<VV> Early Brakes

Smitty vairologist at cox.net
Fri Nov 17 13:51:49 EST 2017

Jim I have owned Earlies for 45 or more years and agree that the brakes are not much more than adequate in todays world.  BUT-If they are maintained in an “optimum” condition, they should serve you well.  Consider this,  I have had two collisions where I tapped the ass end of another car with my modern iron.  Chain reaction stops where I really had to try to break the pedal off.  The anti skid did its thing, buzzing mightly and continued to do so right on into contact with the other car.  If I had been in my Corvair, there would have been a great squalling noise accompanied with smoke and stinking rubber, and I would have got stopped before contact.  I say this based on my many years of driving Earlies.  I understand that you made no mention of anti skid.  Just making the point that all the brakes in the world won’t save you when that bad situation arrives.   So, what to do?
You mentioned metallic pads.  Yes there are some still around out there in the world, but be prepared to dig deep in your pockets to obtain some.  You will have to compete with the racers to get any.  They have their drawbacks too such as poor braking performance and erratic stopping until they are heated up.  There are Kevlar linings which have good heat fade resistance for racing.  I have not used them on the street so I can not comment on that.  The best linings I have found are the economy linings from the local flaps.  They are usually of a softer material and wear more quickly, but they give more bite per pounds of brake pedal force than the extended life or lifetime warranty type.  They don’t have a great amount of fade resistance but you don’t make many high speed stops in succession in normal driving.
My best advice is to keep your brakes in top condition and make a habit of driving well within the known limits of your Early brakes.

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