1957 Cadillac Coupe de Ville Project

With the firewall in place it was now time to tackle the brakes. Since I’m putting quite a bit more power in this car than it had stock, I figured I should give it some more braking power as well. I’m not aware of any bolt together kits to put disks on the front of a 57 Caddy. MP Brakes wanted $1000 to adapt disks to my spindles. That seemed a bit spendy to me. Enjenjo (from the RRT) did some research for me to find OEM parts that would fit my spindles. With enjenjo’s advice, some junk yard scrounging and some help from Ken in WA locating some caliper brackets, I ended up with the following parts: Rotors, calipers, inner and outer bearings, master cylinder, power booster, swinging pedal assembly and combo valve from a 72 Cadillac de ville and front caliper brackets from a 74 Chevy ½ ton 4X4 pickup.

The rotors fit right onto the 57 spindles as enjenjo said they would. Initially I had to add a washer behind the spindle nut to get it all snug.

There was 7/16” clearance between the back of the rotor and the bottom 2 holes in the spindle and 3/8” clearance at the top hole in the spindle, more on this in a minute.

Because of the close clearance and precious little room between there for a caliper bracket, I decided to put a 5/16”thick spacer on the spindle behind the inner bearing. This will solve the problem initially fixed with the extra washer behind the spindle nut and it will give ample clearance (1”) for the caliper bracket and the heads of the bolts that hold it on. Since the three holes in the spindle are not on the same plane, I’ll have to machine 1/16” off of the spindle at the top hole to get the same 1” clearance as I have on the two bottom holes. I cut quite a bit off of the Chevy truck caliper brackets to get them to clear the spindles after I removed the tin pieces that were spot welded on.

I bolted one of the calipers with very worn pads to one of the trimmed caliper brackets, put it on the rotor and clamped it down by attaching an air hose to a modified brake line (another cool idea from the RRT). With the caliper correctly positioned, I made a pattern for a bracket that will bolt to the spindle and will be welded to the trimmed Chevy truck caliper brackets. These pieces will be cut from 5/16”steel plate with a plasma cutter.

The swinging pedal, power booster and master cylinder from the 72 de ville bolted right to the new flat firewall after trimming 3/8” off the bottom of the swinging pedal bracket and modifying the left defroster duct.

I removed the defroster duct, cut it in half, turned the bottom half 180 degrees, welded it back together and welded it back in (easier said than done). This changed the inlet for the duct from facing left to facing right and eliminated the interference with the swinging pedal assembly. Even though the rotors are the same 5 on 5” bolt pattern and the stock 57 wheels are 15” diameter, it looks like the wheels won’t clear the calipers when everything is finished. I’ll probably have to go back to the boneyard and get a set of wheels from the later Caddy too.

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