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1951 Champion upgrade to bigger drums

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  • Brakes: 1951 Champion upgrade to bigger drums

    Would like to upgrade brakes on our O/D equipped '51 Champion. Thanks to another on this forum, I've been gifted a nice set of 1961 V8 front brake (11") assemblies. Thinking that I wanted to utilize the front/rear braking balance from that era, I was going to look for rear drums from a later V8 car as well. Perhaps even substituring an entire rear axle with a slightly lower ratio.

    Research on this forum, informed me that I am limited to a '51 or '52 axle, and that Commanders of that era had the same small 9" rear brakes as my low powered Champion despite the larger front drums.

    Have those of you who've upgraded done all 4 corners, or just the front, and if just the front, are you happy with braking, especially when you want to stop quickly?

    I don't want to make the car more difficult to drive. Good trail braking when cornering is really important in a Champion when trying to keep up with you high horsepower people.

  • #2
    Later rear brakes would also bolt on, then just change your ring and pinion.
    Brad Johnson,
    SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
    '56 Sky Hawk in process


    • #3

      I am in the process of doing this exact swap in my ‘51 Commander, and am keeping with the original 9” rears, as all they need is new linings. I went through this with a ‘51 Commander I previously owned, and it braked fine with this set up. These cars are relatively light and upgrading your Champion fronts will make a big difference, especially with the later style brakes.
      As far as a drastic improvement goes, I changed my 1960 Lark 8 to front discs, and it really is a lot nicer in harder braking situations.


      • #4
        I put 54 and later V-8 front brakes on a 51 business coupe and it worked just fine. Kept the rears as they were in 51.
        Last edited by RadioRoy; 05-26-2021, 12:19 PM.
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon