Systems of a Tiger

The Subaru master cylinder needed a small amount of work to fit. The mounting ring needed to be honed out slightly.
Stainless steel lines don’t stop the car quicker, but they do improve pedal feel.
Stainless steel brake lines are a bitch to bend and flare compared to aluminum. This tool from Classic Tube made the flaring end of the job a snap.
The rear brakes were pretty straightforward. New shoes from Magnum pads are way better than stock shoes.

We decided to go to a more modern dual master cylinder that does not require the use of the stock booster.

When restoring a car, it makes it a lot easier to think of the vehicle as a whole, but as a collection of systems. Rather than worry about restoring an entire car, we focused our attention on first the braking system, then the fuel system, then the cooling system and so on.

With Girling discs up front and drum brakes in the rear, the brake system on a Tiger is fairly straightforward. However, there are a few things that make a Tiger’s braking system a bit more complicated than most British cars. First, rotors are pretty much unavailable (or at least quite expensive) at this point. Factory spec for rotor thickness is .460, so we had specific measurement in mind when we searched for used rotors. After we took a micrometer to a few, Andres Automotive put up with our request to keep cutting them until we had some good ones.

The Tiger also uses a Girling brake booster to lessen pedal effort, but we decided to make some changes for a few reasons. For one, these boosters are a bit finicky (the factory actually changed them during production because of problems). Another factor is that the stock brake booster operates off of engine vacuum, something a heavily modified small block Ford does not have too much of. Plus, we didn’t have a dual braking system.

All cars sold in America after 1967 were required to have dual braking systems. An important safety feature, a dual braking system allows the front brakes to operate independently of the rear brakes. We decided to go to a more modern dual master cylinder that woudn’t require the use of the stock booster.

Still one more factor that affected our decision to modify our brakes was cost. A brake booster rebuild would set us back a few hundred dollars, while a new Tiger master cylinder would set us back the same amount.

After driving Bill Martin of Rootes Group Depot’s Tiger, we opted for a 1980 Subaru Master cylinder. This master cylinder cost us about $160 from Red Line BMW parts and fit very well. It clears everything under the hood and only requires that you slightly machine down the original spacer that goes behind the Tiger master cylinder so it will fit the Subaru master cylinder. Just about any auto parts store can get one, but we like dealing with Rennie at Red Line.

While we may come back and readdress brake performance in the sorting phase of this project, the only other modifications we made to the braking system were the installation of KFP Magnum pads up front and KFP re-lined brake shoes in the rear.

We also used a Classic Tube stainless steel brake line kit for the Tiger. This kit fit wonderfully and included everything we needed. Where the stock brake booster was mounted we had to add a junction to connect the line into the booster to the line that came out of the booster. We ended up making one new line, as we now had a dual braking system. Fortunately, Classic Tube sent us some extra stuff to make this line. We also added braided steel brake lines to the car.

All in all, we were pleased with how easy and inexpensive these modifications were and how pleasant pre-bent brake lines made this stage of the restoration. Available for most cars, or custom-made from your originals if they don’t have patterns, these brake line kits run less than $200 from Classic Tube (from classic tube web site). We can honestly say that we will never restore another car without using their kits.

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