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When did Buick 12" finned drums start showing up on rods?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Brock49Ford, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Brock49Ford
    Joined: Aug 20, 2002
    Posts: 519

    Brock49Ford
    Member

    I was going through the Best of Hot Rod 1949-1959 book and did not see any late 50s lakes cars or street cars running finned drums. I was curious about when this swap was discovered and started becoming popular. What year did Buick come out with the 45 fin 12" aluminium drum? Any pictures of early cars with these drums?
     
  2. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    Buick 12-inch finned drums first appeared in 1958 on all Buicks--front only. From the factory literature I've seen, these drum had little dimples on the lining, kinda like a golf ball.
    In '59, the linings were smooth, and from then on. (Musta freaked out the local mechanics when they went to turn drums. Plus it had to be expensive to dimple them in the first place!
    The 45-fin drums went from '58-'64.
    90-fin drums were on '65-'71 full-sized Buicks, possibly '72--depending on when the cars made the switch to disc brakes up front. The change might have been '63/'64, or mid '64 or something. It's been a while since I researched it.

    -Brad
     
  3. Brock49Ford
    Joined: Aug 20, 2002
    Posts: 519

    Brock49Ford
    Member

    Thanks Brad! The drums is just picked up came off a 65 Riv, who knows if they were "correct" for that year of car. Good info on where to look for them.
     
  4. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    If you pulled them off a '65, then they're right for that car. I remember the change being somewhere in '64/'65/'63. I researched this for an article a few years ago, and to get info I posted some questions on the Buick Club of America's website, and guys went out into their garages and counted fins for me! One guy had an NOS drum for something, and by using that bit of info and what the other guys told me, we narrowed down the year.
    I should photocopy that article and keep it in my quick reference ring binder!
    -Brad
     
    Deuces likes this.

  5. dehudso
    Joined: Sep 25, 2003
    Posts: 545

    dehudso
    Member

    I just got that book today, and it is simply amazing. The article on bruce crower's hudson was well worth the price. I can't ait to read more. It pays to be an eagle scout and get gift cards to cool places. [​IMG]

    end hijack.
     
  6. RocketDaemon
    Joined: Jul 4, 2001
    Posts: 2,081

    RocketDaemon
    Member
    from Sweden

    thats why they look wierd on flathead powered hot rods that otherwise look all late 40ies early 50ies to have something that was more in that case of a 60ies style

    of course people updated their cars and so on
    but if someone wants to build an era correct car from the late 40ies early 50ies buick drums are not the way
     
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Check out the old Lincolns at the junkyard, too--they had very nice looking finned drums roughly 1961-??, with smaller, finer fins than the Buicks. These were used on a few rods in the sixties (and I have no idea what it took to adapt them), and these Lincoln brakes were what NASCAR cars used until discs took over.
     
  8. MrGasser
    Joined: Oct 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,795

    MrGasser
    Member
    from DETROIT

    The 12", 45 finned aluminum drums were available from '58- late '65/early '66,...90 finned drums were available from mid/late '66 - late '67/'68...Buick had 2 different plants doing them, most had rivited hubs, some were just a press fit, (drums/hubs).

    The 2 different plants, and supply of drums, were the reason for the different change over dates.

    Around mid '68, Buick went to a smaller finned aluminum drum that resembles the earlier ones, but is different. They started running 14" wheels on certain models, and the 14's wouldn't clear the fins on the 12" drums,...besides, brake pad technology had improved greatly, and the smaller drums worked just as well....and just around the corner,...disc brakes!
     
  9. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Another aside--if you are running a late GM rear with small drums, many roughly 1978-80 A and G bodies had a small finned aluminum drum. You need to find a car that still has original drums, as replacements were iron.
     
  10. Brock49Ford
    Joined: Aug 20, 2002
    Posts: 519

    Brock49Ford
    Member

    I am probably going for more of a late 50s early 60s feel just based on the parts that have come my way. Just scored a really nice set of mid to late 50s Stewart Warner gauges. Motor will probably be a Caddy with all the speed equipment I have. I also got the column out of the 65 Riv. Really cool piece. The finned drums just feel in my lap so I feel like I should use them, some of the best things come when you are looking for other stuff. [​IMG] Any early pictures of rods with these drums....When was the "swap" discovered? Any ideas....
    Thanks for all the info.
     
  11. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    The smaller finned drums were on the Skylarks and GS cars--again, fronts only (I've got 4 on the shelf--God only knows why!).
    The big 12-inchers were on the full-sized cars; Electra, LeSaber, etc. I've pulled them off a '70 225.
    But yeah, when the disc brakes went from being an option to standard equipment, the aluminum drums went away.
    The later-model 9.5-inch finned drums spoken of are rear drums, and were on a lot of GM vehicles through at least the mid-80s, including Chevy and GMC S-trucks, etc.
    -Brad
     
  12. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,969

    Rand Man
    Member

    Did the big Buicks have 12" aluminum drums on the front and rear?
     
  13. MrGasser
    Joined: Oct 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,795

    MrGasser
    Member
    from DETROIT

    Brad54,...I've NEVER seen them on '69's or '70's, but if so, that's just more doner car possibilities!
     
  14. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,350

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Brad54's right...Riviera's and Electras had them as late as '71 or '72 if they didn't have disc brakes. I know a guy that has a '71 Riviera that has 12" finned drums.
     
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  15. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    A datum point: By the early sixties, AMT model cars frequently came with a finned Buick type brake drum meant to be used as a display item on a customized model with one wheel off in a show display. If AMT put it in there, the idea of using Buick drums was likely already established on the car show circuit at least.
     
