Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2007
Fresh from its first lap around the block under its own power, our Factory Five Roadster sits in the driveway, cooling off for the evening. There are just a few small items left and then it's off to paint.

The engine on our Factory Five Racing Cobra replica has been wired and running for three months. Due to chassis wiring and other unfinished items, however, we felt no pressure to have our project driveable. Rolling the Roadster to the driveway to work on it was all we cared about.

Once we bolted in the direct-fit replacement driveshaft from Forte's Parts Connection, however, the gloves were off. All of a sudden, we knew our Cobra replica could move forward (or backwards), but we had no way to stop it. Sure, we had great-looking Stainless Steel Brakes discs at all four corners and most of the hard lines were bent and installed, but without some sort of master cylinder, there's no way for us to hydraulically control the brakes. We thought about taking the Roadster for a spin with only the parking brake to stop us, but we felt all of our hard-earned progress to date wasn't worth the risk. That and the wife thought yours truly was crazy for even suggesting it. Maybe she's right, but what were we to do?

Enter Hydratech Braking and its neat OEM type of braking assist called Hydroboost. For several decades, Hydroboost has been on all sorts of new cars and trucks as an alternative power-brake assist over the age-old vacuum diaphragm. Ford has used it on the Mustang since the mid-'90s and on Lincoln and Mercury product lines as far back as the early '80s. The Hydroboost-assist unit gets its power from the engine, but instead of engine vacuum, it's powered by the power-steering pump. Yes, hydraulic fluid from your power-steering system is used as the assist, giving you a nice power-brake-pedal feel without the need for the room to fit a big booster can. This means you can have a radical engine with poor vacuum, but still have great brakes and a light, power-brake-pedal feel. Even if you don't have power steering, you can still use a Hydroboost by mounting a power-steering pump just for the assist unit. Since we were already planning on power steering, the Hydroboost unit from Hydratech ties in easily to our project.

Hydratech Braking uses new Bosch assist units in its custom kits. When you order a Hydroboost system with hydraulic lines, you get a complete installation solution with all the fittings, adapters, and more. For a classic Mustang (which Hydratech has kits for), the company terminates the hydraulic hoses for a simple socket-and-wrench job, though you might need to rework a brake line or two at the master cylinder, depending upon what you use for a replacement master cylinder.

For our Cobra replica, Hydratech set us up with one of its Fox Mustang ('79-'93) kits that it tweaked for the FFR fitment. The installation went well, and with our Master Power Brakes remote-reservoir master cylinder (recommended for our application by Hydratech), we were able to install a complete braking solution over the course of a weekend. Now we can safely take our Roadster for some "go-cart" runs, which we did at around 7:30 on a Sunday night. This point of our build was just as exciting as hearing the car's Smeding 427 Windsor start for the first time.

Now it's time for some bodywork as we start to wrap up the year-long build of our Factory Five Racing Roadster.

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