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Folks Of Interest Early 50's Brakes - Disc and Drums

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by scootermcrad, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    scootermcrad
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    Okay race fans! I'm looking for information on brakes particular to the early 50's through mid-50's. I know that's very specific, but there's method to my madness. Let's say 1950 to 1956, just to put a date to it. And let's say road racing, LeMans, or any other similar racing discipline US based or abroad.

    I'm looking for information on brakes used for race purposes in the early to mid 1950's. Disc and Drum. I'm seeing quite a bit of information on C-Type Jags running Dunlop disc brakes with great success, but those seem pretty unobtainable. For drums, I'm specifically interested in Aluminum finned drums and backing plate assemblies. It seems a company called Al-fin was the big player during this era, but also unobtainable at this point or at least "unobtanium" prices now. 12" or even larger is the info chase. There are/were lots of smaller ones made and still made.

    Now, of course you're immediately thinking "Buick finned drums!" As I understand it, they didn't hit GM until late 50's (1958?). And Kinmonts are the next thought, but they were almost too EARLY for their race years, but of course spot on in hot rod trends during the early 50's, if you could find some.

    So what was run during this time frame in motor sports?

    Here's some examples of what I'm talking about...

    C-type Dunlop brakes (1952 ish)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's some of the Al-fin examples in smaller sizes (9 or 10"?) for several British cars.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But then I see gigantic stuff like this that were being run by Mercedes in 1955. 13"?? 14??

    [​IMG]

    And to reel you all back in, Cunningham messed with finned drums on pretty much all of their race cars in various forms...

    [​IMG]

    Obviously disc and drums only got more popular in various forms, with discs ultimately being the norm going into the early 60's and of course mid to late 60's.
     
  2. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    So who knows about this era of brakes? Let's talk!
     
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  3. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,110

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    Many post WWII American racers (oval, drag, karts, sports cars) were using "spot" or disc brakes made by Airheart. I think they may have been adapted from aircraft braking systems or other commercial uses, but I can't confirm that.
     
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,897

    alchemy
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    Metalshapes used some cool Alfa Romeo finned aluminum drums on his roadster. He told me they took a lot of adapting, and I'm guessing he used Ford brakes inside. But the drums sure look cool.

    alfa brake.jpg
     

  5. scootermcrad
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    Yes. I also believe that to be correct on all accounts. Seems the aviation world was ahead and it was somewhat standard to look to them for development. I believe Dunlop's discs came about because of this, too. I've seen the Airheart calipers used quite a bit for smaller applications (Sprint, karting, etc.) but hadn't seen it's applications in full size automotive applications, but I've seen examples of 4-piston calipers that would have been used on later vehicles.
     
  6. scootermcrad
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    Some how I knew I could count on your posting (and was crossing my fingers you would). :D:D

    A believe those may have been made by Al-fin also, but maybe not. They are bad ass! Maybe @metalshapes can tell us more. I'm guessing obtaining something like that in a usable form would be pretty challenging.
     
  7. scootermcrad
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  8. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,463

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    I ran Halibrand calipers on my sprint cars. They were from the late 40's/early 50's. Ran a single puck setup up front and double pucks in the rear. Halibrand brakes.jpg
     
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  9. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    Visual from a 1953 Alfa Romeo 6C with inboard brakes

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    scootermcrad
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    WOW! Look at that! Those "Quick Change" Airheart calipers are cool! And those Halibrand Lobsters are incredible!

    What year is that catalog page?
     
  11. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    scootermcrad
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    The Lobsters (from Roadster.com)

    Were these pretty common and plentiful?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. nobby
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 815

    nobby
    Member

    is there more surface area on a drum with a radial fin
    or a lateral short set up
     
  13. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,467

    goldmountain

    I read somewhere that a few Chrysler cars in the early 50's had a Kinmont style disc brake. I found a 1950 Town & Country 2 door hardtop a while back but forgot to take a look under the car.
     
  14. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,348

    flynbrian48
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    Chrysler was first here in the US with 4 wheel disks on Imperial limos.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  15. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,549

    drtrcrV-8
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    Crosley Hotshots had 4whl disc brakes, but I don't remember which mfgr they were sourced from(that was 50+ yrs ago that I had the car...)
     
