Aug 12, 2014 update to the Tornado Typhoon project car

Figuring out the Tornado’s Brakes

The drum brakes look pretty normal until you realize there are no hydraulics. These are old fashioned mechanical brakes.
A system of rods and levers actuates the brakes. Adjustment is critical, but the system is said to work well.

Like the rest of our 1957 Tornado Typhoon, the brakes came in boxes and were completely disassembled. Fords—and thus Ford based specials of this period—came with mechanical drum brakes. No, there are no brake hydraulics and certainly no disc brakes on this car.

Surprisingly, these brakes are said to be very effective. The key is to adjust them properly. Kip Lankenau of Kip Motor Company, a supplier of early English Fords, sells these brake components, including pads and told us that the adjustment is so fine that you need to consider whether or not you will be traveling with a passenger before you adjust the brakes.

It all sounds a little scary to us, but we shall see how these brakes work out. One thing that helps us is that this system was designed for a car that weighs hundreds of pounds more than our special. Period tests rated the brakes well, but times have changed since the late fifties.

We went through all of our boxes and figured out the rods and joints that make up this odd system. We were surprised to find all the brake components were present and in relatively good condition.

A bit of cleaning and CRC Freeze-Off penetrating oil had our brakes all functioning again.

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