By on January 13, 2011


I spotted this sticker on a (disc brake-equipped) Nissan pickup in the parking lot of the San Jose North Pick-Your-Part during my last trip to California. While I do believe that drum brakes want to kill us all— I’m already hating the four-wheel/single-circuit drums on my ’66 Dodge A100 van— I still admire the cryptic sentiment expressed here.

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32 Comments on “Bumper Sticker of the Week!...”


  • avatar
    vww12

    “I still admire the cryptic sentiment expressed here”
     
    Alright someone pls. clarify the sentiment, because I’m just not getting it.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      It is a reference to the post-WWII years in the USA, when a massively increased industrial capacity flooded the market with millions of new automobiles at insanely low prices and put new cars in every suburban garage, most (all?) of which were fitted with reliable, long life drum brakes at all four corners. Disc brake systems didn’t become prevalent until the 1960s in the US, and even then only the top of the line luxury and sports models had the option of discs at all corners. It would be another 3 decades before discs would outnumber drums in new domestic production automobiles, and you’ll still see a few drum brake holdouts on new car lots today. Drum brakes won’t ever go away; even today’s all-disc equipped automobiles use tiny drum brakes inside the rear disc hub for parking brake duties – and just ask someone who works on disc-only parking brake systems how crappy they are at holding parked cars still.

      The bumper sticker was a reference to the high prosperity lifestyle which characterized the late-40s, 50s and 60s, even with the Cold War threat of nuclear annihilation looming over the world and many other dark aspects of that era.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      The 666… thing is a symbol of satan.  Here in NM there is a state highway between Shiprock and Gallup (on the rez) that was designated 666 up until a few years ago.  It was renamed 491 because of the high accident and death rate, and the previous governor and local population were willing to try anything to make it safer (never mind the high drunk driving factor).  The Peace and Prosperity with Drum Brakes has me stumped, unless it’s reminiscent of a simpler era when cars had drum brakes.  I dunno. Looks like Felis Concolor has a good explanation.

    • 0 avatar
      vww12

      Great reference, Felis Concolor!
      Wow such a cyptic sentiment for a bumper sticker…
       

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Maybe he meant Drum Breaks?

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I have driven a lot of cars with drum brakes over the years and would still argue (flame-proof coverslls – check!) that they are just fine for 99% of the way most of us drive.  (Jack Baruth is not in the 99%, by the way.)  Unless you are driving in mountains pulling a trailer, spending a lot of time in 8 inch deep water or a teenager doing things with a car you shouldn’t be doing anyhow (and yes I have experienced massive brake fade when doing just that), decent drum brakes will stop you as well as you need to be stopped.

    Discs are undeniably better towards the limits, and are clearly superior in performance cars.  Also, I would choose discs over drums if given the even choice, but for typical stop and go suburban life, discs offer no great improvement in 99% of situations.  That said, there were a lot of cars with drum brakes that were not big enough like the 9 inchers on my 71 Scamp.  Maybe this is Murilee’s problem on the A-100. 

    • 0 avatar

      In my experience, cars with four-wheel drums will get severe brake fade during a single hard deceleration event (e.g. when coming upon stalled freeway traffic at speed). I recall both my ’61 Ranchero and ’65 Impala having just about zero brakes at the end of a hard stop from 75 MPH, and the Beetles I’ve owned weren’t much better.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I believe the Front Disc/Rear Drum set-up to be just fine, especially if you do a lot of driving on gravel, like I do.

      Drum is less prone to warpage, and shoes are similarly priced to pads while lasting longer since the fronts do 70% of the braking.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Murilee is correct.  I twice scared the bejesus out of myself and three passengers when the 4-wheel drums in my 65 Mustang faded into worthlessness while descending fairly steep, but not very long grades.  Luckily for all concerned we reached a long, flat stretch of road and were able to get to a stop.  I don’t mind front disks/rear drums, but you couldn’t pay me to own a car with drums all around.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t explain why but I found that releasing the brake pedal just briefly and applying it again during a hard stop at high speed makes drums more effective. At least those in my ’65 Buick…  And there’s a real difference between cast iron drums and aluminum ones. I had aftermarket cast iron drums on my car when I got it but since I had a few sets of aluminum drums in stock, I soon replaced them and fade resistance was greatly improved.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I have a strippo 1980 F-100 in my collection, 3-in-the-tree, armstrong steering and no power brakes (fortunately dual-circuit front-disc though) You just don’t drive it the same as a modern vehicle, you must really anticipate what may happen in traffic. I wouldn’t want to drive it every day, but I enjoy the odd excursion.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven cars with bad drum brake systems and I have also driven cars with bad disc brake systems.
     