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  16. scootermcrad
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    Good question. Briggs Cunningham started with a lateral finned drum, but switched to a radial finned drum and had more success with cooling. I don't know if that was a wholesale change that negates any kind of correlation between lateral and radial fin, but obviously there was success for both styles of drum. I would think there would be more surface area with lateral finned drums, but I suppose it depends on if the drums are externally cooled, as well.

    I believe the brakes you're thinking of are the Ausco-Lambert twin-disc brakes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They are SUPER cool and super complicated. I see them come up for sale from time to time. I don't think these were ever applied to any racing applications. Does anyone know?

    Definitely cool looking, if nothing else!
     
  17. Tman
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  18. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    scootermcrad
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    Here ya go! Looks like 1949. Cute little thing. Looks mechanical.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,549

    drtrcrV-8
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    The Crosley Hotshot discs were Hydraulic, although my '48 Crosley SW had mechanical drums.
     
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  20. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
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    seb fontana
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    from ct

    Crosley started using the Goodyear/Hawley disc brakes about beginning months of '49 on all models. Went to 9" drums '50, winter road salt would bind up the calipers.
     
  21. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
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    Rusty O'Toole
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    First Buick aluminum brake drums were 1957. Next year had a revised design with more, smaller fins. They were used on the front only. Buick used aluminum brake drums on their large cars until about 1964 then they got disc brakes.
    The hot setup in the late fifties and early sixties was Chrysler Centerplane brakes with Buick finned aluminum drums. In 1957 Chevrolet built some special racing Corvettes with hand made bodies, special chassis, engines, etc. For brakes they went down to the local Chrysler dealer and bought Centerplane brakes and fitted Buick drums. Quite a few racers and sports car 'specials' used the same setup. The other upgrade was cerametalic or ceramic brake linings. They were very hard and immune to fade but didn't grab very well until they warmed up, and they chewed the hell out of the brake drums they were so hard. But they would go the distance without burning out or fading out.
    Jaguar did use Dunlop disc brakes on the C type racers but not on their road cars. First sports car with disc brakes, Crosley Hot Shot in 49 but then the Triumph TR3 in 1957. It took a while for disc brakes to catch on, even some European cars still used drums in the late sixties. Studebaker offered discs in 1962, the rest of the American industry got them around 1965 or 66 on the usual option list.
    Chrysler Ausco Lambert disc brakes were a completely different animal. More complicated and sophisticated, they are the only self energizing disc brakes and the only ones completely sealed from the weather. Even today mud water and corrosion are a problem for disc brakes, not so on the old Chryslers. They were used on Imperials starting in 1949, were optional on Chrysler station wagons and limousines that used the same suspension. I think they were offered from 1949 to 1952. They did not sell very many because not many people were interested in better brakes, the stock drums were fine for most purposes, and they did improve the drum brakes as time went on.
     
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  22. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
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    jaracer
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    Probably around 1980 or a bit earlier. I ran a modified lobster on the left front. I had to grind and cut on it to clear 15 in wheels. The Halibrand units were originally designed for Indy cars in the late 40's/early 50's. They ran 16 in wheels.
     
  23. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    Refreshing this. Lots of interesting stuff added! Thanks!

    I'm not as much interested in production road car stuff. Specifically interested in early to mid 50's (pre 1957) and racing applications that used disc or LARGE finned drums, 12" or larger. I think ideally understanding who was making large finned aluminum drums (laterally or radially configured) during this time period would be really helpful. I'm just not turning up a whole lot.

    Looking through some Allard information from this time period, it sounds like they use 12x2.25" Lockheed brakes. I've seen Lockheed backing plates. Same as the early Ford stuff, I think. Not sure I've ever seen Lockheed drums, though. I'm guessing this must be them. Only picture I can find is with the Halibrand quick change and Allard rear cover. Any other pictures out there? I'm not seeing much information for the actual 12x2.25 drum brakes assemblies and drums. Could just be Ford assemblies and someone else makes the drums.
    [​IMG]

    Sounds like they then started switching to discs sometime around 1954 and would have probably been Dunlop brakes. Can anyone confirm what Allard was doing?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
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  24. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,110

    gnichols
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    from Tampa, FL

    Man, if I could find some of these Allard disc kits for the fronts - assumed to fit the cut down Ford I-beams he used, that would be fantastic. Anyone know more, please PM me. Gary
     
  25. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    God lucky and found another picture of the Allard rear brakes. Definitely finned aluminum. But 12x2.25!? And looks like a standard banjo type Ford rear, open drive, and mounted in a DeDion style rear suspension. NEAT!

