11. Think Big
Mega-power under the hood needs to be balanced with mega braking behind the wheels. Brakes are one of the areas where bigger is always better, and there is a wide range of help available for older Mopars. Those '60s and '70s Mopars, especially the lower performance versions, often came with brakes that aren't up to par today, and a great percentage of the old Mopars built for the street these days began life as bread-and-butter, low-performance cars. That old Slant Six Duster may be a hot street machine with the infusion of a 380hp crate small-block-but with the stock brakes, it's a death trap. A variety of approaches can be taken to up the ante on stopping power, running the gambit from retro-fitting, bigger OE brake parts, to pulling out the stops and forking over for a race-derived, four-piston-caliper, four-wheel-disc system. The choice is yours, and in this iinstance, your decisions should first be made on what you need, then on what you can afford.
12. Yes, Master
All the brake at the wheel is worthless if the master cylinder hanging on the firewall won't squeeze the juice. Experience tells us that the dirt-cheap reman masters from the corner parts emporium are a crapshoot. A better bet for OE-style rebuilt masters are specialists in the hobby market, such as Master Power, shown here. Mopar Performance has conversion kits available to bolt up new, later-style Mopar aluminum masters in place of the cast-iron originals. Any mid-'60s-or-earlier single-reservoir Mopar should be retrofitted to a safer, dual-master system for real street use. Ever pop a wheel cylinder on a single-master system? We have, and the instant no-pedal at speed on a busy street was instant crisis. Luckily, we avoided disaster, but we learned a close lesson we won't soon forget.
13. Power Pad
Drum brakes not only rust, but also fade away; nothing like trying to slow down your worked B-Body and finding that the drums have gotten too warm to work efficiently. Luckily, Mopar aftermarket growth in the '90s provided disc brake conversions. Once installed, the stopper will stop when called upon, not when they decide to. Use quality pads; some such as these from EBC also created to prevent rotor wear and grind. There are even pads available that are constructed from carbon fiber for even greater heat dissipation and longer life. Regardless, unless you are doing a full-tilt restoration, front disc brakes can be the best upgrade to your vintage Mopar. For serious street-strip cars, four-wheel outfits may be an even better bet.
14. Line Me Up
Hitting the streets with 30-year-old, rusty steel brake lines and cracked, bulged brake hoses is way too whacked-out for us; Why, why, why? when the aftermarket has new line kits available for most older Mopars, which means you don't even have to fab your own anymore? Lines are available in stainless, which look good and should outlast anything else on the car. We picked up this set from Penstar Reproductions at a local show. Don't sacrifice your Detroit iron by deciding the worn-out stuff is "good enough," because it isn't.
Here is one we all know and love but needs repeating: the good old Mopar electronic ignition. Does it work? Millions of production vehicles have answered that beyond debate. Is it the hot ticket on my street Mopar? Consider the fact that any part of the system can be bought at the counter of virtually any auto parts store across the country. Mighty reassuring when you're a long way from home. Is it good enough for my stout street car? We've turned 7,000-plus rpm on the street and the dyno, and it works as well as anything else running the low-buck street Mopar Performance system. Racers across the country run the system with MP's race control boxes, proving it every day. For real street, it's the best thing going. If you still have a points ignition, you just must like tinkering on a regular basis.