    I never had to complain about the 4 wheel 12″ finned drum brakes (with aluminium front drums) I had in many older Buicks (including my current 1965 Wildcat). I have the optional front disc brakes on my 1967 Riviera GS, while they do stop better and they are more fade resistant, they are also more expensive to service (I had one 4 piston caliper rebuilt once at the price of 400$!) and replacement rotors are not available.
     
    I had much newer cars with front disc brakes that didn’t perform as well as aluminium drums.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    My ’68 Land Rover Series IIa had drum brakes front and rear.  They worked fine as long as you did some long-term planning for stops.  And anyway, warp speed in that thing was 55 mph, so you couldn’t get into trouble if you tried.

  • avatar
    Mike C.

    I had a ’67 Mustang, 289 with non-power drums and although dual circuit, they were horrible brakes in terms of effort and stopping distance.  When I let anyone else drive the car I had to warn them…

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Ever have the experience of driving a disc braked equipped car shortly after getting out of that all drums Stang and nearly have your face hit the steering wheel when those disc brakes activate?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Heck that happens when I go from my Honda to my Mini Cooper.  Those Mini brakes are crazy strong!  Always gets a laugh out of my wife.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Ever have the experience of driving a disc braked equipped car shortly after getting out of that all drums Stang and nearly have your face hit the steering wheel when those disc brakes activate?
       
      I have that sensation when I go from my ’92 station car (with 4 wheel disc/ABS) to my 09 Altima.  It is like releasing a parachute…a good set of binders is essential for spirited driving, hell even in bumper-to-bumper grinding.  That is why everything I drive gets performance brake pads – noise/dust be damned…killer brakes are your best friend.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    I would never say drums are  better,but I had a new 68 El camino with factory option HD shoe material ( metalic ?) Absolutly no fade, in a 100 mph panic stop . The hotter they got the better they worked.

  • avatar
    mikenem

    ” Yes this is my truck. No I will not help you move.”

    Saw that one yesterday.

  • avatar

    I drove a couple of old Beetles for  a ttac review. the drums were scary. @font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”; }@font-face { font-family: “Arial”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-used-car-classic-vw-beetle/
     

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    JP………at least the V8 equipped A bodies moved up to 10 inchers.  On GM products even the larger A body musclecars like goats and 396 chevelles used 9 inchers. Chrysler’s musclecars like the charger, road runner and super bee all came standard with 11 inchers.
    Drum brakes are ok for every day commuting.  BTW 18 wheelers still use drums

  • avatar
    Mike C.

    Ever have the experience of driving a disc braked equipped car shortly after getting out of that all drums Stang and nearly have your face hit the steering wheel when those disc brakes activate?

    Yes, in my aunt’s 71 Galaxie 500.  I think that car was way on the other end of the spectrum as far as effort…

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    The sensitivity of the brakes has nothing to do with whether they are drums or discs. Some cars brakes are just more touchy than others, and it has to do with things within the braking system other than the setup used. For example I had a 74 304 gremlin with power drum brakes, and they were very touchy. If someone would drive the car without me warning them beforehand they would just about go through the windshield the first time they hit the brakes.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    One advantage to discs: I can do a two-wheel brake job on a disc-equipped vehicle in well under an hour. I wouldn’t even know where to begin on a vehicle with drums, nor have I ever tried to find out.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    My Dad’s old 1967 Mustang has drums on all four corners with no plans to upgrade.  He’s found the biggest variable in stopping distances for that car to be how good the tires are.

  • avatar
    202mph

    Really…. was it necessary to make us click “more” to read:
     
    While I do believe that drum brakes want to kill us all— I’m already hating the four-wheel/single-circuit drums on my ’66 Dodge A100 van— I still admire the cryptic sentiment expressed here.
     
    Of course not. You’re under editorial pressure to put in extended entries to pad your page views. All you’re doing is wasting your readers’ time and treating them like they are here to serve you and not vice versa.
    Please stop wasting our time and insulting our intelligence. We know the game.
     
     

  • avatar
    JohnH

    The sooner I get my rear end out of this apartment and out to a junk yard to salvage the disks from an Escort GT, to put on my 93 Wagon, the happier I will be. Been wanting to do it a long time. The brakes on this car suck. Thank god it’s a manual and I can downshift when needed.

  • avatar

    This Bumper Sticker was handed out to participants on Martin Swig’s old La Carrera Nevada car rally (which he keeps threatening to run again some day.) A distance driving event in the American outback of Nevada, using pre-1955 cars only.
    I have one of these stickers on the wall of my workshop, as I participated in 2000, co-driving a 1954 Jaguar XK-120 (ironically the machine which introduced disc brakes to the world in C-type form.)
    Swig’s explanation of the sticker is that people were nicer drivers when braking was unpredictable.
     

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Best bumper sticker ever: “GET THE MULLET”. A particularly cruel attempt at leading the young and uninformed down the garden path to hell…


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