    [​IMG]
     
  26. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,110

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    And, I would assume, the wide yellow bands would be limiting straps to prevent the DeDion tube from drooping too far?
     
  27. nobby
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 815

    nobby
    Member

    the allard recommends
    the confusion may arise as although it is stated anglia - it is not the anglia you think
    but the ford anglia 105E - the harry potter flying car one.
    -the advert price is post Uk decimalisation of 1971
    so if post 71, the ford escort mk1 already existed with 'rotor's -'68'
    so I would wager it is a pic of a mk 1 ford escort front mcphearson strut.
    if the ££ clue wasnt there
    the bolt in ' world - cup ' crossmember that receives the mk1 escort mexico / rs1600 BdA disc brakes also converts from steering box to a steering rack
    the clue is world cup cross member - i.e England that soccer tournament - 1966

    the advert may simply be for 1965 ford cortina GT or LOTUS cortina mk1 front legs complete - BUT you keep the steering box.

    mk1 ecsort rs1600 BDA = world record sales price ?
    mk1 lotus cortina - world record price


    Sydney Herbert Allard, Founder - Allard Sports Cars

    SO THE GOLDE SUNROOF IS ALLARD
    File:Im197203ILN-Allard.jpg - Graces Guide
    CAR IN PIC IS 1970 MK1 CAPRI

    51, Upper Richmond Road, must have been a ford dsealership.

    p.s ac cars
    AC Cars History Timeline - AC CARS
    began in west norwood, which is a hop skip and jump from clapham high road
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  28. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,375

    scootermcrad
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    @nobby WOW! That was a lot to digest. Thank you! That picture from the advertisement was accompanied with an article I was readying about early 50's Allard brake development. It seems maybe the article/author might have been off a little bit on their visual materials when talking about disc brakes for Allards, which stated a transition around 1953-54, if I read it correctly. And it implied C-type brakes, which would have been Dunlop brakes. So that's where I made the connection. So based on what you've said, I would say their visual was incorrect.

    So did Allard indeed start making the change to front disc brakes in 1953 (ish)? And if so, were they Dunlop? I can't even find a picture of them on an early 50's Allard. I've heard of later Girling type CR disc brakes being installed (mid-60's), but haven't seen what the original looked like or what the Girling CR's were replacing.
     
  29. nobby
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 815

    nobby
    Member

    I think c-type relates to the 50's jagwars ?
    the steel wheel on them is a dunlop wheel
    IF gm is 4 3/4'' pcd - so is Jagwar
    dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre
    don't think he invented vulcanisation - enclave and ammonia is it?
    erm, the michelin man is called bi-bendum - or two ply - maybe they did
    in GB, the first car to have the discs was a tr3 - 1953
    the first production car to have 4 valves per cylinder was the triumph dolomite sprint 1973
    the mcphearson strut debuts on a 1955 ford consul
    I think why you may not be getting any info, is it may all be airybuzzer related?
    the inboard stuff is citroen - the constant velocity joint is theirs from 1934 in the traction avant
    i think you may get somewhere if you fathom what rear axle a c-type used
    as it wont be the common irs one as that doesn't arrive till 1961

    worth noting is the UK ford v8 pilot 1950 'new' used a 1937 ford banjo rear axle
    the pic of the de dion rear, may later than you think

    also anti lock brakes is aircraft
    it may be post whatsname surplus stuff swiped from the 'ahem' scrap bin and used in race cars at the brooklands track.
    hense no info,

    a bit like r2-d2 is made by the bristol and his head is a turret bearing, i wonder if then tin bashed c3-po up
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
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  30. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,375

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    It's official... I've created a post that has responses using Star Wars references! :D FINALLY! Thanks @nobby
     
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