Disc Brakes: a great way to improve the safety of your old truck. Disc brakes were invented in England in the 1890s and the first system for use in automobiles was patented in Birmingham by Frederick W. Lanchester in 1902. But the first car to make use of this type of brake system was the 1949 Crosley Hotshot, a limited production model that is considered to be one of the worst cars of all time.
At first only race cars and very expensive models were equipped with front discs. They were installed in cars like the 1953 Jaguar C-Type, the 1955 Citroën DS, ther 1954 Austin-Healey 100S. In America disc brakes appeared in the 1963 Studebaker Avanti, the 1965 Rambler Marlin and the 1965 Corvette Stingray. During the late 1960s and 1970s discs became an option in most cars. Today, even the least expensive automobiles comes with this system already built in. Motorcycles, buses, trucks and even bicycles have disc brakes today.
I got rid of the problem when I replaced the drums with a disc kit. As you can see on the image at left, the kit comes with everything you need and you don't have to fabricate anything, since the disc kit fits exactly where the original drum system is installed. To install a disc kit you just unbolt the drums and bolt on the discs. It's so easy that I did it by myself on my truck in one afternoon, with regular tools. Front disc brake kits are available from several suppliers for old Ford, Chevrolet, GMC and Dodge trucks. They may come with a power booster or not. In any case, you will have to install a brake booster to get the performance you want out of your new disc brake system. Cost may vary from about US$ 550 to over US$ 1,000 and this does not include installation. But as I said before you don't have to be a genious to replace your old brakes with a modern disc system.
Even if you want to keep your truck in its original condition I would advise that you install disc brakes on it. Your truck will brake much better and you will be a lot safer.