Designing a brake pedal assembly for the 1928 – 31 Model A Ford
Many years ago I started with a couple of vintage Plymouths. One was a 1930 and the other a 1931. Both were four door cars. I bought both of these cars for $3500 as the seller did not want to split them up. Maybe the cars had an attachment to each other, who knows? This seller was bit different. He had so many cars and projects, that one person could not finish them all in ten life times. He told me that he could part these cars out and make a fortune. This guy had lots of ideas and stories but a lack of time or maybe interest. This is the usually pit many car builders fall into. Collect lots of stuff, but never do anything with it because they are too busy collecting stuff!!! The 1930 Plymouth was hanging from the ceiling on chains in his shop so he could pack more cars in the building. I must say there was an interesting collection of cars.
A few weeks later I sold the 1931 Plymouth for $3200. Now I was into one car for only $300. The 1930 Plymouth had numerous parts I did not need for the hot rod build so they were all sold via eBay and local advertising. The fellow I bought the cars from was bang on about selling parts from these cars. I guess he didn’t have the time or interest to do what I did.
More money just rolling in and I really haven’t started the build yet. Over time I realize the 1930 Plymouth was not for me and I sold it and finally ended up with the 1929 Ford roadster body. In the process, I bought and sold several cars and kept parts I thought I would need for my build. I did keep a brake / clutch pedal assembly from the 1930 Plymouth and another one from a 1934 Plymouth.
When I designed and built the chassis / frame for the 1929 Ford hot rod, I welded a bracket onto the side of the chassis / frame for the 1930 Plymouth brake / clutch assembly to bolt to. Now it came time to install the brakes. Everything fit as it should except the brake pedal needed a few adjustments. It needed to be shortened slightly. I cut it at the bend and removed what I needed to, and re-welded it with the addition of a gusset for additional strength. Of course I thought it would be a great idea to sit in the roadster on a milk crate and give the brake pedal a try. Just a big kid at heart!! Well that didn’t work out so well and maybe a hidden blessing. One of the brake pedal parts broke along the keyway slot were it attached to the shaft. This could have been deadly if the car was out on the road. I even attempted to repair this part and it broke again. It was then I decided to design and build my own brake pedal assembly. There would be nothing worse than driving a car you cannot stop.
Using the slightly altered original pedal as a template, I traced a pattern onto 3/8 inch steel plate. This was then cut out on the metal band saw and the edges sanded smooth on the 1 inch belt sander. A small shaft collar was then welded to the pivot point of the brake pedal. I reused the shaft form the vintage brake pedal assembly in my new design. At the time, I did not have a lathe or milling machine so I needed to use my imagination to fit pieces together with materials I already had.
Now I traced the base plate onto 0.25 inch steel plate so my new brake pedal assembly would match the bracket already welded to the chassis / frame of my 1929 Ford hot rod. Using some scraps left over from the lower control arms mounts for the lower control arm I made the mount for the brake pedal shaft. A couple of bronze bushings and grease fittings were added to minimize wear of the rotating parts.
Everything was assembled and bolted to the 1929 Ford hot rod for a trial fit. I noticed a minor adjustment would be required on the lower part of the brake pedal. Once this adjustment was made, the new brake pedal assembly was primed and sealed.
The last thing I needed to do was fabricate a new brake pedal pad. Again I traced the original vintage pedal onto 3/8 inch steel plate. A small mounting bracket was added so the pad can be bolted to the pedal. The face of the brake pedal pad will eventually have a piece of ribbed aluminum attached to it to give it a more finished look.
Oh, I forgot to mention. The brake pedal parts from both the 1930 and 1934 Plymouths were sold shortly after completing the one I designed and built. I tend sell or give away anything I do not see a future use for as I do not want to be a collector of stuff that I will never use.