Olds-mobilology - Adding some WHOA for the GO!

It’s been a while since I updated some of the improvements we made to the Olds Cutlass we run in the No-Box and Footbrake events. The car owner, Nick Jeffrey, is always looking to shave a few pounds off the Olds; as you will see in the photos, he’s drilled holes in the control arms as a start, and improved performance at the same time. This month I will go over the swap we made to improve braking, and save some serious weight at the same time.

The decision to improve the braking was an easy one to make. Now that the Olds small-block is pushing us to 134 mph runs, we needed to improve the “WHOA-Power”. We looked no further than the Wilwood front disc brake kit. Wilwood offeres a bolt-on kit that moved us up to 4-piston calipers and (hopefully) a better braking package. I’ll tell you this before I go into the tech article: it was a LOT easier to install the Wilwood kit than it was to get the original brakes removed.

This photo shows the original Oldsmobile disc brake setup. Cast iron rotor, cast iron caliper. The stuff is massive. You can see some of Nick's handiwork in the drilling of lightening holes in the heavy steel control arms.

When I dropped the first original brake caliper off and then pulled the rotor and hub assembly off and it fell on my finger... *#@$?!%! I knew we were headed in the right direction. The original rotor and hub alone weighed more than the entire Wilwood box, which contained two hubs and rotors!

Enough about removal. If you’ve ever switched out a disc brake hub and rotor, packed wheel bearings, and then installed a caliper, you can easily install the Wilwood front disk brake kit. The only fabrication involved was to make a small bracket to attach the new braided steel line to.

We used the brakes this season and the Wilwood brakes have really helped get the Olds slowed down in a hurry. Sometimes it’s after the finish line and other times I need a LOT OF BRAKE before the finish line; remember, we run bracket races and taking as little stripe as possible is a good thing.