By Tommy Lee Byrd – Photography by the Author
For decades we trusted single-reservoir master cylinders on our daily drivers and our street rods, but the thought of evacuating all of your brake fluid due to an aging or faulty wheel cylinder, brake hose, or brake line issue is frightening. Our 1964 Chevelle was built toward the end of the single-reservoir era, as dual-reservoir master cylinders would become the industry standard just a few years later. The same principles apply to many popular platforms, such as the Tri-Five Chevy and pretty much any car or truck built before 1967.
The braking system on our Chevelle project car never gave us any signs of failure, but for safety purposes we decided to proactively upgrade our master cylinder. Classic Performance Products (CPP) offers a kit that not only converts the car to a dual master cylinder, but also converts it to power brakes. The brake booster offsets the increased pedal effort from the larger bore inside the master cylinder.
We used a CPP master cylinder kit (PN 6474BB2), which is a direct bolt-on kit for cars using disc brakes up front and drums out back. The kit includes a cadmium-plated brake booster (you can choose the size but we went with the 9-inch booster), brackets for bolting directly to your stock firewall, a new dual-reservoir master cylinder, pedal pushrod and clevis, pre-bent hard lines, and a new proportioning valve and bracket assembly. One additional item that makes this installation easier is a new hard brake line kit. In the case of our Chevelle, we used a Right Stuff kit from Summit Racing (PN COP64H2), which works for 1964-1967 Chevelles with power disc brake conversions. Overall, our brake booster and master cylinder upgrade only took a few hours (most of which was spent installing the new lines), and set us back about $400, including the new brake lines and brake fluid. Follow along as we install the kit, which gives us added confidence and comfort when it’s time to slide behind the wheel of our weekend cruiser. MR
Classic Performance Products