There are certain components that never seem to make it onto some project builds, but really should. I'm thinking stuff like wipers and windshield washers, especially on cars built in the drier, Southwestern states. An emergency brake is another item that seems to be missing on an alarming number of projects. If you've ever had your brake system fail totally, you'll appreciate the value of a back-up system, especially with an automatic transmission!

Of course an e-brake is not just for use in emergencies, but useful when parking, especially on a hill, or to stop a car from moving when it's started in gear because there's no neutral safety switch fitted-another item often overlooked! Add in the fact that the Purple Pig project Chevy will carry children-hence the seatbelts in the back-and there's no way I wasn't going to fit an e-brake.

Lokar very kindly supplied me with both a floor-mount handbrake and their under-dash emergency brake lever, so I could trial fit each and see which worked best for me. I really wanted to use the under-dash version to keep the floor uncluttered, but there was no way I could see to make it fit the Chevy easily and be unobtrusive. Checking STREET RODDER magazine's Road Tour '52 Chevy, which happened to be in our Tech Center at the time, revealed that though it had an under-dash e-brake, it's foot-operated, plus the builder had cut into the footwell panel and created a box for it to fit into. I'm too far down the road to start cutting my car up at this point, plus my fuse panel is mounted there so that would need moving too. Sure, I could have planned for this earlier, but it's hard to remember everything, and my head still hurts from packaging the fuel, air, and brake lines, wiring, and exhausts to fit over and around the rearend! So I elected to use the floor-mounted e-brake lever.

Obviously the e-brake lever needs to be easily reached from the driver's seat, and bearing in mind the whole top of the trans tunnel is removable in a '49 Chevy, I was left with three options for a suitable mounting position: to the left or right of the tunnel, or to the left of the seat, just inboard of the rocker panel. The most unobtrusive position would have been to the left of the tunnel, immediately behind my right foot when sat in the car, but even a cursory glance underneath revealed there was simply no room for the cables and bracketry, as the exhaust, brake master cylinder, and shifter arm take up all available space there. I could have fitted it by the rocker panel, and clearance the chassis outriggers to run the cables, but decided I'd end up tripping over the lever on a regular basis when exiting the car. Not how I like to arrive at shows! The third option proved to be the easiest in terms of mounting the lever and running the cables, and is still accessible from the driver seat, though I'd ideally not wanted the lever on the passenger side of the car, it was a small compromise for safety.

SOURCE
Classic Performance Products
378 E Orangethorpe Ave.
Placentia
CA  92870
800-522-5004
http://www.classicperform.com
Lokar
10924 Murdock Drive
Knoxville
TN  37932
877-469-7440
www.lokar.com
Lincoln Electric
22801 St. Clair Ave
Cleveland
OH  44117
216-481-8100
www.lincolnelectric.com
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