Currie’s rear disc brake conversion kit provides lots of “whoa” in a small package.

If there’s one area where newer cars have a significant performance advantage over older cars, it’s braking. They not only stop in a shorter distance, but with greater stability and less fade, etc., during repeated use.

This advantage is even greater when technologies such as anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution and so on are also factored in. Even without these electronic nannies, much of the gains are due to superior design, materials, and manufacturing.

There are plenty of aftermarket brake kits available, but not all of them are particularly well suited for performance street use on an older vehicle. Sometimes this has to do with the components being designed more for racing use and less for dealing with harsh weather, dirt, and other problems a street car sees that a racer generally doesn’t. Another issue is the size of the components. Many kits require you go to a larger wheel size to clear their brakes. This may not be desirable if you want to keep the stock look by using factory-sized wheels. So how do you get a significant improvement in braking performance while still being able to retain the factory wheels sizes? Use an OEM-style brake from a later year.

Currie Enterprises has developed several kits which use the rear disc brake hardware from mid-’90s Ford Thunderbirds, among other applications. These brakes are an OEM part, so they are more than capable of surviving in the real world. Yet they are still able to handle occasional track use such as track day, time attack, or HPDE (High Performance Driving Event) duty with little more than maybe a pad change and some better brake fluid. They are a very light, compact design with an integral parking brake and an 11-inch rotor. They’ll fit in most factory wheels with room to spare and they are an OEM part, so they will still have more of a factory look compared to more radically- styled aftermarket kits. Another bonus is that they’re relatively less expensive, plus they use a very easily found pad size with many compound options. Currie can set you up with a full kit, including the parking brake cables, that will be a huge improvement over drums. It will be quiet, reliable, and durable while still being capable of doing some track duty.

In the following photos we’ve shown the installation of one of the Currie kits on a ’67 Fairlane. The steps are basically the same regardless of vehicle, so it will work well with your early Mustang. We didn’t show the removal of the factory brakes, since that is pretty straightforward, yet it is the most vehicle-specific part of the conversion. Use the factory service manual if you’re a newbie or get a more experienced friend to help if you’re new to this type of thing. You’ll probably want someone else around anyway when it comes time to bleed the brakes.

Other than a little welding and some tube fabrication, there’s really nothing tricky about installing the Currie kit. Depending upon your experience and the equipment you have available, it could take as little as an afternoon or perhaps a day to install the system. The first time you use the new brakes you’ll realize it was time very well spent.