Minnesota Cars & Coffee – August 2013

As crazy as it seems, the monthly Cars & Coffee show held at the AutoMotorPlex in Minnesota continues to grow. Last month’s holiday weekend on the 6th was a huge turnout but this month had more cars and people. I noticed a few more cars than usual with crazy power train swaps and I hope that trend continues. Quite a few other amazing cars showed up of every variety you could want and it was tough to see them all. Here’s a few I took pictures of.

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Chevette Front Brake Upgrade

As a budget-friendly economy car the Chevette was never outfitted with high dollar parts from the factory in order to keep the price tag low. This includes the brakes, as the factory Chevette brakes are laughable at best. A solid brake disc combined with a brake caliper smaller than my fist would be more suited to a go kart, as we found out when we raced the JDMVette.

Once we discovered the inherent limitations of the factory brakes, we sought to upgrade them. Our solution retains the stock master cylinder, upgrades the front rotors to 11″ vented rotors with the stock 4×100 bolt pattern, and fits on the stock spindle.

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Here is the basic parts list to complete this swap:

– Stock Chevette Brake Rotors
– 1990 VW Corrado G60 Front Brake Rotors
– Wilwood Forged Dynalite Brake Calipers (Part no. 120-6806)
– Wilwood BP-10 Brake Pads (Part no. 150-8850K)
– Brake hose with a 180* fitting on the caliper side (I didn’t order the ones on our car so I don’t know the part number)
– Brake line adapter fittings for hose to caliper
– 6″L x 2″T x ?”W piece of steel bar stock (? explained later on)
– New wheels to clear the brakes (We used 15×8 Bassett wheels with wheel spacers)

The first step in the brake upgrade is to provide a mounting solution for the new rotor. We had a local machine shop cut off the rotor part of the stock hub. Be sure to bring the Corrado rotors with you when this is done as the outer diameter of the cut hub will need to be able to fit within the inner diameter of the brake rotor hat.

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Once the rotor fits on the new hub, the brake caliper bracket can be addressed. Measurement for this bracket is critical. Our best solution for measurement was remove a spindle from the car and put it in a vise. After that, you attach the rotor to the hub and secure it with 4 lug nuts. The brake pads are then installed in the caliper and the caliper is set on the rotor. In order to allow for a small amount of radial play on the rotor, two small (1/8″ or so) washers are placed between the rotor and the two silver fluid bridges of the caliper. Ensure the brake pad will sweep the rotor face at this time too. Once the caliper is in place, measure the distance between the caliper brackets on the spindle and the brake caliper. As this mount is rigid, accurate measurement for the bracket is critical to ensure normal and even brake pad wear.

Use this measurement to purchase the steel flat stock for the bracket. Our finished product ended up like this.

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Once the bracket is complete, the rest of the upgrade is fairly straightforward. Bolt on the caliper, attach the brake hose, bleed the brakes, check wheel/caliper clearance and then bed the brake pads.

A few final notes on this upgrade.

I’m not entirely sure what brake hose was used on our car. The hose we did use has a straight fitting and one adapter to attach to the Wilwood caliper and it clears from lock to lock. If you guys find a better solution, mention it in the comments and I’ll update the article.

I choose the Wilwood Forged Dynalite caliper because it almost exactly matches the piston area of the stock Chevette caliper. I believe it was 2.94 square inches versus the Wilwood at 3.0 square inches. That meant, as far as the stock master cylinder was concerned, almost no change was made. Brake pads are also very cheap and lots of compounds choices exist.

Our wheel choice of the 15×7″ Bassett wheel in the 3.5″ offset isn’t ideal. Our main concern was cost as we were buying 8 wheels for racing when we purchased them. We also bought them prior to the brake upgrade and we had to clearance the fenders quite a bit. They’re not ideal as they’re very heavy at 19 pounds and requiring a sizable wheel spacer to clear the caliper is another negative. I’m sure they’re are better wheels than what we have so don’t take what we have as the final say. We adapted what we already had to fit this brake upgrade. They have been race proven for triple digit speeds for multiple hours, so they’re not an awful way to go either.

Price list:

Wilwood Forged Dynalite Caliper – $125 (Stock – $153)

1990 VW Corrado Brake Rotor – $50 (Stock – $54)

Brake Pads – $42 (Stock – $43)

Minnesota Cars & Cafe – May 2012

As springs arrives and people look to overcome the winter doldrums, there’s no better way to do so than to head out to the Minnesota Cars & Cafe car show. Even with a steady mist and overcast sky, around 200 cars gathered at the Automotorplex in Chanhassen bright and early at 8am on the first Saturday in May.

A few notable vehicles at this month’s event were an Aston Martin Rapide, a Ferrari 330, a group of Boss Hoss motorcycles, and there was even a Chevette in the mix.

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Minnesota Cars & Cafe – May 2012

As springs arrives and people look to overcome the winter doldrums, there’s no better way to do so than to head out to the Minnesota Cars & Cafe car show. Even with a steady mist and overcast sky, around 200 cars gathered at the Automotorplex in Chanhassen bright and early at 8am on the first Saturday in May.

A few notable vehicles at this month’s event were an Aston Martin Rapide, a Ferrari 330, a group of Boss Hoss motorcycles, and there was even a Chevette in the mix.

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Road America – April 2012 Trackside Report

We arrived at Road America in Wisconsin today to get our racecar inspected in preparation for the race weekend. Chump Car is hosting a twin 7 hour enduro race for Saturday and Sunday. Things went well and we saw lots of friendly faces in the line for technical/safety inspection. Aside from having to deal with some chilly weather it was a great introduction to a beautiful facility at Road America.

The real treat was seeing a McLaren MP4-12C in the pit area. One friend of another team here picked it up earlier today and drove it to the track. It seemed fitting for a racetrack to be the first destination for a car with that heritage.

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Here’s a quick walk around video I did of this rolling masterpiece.

Minnesota Cars & Cafe – October 2011

Today was the last event of the 2011 Minnesota Cars & Cafe season held at the Automotorplex in Chanhassen. It was a really surprising way to wrap up the year as it seemed like every known exotic and unusual car made its way to the show. The brisk weather must have warned their owners to the onset of chilly temps, snow, salt and the dwindling chances to drive on decent roads.

The notable cars from the show is pretty astounding, I know there are ones I missed but the ones that stick out to me were the McLaren SLR, a pair of AMG SLS55 cars, 458 Italia, a GT40 kit car with a carbon fiber body, Plymouth Super Bird, signed Shelby Series 1, and a Corvette ZR1.All beautiful cars and I’m a little disappointed that I won’t see them all until spring. Enough rambling about what I saw and I’ll just show you.