In the January issue of Custom Classic Trucks, we ran an item in Classic News about Chuck Porter's chopped, channeled, and sectioned '49 F-1 Ford custom being tracked down by his daughter Debby Porter and slated for restoration. Since Debby intended to cruise the truck while she was restoring it back to how it first appeared in 1955 on the cover of Hot Rod magazine, number one on her list of things to do was to bring the '49's brakes back up to the original specifications.

After searching for someone familiar with the mechanical workings of '50s-era vehicles, Debby brought the old F-1 to a repair shop that agreed to dial the F-1's four-wheel drum brakes back to their former glory. As we soon discovered when we started this tech, the shop took all of the right steps to ensure a good job. The brake drums were turned, and new brake shoes were arced to match; the hydraulic wheel cylinders were replaced along with installing new flex hoses. All in all, it appeared that the place did a fair-decent job of restoring the F-1's brakes.

But not too long after picking the truck up from the repair shop, Debby fired up the '49's trusty dual-quad Cadillac engine and motored off toward a Friday night cruise. This is where it all went bad. Smack-dab in the middle of rush-hour traffic behind a swarm of trendy Volvos and Lexuses screeching up to a red light, the old truck came to a stop stuffed halfway into an Audi trunk. On the bright side, and amazingly enough, the old Ford fared pretty well (who cares about the Audi) with its trademark custom one-off custom grille intact, but unfortunately, the passenger-side front fender and custom pancaked hood with louvers and a custom-made scoop suffered a heavy hit.

At this stage of the game, Debby decided that even before the body repairs commenced, her dad's truck was going to get upgraded with a braking system that would allow it to survive on today's streets.

The full-custom '49 was towed to Rodz in beautiful downtown Burbank, California, where Mike Donatelli and Mike O'Brien advised Debby that the best route would be to install an F-1 front disc brake conversion kit from Classic Performance Products, complete with one of their under-floor 8-inch booster/dual master cylinder combos. Naturally, going in with the knowledge that Chuck invested over 1,000 man-hours modifying the pickup to his personal design, anything could be possible when it came to the mechanical underpinnings Chuck specified for the truck. Sure enough, as the existing brake parts were removed and the CPP disc brake conversion components were held into place to evaluate whether or not they would be a direct fit, they discovered some further modifications would be necessary.

Since we often get inquiries from readers interested in improving trucks that no one manufactures a direct bolt-in kit for, we figured that following along with the crew at Rodz while they adapted the CPP F-1 disc brake setup would provide some insights on what it takes to handle a one-off situation. Utilizing an existing CPP kit as a starting point instead of beginning from scratch saved a tremendous amount of time and guaranteed the essential engineering necessary was already established and out of the way. From here, the key points that required additional attention were to ensure that everything from steering actuation to brake application functioned properly.

Rodz Speedway Motors
P.O. Box 81906
NE  68501
Classic Performance Products
175 East Freedom Avenue
CA  92801
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