Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
August 21, 2012

We find it rather surprising when we walk through a car show or a row of cars at a cruise night that most car enthusiasts must feel that a quality set of brakes is surely overrated. They must be from what we've seen, otherwise, every car would have four-wheel-disc brakes right? OK, all kidding aside, brakes are a very important part of the overall package. We love to have power under our right foot, a great sounding exhaust, and a sweet set of wheels with low-profile rubber, but having a good set of brakes on your restomod just rounds out that package. Even if you never see a road course or dragstrip, having a solid braking system can mean the difference between stopping in time for that fast-changing red light, or putting you half-way into the intersection (or possibly completely through it!).

Our High School Hauler has been seeing a steady stream of improvements since we first introduced it. Now that the owner has more horsepower under the hood, an AOD in the tunnel, a nice limited-slip unit out back wrapped in some stout gears, and new wheels wrapped in modern rubber that isn't dry rotting, he's actually been driving the car a whole lot more than when we first started. The bad news is the '70 coupe is still rocking its stock manual drum brakes at all four corners. While the '70 did sport a dual-reservoir master cylinder for safety, the manual drums had noticeable chatter and the pedal effort was something the owner was not used to, as his two other vehicles are newer and feature power disc brakes.

To give the Hauler some much needed improvement in the braking department, we looked to the muscle car brake upgrade experts at Master Power Brakes. Bolting up a set of huge binders is a great idea, but can put a real dent in your wallet. We're also limited by our new 15-inch wheels we recently installed. Lastly, we wanted to upgrade to a vacuum brake booster for power assist and a more modern pedal feel that will inspire braking confidence and keep the pedal feel consistent from his daily driver to when he jumps into the '70 for a spin.

We spoke with the folks at Master Power Brakes with these parameters in mind and they recommended Master Power's DB1521PANS power disc brake kit. At only $895, this complete kit has everything we need to upgrade the front drum brakes on our '70 to power disc brakes.

The kit features 11-1/4-inch vented rotors, four-piston calipers loaded with pads, mounting hardware, a single-diaphragm brake booster, a dual-reservoir disc/drum master cylinder, a combination valve assembly, new brake hoses and bearings, and even the proper power brake pedal. The rotor and caliper package will fit most Ford 14-inch disc brake wheels (for those looking to keep an OE vintage wheel) or 15-inch aftermarket wheels like our American Racing Torque Thrusts.

Best of all, the kit adapts to the stock drum brake spindles on the Mustang, so there's no need to hunt down hard-to-find disc spindles in a salvage yard or spend countless hours trolling auction sites. While the kit does bolt on easily, there will be some minor brake line fabrication required for the new master cylinder and combination valve, but it's nothing a few lengths of part's store brake line won't fix, so let's get started.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery
26 Something new included with Master Power Brakes' combination valve is the HW3350 Combination Valve Tool. This small threaded tool (knurled silver part in the side of the combination valve) is temporarily inserted in place of the brake pressure light switch to prevent tripping the internal valve during brake bleeding procedures. Now you can bleed your brakes (right then left rear, right then left front) without worrying about setting off the brake light on your dash. Don't forget to remove the tool when you're done!