<VV> Early Brakes

Hugo Miller Hugo at aruncoaches.co.uk
Fri Nov 17 15:02:37 EST 2017

### I once owned a modern car with ABS. One day there was a very light 
dusting of snow. The brakes had virtually no effect. Without ABS the wheels 
would have slid a bit & immediately burned through the snow, but with ABS 
the car just kept going like it had no brakes at all. Very disconcerting.
My 1960 Impala has the original non-powered drum brakes, & they work just 
fine, just like my Corvair. Need a bit of pressure if you have to stop in a 
hurry, but if you drive normally they are perfectly adequate.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Smitty via VirtualVairs
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2017 6:51 PM
To: mrkoenig3 at gmail.com ; virtualvairs at corvair.org
Subject:  Early Brakes

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 
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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