330 GT Registry
BY JOHN R. BOND
FINALLY, AND AT LAST, the American auto industry is going over to disc brakes on many 1965 models. At this time it appears that Corvette, Thunderbird and Lincoln will have them as standard equipment. Cars offering discs as optional in 1965 will include Mustang, Barracuda, the new Rambler sporty car (Marlin?) and Chrysler Corp. police cars.
Studebaker of Canada continues to offer discs as an option, but so far as I know, you still can’t buy a Falcon with discs, even though they were supposed to be available this year.
As is well known, the Studebaker option is a British Dunlop design made under license by Bendix of South Bend. Three other American firms now get into the picture with Kelsey-Hayes the most active. The other two are Budd and Delco-Moraine: the latter slated to be the supplier for Corvette which, incidentally, will be the only application destined for
all four wheels.
The K-H design, as well as Budd’s, differs in several respects from European practice and both firms insist that a solid disc is not suitable for the heavier American cars. Therefore, both utilize a disc with radial ventilating holes and this one change alone is said to triple the friction pad life.
Let me explain here and now a few facts about brakes. A disc brake, or more correctly, a caliper-disc brake cannot give shorter stopping distances than a drum brake. At least in theory the stopping distance is determined solely by surface conditions between the tire and the road, assuming the brakes are powerful enough to lock the wheels. But in practice, the caliper-discs often do give slightly better stopping distances because the action is consistent with little or no tendency for one or more wheels to lock up.
Disc brakes are not new in the U.S. The 1946 Crosley had spot brakes by Goodyear and Chrysler used real disc brakes in ‘50 and ‘51 on the Crown Imperial. The latter were clutch-like, full discs made by Auto Specialties in
St. Joseph, Mich. Possibly these were the best brakes ever, but they were expensive. At any rate, better brakes are needed on passenger cars and, though the Al-Fin drums used by Buick and Lincoln are good, the new caliper-discs should be better.
Freedom from fade is the outstanding advantage of disc brakes. Our Car Life staff has found that very few big American cars will survive more than two crash stops from 80 mph in quick succession. A few cannot even make one such stop!
IN THIS column for March 1955 I said, “. . . we drive Volkswagens. not Ferraris—but the magazine is fun and we love it.” Now I must admit that Mrs. B and I have just acquired a shiny-new, bright red Ferrari. It’s a 250 2+2 with the new 330 GT 4- liter engine and gear box. We’ve thought of several excuses for this extravagance. One is that we saved the money for it by driving small economy cars for 10 years (two VWs, an MG-A, a Corvair, a Peugeot and a Cortina which we still have). Another explanation might be that we had to keep up with the Joneses—another publisher bought one a
few years ago.
But the truth is that this is the only car we’ve ever really wanted, and if we waited until we could afford it, we’d be too old to enjoy it. A third excuse is that restoration of our 1949 type 166 roadster is discouragingly slow. We’ve had several chances to sell this car, by the way, but we’re determined to restore it for our own use.
And, by the way, we’ve already been insulted beyond belief—though, I suppose, it was bound to happen. A man walking by our office looked at the prancing horse on the grille and asked if it was a new Mustang! Good Grief!
Not to be out-done by the publishers, the editor has also purchased a Ferrari—a unique 1958 250 GT coupe with body by Boano. Three Ferraris—and we still have five staff owned VWs.
ROAD & TRACK JULY 1964
Copyright 1964 John R. Bond, Inc.