In the grand theme of things it has been opinioned one of the big distinctions between styling philosophies guiding General Motors' truck and automobile designs of the '50s and '60s was the annual model change where GM cars got a major facelift while the trucks received a few new emblems and that was it. Putting styling aside and moving on to a discussion purely of truck engineering advancements brings us to the second installment of the brake and suspension modifications we've been making to our '66 Chevy C10. For those of you who missed the first installment we joined forces with KA Custom and Early Classic Enterprises to make our upgrades using a hybrid mix of Early Classic's high-quality lowering springs, trailing-arms, and spindles combined with '73-87 Chevrolet C10 heavy-duty F44 brakes. Because of General Motors' practice of including interchangeability into the plan the 5- to 6-lug bolt-pattern swap we made up front was in the cards for the rear end as well. The '66 C10's 12-bolt differential that left the San Jose, California, GM truck plant in'66 at the core of this conversion is retained thanks to a pair of 5-lug axles from Early Classic Enterprises. Once the axles were in place the next step for Steve at KA Custom was to install the bigger F44 drum brakes also sourced from Early Classic's catalog of new parts.
Beyond the motivation of being able to select from a greater choice of wheel designs with 5-lug bolt patterns, the adaptation of F44 drum brakes with their greater surface area than stock '66 brakes means the truck will be able to stop faster. It's one of those an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure situations when one weighs the cost of stopping in time, or having to pay up for compacting someone's car into an accordion. Sleazy PI attorneys, and missed days at work in court aside the ability to stop on a consistent basis makes a classic truck much more pleasurable to drive.
In addition to installing Early Classic's 5-lug big-brake conversion kit with 5-lug axles, we used Early Classic's 6-inch drop kit that is engineered to increase the handling of our '66 thanks to a full-width Panhard bar (also known as a Panhard rod, or track bar) and relocated shock absorber brackets that mount the shocks in a more upright position to enhance function. Check out the last photo in this article and you will see using Early Classic's 2 1/2-inch drop spindles with 1 1/2-inch drop coils up front (Covered in the March issue) along with their 6-inch drop kit for the rear laid our bad boy '66 down on the ground with a 4/6 drop.