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  16. Rand Man...

    12" aluminum drum front only as far as I know.

    Charlie
     
  17. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    The 12-inch aluminum drums were front only. I only bothered to measure (eye-ball) the rears of one of the big cars once, and it looked like they were 12-inch also, but definately steel drums.
    I want to get a set of rear backing plates (12-inch), to use on a different rear end, with the proper bearing retainer cups (probably have to have those put on by a rear end builder), and be able to use the 12-inch drums on the rear of a car. Bonus would be having the self-adjust mechanisms.
    I also want to pirate a full set of self-adjuster mechanisms for my '54 Buick: it has 12-inch iron drums, but with some machining and fitting, I should be able to adapt 12-inch finned aluminum to all four corners. And then we'll be cookin' with gas!
    I think 12-inch self adjust aluminum drums with a dual reservoir would be a fine system for a full-sized '50s car. Especially with modern-designed shoes.

    But that's not really what you asked, is it. Sorry.
    -Brad
     
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  18. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,641

    Tuck
    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    this has nothing to do with when they first showed up on the scene but I think your question was already answered...

    I run BUICK drums all the way around on my 60's styled hot rod.

    I used the 48 car hubs up front --36threewindow helped with the machine work to change the bolt pattern and fitting of the hubs... HE RULES!!!

    For backing plates in front I used 55 ford F250 self energizeing breaks... no adjustment there- the briz scoops can be modified a little to work with them too.

    and in the rear its a 56 poncho rear with 12" olds backing plates and the buick drums... b/c was 5" so no machine work.


    Tuck
     
  19. Brock49Ford
    Joined: Aug 20, 2002
    Posts: 519

    Brock49Ford
    Member

    Thanks for that info Tuck! Those look good on the rear. Do happen to have a picture of the front??? My buddy says he has a set of 12" Ford backing plates, but I don't know if they are car or truck. Did you use the 42-48 spindles as well, or the 37-41? Do the 55 F250 brakes use the wide shoes or the narrower car type? Thanks [​IMG]
     
  20. Tuck
    Joined: May 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,641

    Tuck
    Tech Editor
    from MINNESOTA
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    holy chit

    breakdown on the front end:

    37 spindles
    55 f250 backing plates with f250 pads etc
    48 ford car hubs that mount outside the drum
    59 buick drum

    back
    56 poncho rear
    55 olds backing plates (had the same bearing pattern as the poncho) BOLT ON.
    59 buick drums


    brock ill have to take some pics of the front-
     
  21. Brock49Ford
    Joined: Aug 20, 2002
    Posts: 519

    Brock49Ford
    Member

    Thanks for the breakdown Tuck!!! [​IMG]
    That will make "shopping" easier.
     
  22. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,969

    Rand Man
    Member

    I have a '79 Ford F100 rearend (9") that I've been planning to put in my '57 Chevy Sedan. I havn't measured them but the brakes look pretty big. Does anyone know the bolt pattern on this model? Has anyone converted the Buick drums to this rearend?
     
  23. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    I'm going to do this on the rear that's in the car now, but that rear is being replaced with a Mopar 8 3/4 (see your post on narrowing a housing).
    The drums on the '55-'57 are 11x2 (pretty sure--it's been about two years since I measured this).
    When I do it, I'm going to find a Buick 12-inch rear backing plate.
    The problem may arise with the distance the axle flange sticks out of the housing (backing plate back spacing, I guess you'd call it). You can specify how far the flange sticks out past the housing end when you order custom axles.

    I'm going to re-do the whole rear with 28-spline spider gears from a Dana 44 in a new Auburn Posi for the '55-'64 drop out rears, so I'll have new axles made anyway. With a new dif, 28-spline aftermarket axles, a brace on the driver's side bearing cap and finned drums, the normally weak '57 Chevy rear should be pretty decent.

    Now that we've totally hi-jacked this post...

    sorry 'bout that.
    -Brad
     
  24. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Ran into another early datum point on Buicks last night--in the 1960 HRM annual, meaning I think information is from 1959 publications.
    They featured a Kurtis Craft sports racer, obviously a very top end$$$-high tech rod for the time.
    This thing had the Buick drums teamed with those two-cylinder double leading shoe Chrysler backing plates. Dual-Plane or some such name. Probably all this stuff had to be bought new from the dealer in 1959--real gold chain $tuff!
    Those Chrysler backing plates would be an interesting topic for the board--they were considered the best drun brake setup in their time, and were even transplanted into some GM built experimental/competition Corvettes. AND they are transplantable into early Fords--see the big brake article posted in Techomatic.
    These things had a two-piece backing plate and were powered by separate slave cylinders for each shoe. Don't know much more about them.
     
  25. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,969

    Rand Man
    Member

    I wasn't there at the time but I say someone made the swap ASAP.

    My question was specific to adapting the Buick finned drums to the Ford Pickup rear end and brake setup. I want to get rid of the old Chevy brakes. Any use of brakes that are not self-adjusting is a waste of time.
     
  26. chzld88
    Joined: Aug 14, 2013
    Posts: 25

    chzld88
    Member

    good info to know...
     
  27. choppedtudor
    Joined: Nov 28, 2009
    Posts: 684

    choppedtudor
    Member

    '64 Buick on my AV-8
     

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  28. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,150

    BJR
    Member

    Can the Buick finned front drums be used on the rear if you just remove the hub?
     

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