Jim Smart
August 26, 2011

Although the federal government can be a pain in the neck to automakers and individuals in terms of tougher safety and emission standards, it has contributed greatly to both vehicle safety and improved emission standards for the past half century. Much of it began with seat belts, padded dashboards, collapsible steering columns, impact absorbing crush zones, catalytic converters, and better braking systems.

Most classic Mustangs rolled off the assembly line with four-wheel manual drum brakes. Prior to '67, Mustang braking systems consisted of a single reservoir master cylinder tied to all four brakes. Drum brake systems got a smaller master cylinder borrowed from the Falcon. The few cars with optional disc brakes, including factory GTs, received a higher capacity master cylinder with a factory-adjusted proportioning valve to modulate rear drum brake performance. The problem with the single-reservoir approach to hydraulic brakes is the risk of complete and total brake failure should you experience wheel cylinder, brake caliper, or master cylinder hydraulic failure.

Beginning with the '67 model year, the federal government mandated dual braking systems with dual-reservoir master cylinders, meaning one cylinder, or bowl, for the rear brakes and another for the front, with both systems separated by a distribution block and warning light switch. If you experienced the misfortune of front or rear brake hydraulic failure, a piston dividing the two systems would slide in the direction of the failed system to trigger a "BRAKE" warning light. Even better, you retained some braking function from either the front or rear brakes to help get you stopped.

If you own a '65-'66 Mustang with a single brake hydraulic system and drive your Mustang on a regular basis, it's time to consider converting your brakes to a dual hydraulic braking system for a safer ride. Quality components are available from Stainless Steel Brakes, which can set you up with a dual reservoir master cylinder for a disc brake system, and Classic Tube, which offers pre-bent lines. If your Mustang has four-wheel drum brakes, seriously consider at least a front disc brake upgrade to improve safety. And if you can afford it, go for disc brakes at all four corners. The Force 10 from Stainless Steel Brakes is a high-performance disc brake for the street. However, more affordable systems are available from SSBC to fit your Mustang's factory spindles.

Your single to dual braking system can be configured in at least two ways. You can use a '67-up dual braking system distribution block to divide the two systems and even set up a "BRAKE" warning light for system pressure differential. All you need is switched and fused power from the ignition switch. The Force 10 from Stainless Steel Brakes is a high-performance disc brake for the street.

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