In addition to my 67 fastback with a 502 in it, I just picked up a 65 fastback with a L6 Powerglide all original!
I'm trying my hardest to get my son off the constant video gaming obsession so we will try to make this a cool project!
We are going to keep the powertrain the same.
It has power DRUM brakes and power steering.
Would front disc brakes be 100% necessary to keep it safe for my son?
He will be doing 100% city driving to school/work etc...then in college I'll probably lease him a cruze for economy and reliability...
More pics later...this should be fun!
I'd say convert to discs with slotted and drilled rotors. they are safer, and lighter than the drums. Not only are they more effective, they're not nearly as prone to lock up in the rain. Your son is a lucky #$(%! Straight six ought to be plenty powerful to get it moving around, especially with a good air cleaner and exhaust.
Drum brakes are perfectly safe for every day driving. Easy to maintain, cheap to to rebuild. If they are in good shape, consider leaving them after a few test drives. My 65 is still on stock power drums, and I have never felt the need to swap to discs in 15 years of owning it.
Swap out the Glide for a 200-4R overdrive transmission, and he'll get reasonable mileage out of that car!
I'm building a big block for my 68 corvette and my son slyly mentioned it would be a shame to waste the 300hp 350 sitting in it currently...he thought he was being slick, but you should have seen his face when I told him I was planning to swap the 350 in the 65...when he went to college and cant have a car his freshman year! JAWDROP was priceless!
Drum brakes are the best you can find for driving within the posted speed limit. The factory swapped over to disc brakes because they are cheaper to make and install maximizing the profit margin.
Racers switch to disc brakes because there is an upper limit on drum brakes in terms of how much heat they can adsorb. The faster you are driving the greater the quantity of heat that is generated. Once the drums are heat soaked they can no longer work at maximum efficiency so you get brake fade.
Repeated hard braking also builds up heat faster than the drum can radiate the heat away. This is why all racers use disc brakes. The faster you go or the more frequently you apply the brake the larger the diameter and the thicker the rotor needs to be to both adsorb heat and to have enough area to radiate the heat that builds up away at a faster rate.
If nothing else a drum brake will record by way of hot spots or warping how hot they have become from hard braking which can only be caused by hard braking from high speed. So next to a video camera mounted on the dash this can be a tell tale of bad driving habits.
The greatest safety feature you can install in your sons car is the removal of all but the drivers seat and forbidding any of his male friends to ride with him until his 24th birthday. It is showing off in front of his friends that ends in accidents.
1965 Impala's are great cars. I own 2. As you probably know, they are not the safest cars in the world. The steering column dose not collapse, only seat belts in the front and very little side impact protection. The stock brakes are adequate. As long as the driver knows the limitations of the car there shouldn't be a problem.
You guys gotta bear in mind that this is a teenage kid, there's a 99% chance that once he gets comfortable driving the car, he will be exceeding the speed limit. Hell, I still do it on the regular and I'm 26. Ever hear the saying 'hope for the best, prepare for the worst' ? I'd say this is one of those cases. If it were my kid I'd be doing disc brakes up front and a collapsible column at a minimum.
I found a 4 wheel disc brake conversion kit for around $700 including chrome booster and MC...so we will probably go that route for peace of mind and cool factor when we put 17 or 18 inch rims on it.
Where can I find a collapsible column?
Its at the paint shop now, getting a medium blue metallic paint job.
My plans for now are power 4 wheel discs, hei ignition, better intake manifold, holley 390 4 bbl and a T5 MANUAL transmission out of a S10 pickup, possibly headers or split manifolds as well...
Tuned and running well, what mpg can be obtained with a small 4 bbl and a 5 spd manual? I'm hearing the powerglide destroys fuel economy...
This picture is my inspiration...
If you are thinking 4bbl and a T5, get over to the 60-66 section on the 67-72 Chevy truck forum. Lots of info on 6cyl hop ups, and more than a few T5 transmissions behind 6 cylinders. They've really sorted out all the parts needed for the swap.
If you are building for mileage then gearing says it all.
Problem with a T5 is the fact that it was designed for use with a fly weight car ( a Ford Pinto) and a four cylinder motor. It breaks behind big V6 motors. Chevy used it for two and a half years behind a smog eviscerated 305 V8 in another light weight third generation Camaro before replacing it with the T-56; because the T5 kept breaking under warranty, which cost GM money, having to buy two or three T5's to get the car out of warranty.
If you don't mind replacing the T-5 frequently it can work for you: but I will caution you it gets old after a while having done something similar with a B-W three speed in a 1961 Chevy 3500 light truck. I used to break the three speeds every time I backed off a paved road, as the rolling resistance of the truck exceeded it's torque rating.