Front disk brakes for your old truck.

Autos & TrucksTrucks

  • Author Joseph Ceschin
  • Published September 27, 2008
  • Word count 361

Disc Brakes: a great way

to improve the safety of your old


Disc brakes were

invented in England in the

1890s and the first system

for use in automobiles was

patented in Birmingham by

Frederick W. Lanchester in

  1. But the first car to

make use of this type of

brake system was the 1949

Crosley Hotshot, a limited

production model that is

considered to be one of the

worst cars of all time.


At first only race cars and very

expensive models were equipped

with front discs. They were

installed in cars like the 1953

Jaguar C-Type, the 1955 Citroën

DS, ther 1954 Austin-Healey

100S. In America disc brakes

appeared in the 1963 Studebaker

Avanti, the 1965 Rambler Marlin

and the 1965 Corvette Stingray.

During the late 1960s and 1970s

discs became an option in most

cars. Today, even the least

expensive automobiles comes with

this system already built in.

Motorcycles, buses, trucks and

even bicycles have disc brakes


I got rid of the problem

when I replaced the

drums with a disc kit.

As you can see on the

image at left, the kit

comes with everything

you need and you don't

have to fabricate

anything, since the disc

kit fits exactly where

the original drum system

is installed. To install

a disc kit you just

unbolt the drums and

bolt on the discs. It's

so easy that I did it by

myself on my truck in

one afternoon, with

regular tools.

Front disc brake kits are

available from several suppliers

for old Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and

Dodge trucks. They may come with

a power booster or not. In any

case, you will have to install a

brake booster to get the

performance you want out of your

new disc brake system. Cost may

vary from about US$ 550 to over

US$ 1,000 and this does not

include installation. But as I

said before you don't have to be

a genious to replace your old

brakes with a modern disc


Even if you want to keep your

truck in its original condition

I would advise that you install

disc brakes on it. Your

truck will brake much better and

you will be a lot safer.

Joseph Ceschin is a journalist with a long experience in the automotive field. He is the publisher of and also owns a beautifully restored 1954 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup truck.

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