Cobra rotors or cross-drilled and slotted versions, 11.65-inch Cobra rear rotors, black Cobra calipers or red Bullitt calipers, or the M-2300-R kit that comes with the Cobra front caliper, rotors, and hoses. A Brembo kit, M-2300-X, with four-piston calipers and slotted rotors is also available.

A few additional components, such as emergency brake cables and brake hoses, must be purchased from a Ford dealership parts department or through aftermarket sources. The Vintage Venom instructions tell you what you need for your application and provides part numbers.

Seventeen-inch-or-larger wheels are required to clear the Cobra brakes. Vintage Venom recommends 17 by 8 by 30 mm, the same size as late-model Mustang wheels, most of which look great on a vintage Mustang. Obviously, a used set will work, but you can also obtain brand-new Bullitt-style, Mach 1, or Cobra wheels from Ford Racing. The Cobra wheels are required if using Ford Racing's Brembo kit.

We installed the Vintage Venom kit with Cobra brakes from Ford Racing on Merv Rego's '66 K-GT fastback at Classic Creations of Central Florida. A recently completed restoration with a few mods, such as red LeMans stripes and a body-color engine compartment, the fastback was a perfect candidate for the Vintage Venom brake upgrade. Because late-model Bullitt-style wheels look particularly good on '65-'66 fastbacks, we acquired a set from Ford Racing and shod them with 245-45-ZR17 Proxes performance tires from Toyo.

We also chose to upgrade Merv's K-GT to power brakes utilizing the power brake kit, with aluminum adapter, from Trans-Am Racing.

A fair word of warning: This is not a simple afternoon bolt-on. While the Vintage Venom brackets and the Cobra brakes are a simple R&R procedure, you will need the expertise and tools to create custom brake lines, adapt the vintage Mustang's front emergency brake cables to the rear late-model cables, and precisely open up the lug holes on the hubs for the press-in installation of longer studs. You'll also need the ability, or the services of a local machine shop, to press-off and press-on rear axle bearings to allow the installation of the rear brackets.

With both Merv and technician Matt Simmons handling the work, the conversion was accomplished within two days in Classic Creations' well-equipped shop. Our photos cover the highlights; the 67 pages of Vintage Venom online instructions include specific procedures, torque specifications, part numbers for needed components, and detailed photos.