Upgrading our Shelby with Wilwoods

One session at the track convinced us that we needed better brakes. The 1967 Shelby came with 11.3-inch Kelsey Hayes front discs and 10x2.5-inch rear drums. The brakes were power assisted and all in all were pretty darned good. It wasn’t until Ford came out with Cobras in the nineties that a Mustang had bigger and better brakes.

That said, these factory brakes are rather old technology with heavy, four-piston calipers. They were also original right down to the rotors. We wanted to save this stuff to prevent further damage.

Wilwood makes a beautiful, lightweight, six-piston brake upgrade kit that bolts right on to early Mustang spindles. The whole kit sells for less than $1100 at places like Summit Racing.

In addition to forged six-piston calipers, the kit comes with nicely made and lightweight aluminum front hubs and 12.2-inch vented rotors. The also kit comes with wheel bearings and even braided steel brake hoses designed to mate the new kit with your old Mustang.

Installation is a very straightforward process. First, of course, remove the old front brakes. Then assemble the rotor hats, mount the caliper brackets, pack and assemble the wheel bearings and bolt everything together. The kit comes with Wilwood’s Smart Pad brake pads that we have found to be excellent for street and light track work. These pads have good initial bite, and little squealing and dusting.

We will head back to our test track for some actual testing shortly, but after bedding these brakes in we could instantly see a difference: The chatter from worn rotors was gone, for one. Its braking now inspires real confidence, and it lives up to modern performance car standards.

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