Saving on a disc brake conversion

August 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I love this magazine! My 16-year-old son and I are restoring a 1969 Impala 4door sedan and he is in charge of the design work and I am the free labor and bank. We are going to keep the body fairly original with some of his personal tweaks and touches. We also are doing some mild modifications to the 327—a new intake and 4-barrel carburetor, new cam, fuel pump, valve covers, etc. We are also doing new suspension parts and wiring, but the one system where we can’t seem to find a good inexpensive solution is the brakes. We have been searching for a conversion kit to turn our front drums into front discs, but the only kits we have found are around $900 to $1000. Since we are not independently wealthy, that is a big cost. There has got to be a more cost-efficient way to convert the drums to discs. Any thoughts?


One possible way to convert your Impala to disc brakes at a lower cost is to install good used original factory parts sourced from a salvage yard or used parts dealer. Power front disc brakes were offered as an extra-cost option for Impalas beginning in model year 1967 and these will work fine on your car.

Of course, it will be something of a trick to find a complete used system and when you do you’ll probably have to rebuild the calipers and master cylinder, and replace the hoses and brake linings. There’s also a good chance you’ll need to replace the rotors and wheel cylinders. By the time you buy the used setup, rebuild what needs rebuilding and replace what needs replacing the total cost will not be insignificant.

Another option to consider is buying a conversion kit from ChevyChevy ( They sell a kit for your car for about $650.