The second generation (C2) Chevrolet Corvette was so advanced when it debuted that virtually the same platform lasted until the last third generation (C3) car in 1982. If you want to keep using stock 15-inch diameter wheels, it is hard to beat the factory brake system, but Wilwood did. Because the factory brakes were so well engineered, and in production for so long, instead of starting with a clean sheet, Wilwood designed direct upgrades based on the stock part shapes.
You can upgrade your Corvette to Wilwood brakes all at once, or one component at a time.
A note about 1963 and 1964 Corvettes: Early C2 Corvettes still used drum brakes front and rear. If you have one of these classics, they can easily be updated and converted to disc by using spindles (front and rear), hubs, rear trailing arms, and bump stops from a later car. Any 1965-82 Corvette parts can be used, but the hubs and spindles need to match, as the wheel bearings were made bigger and stronger in 1969. If you don't want to go this route, Wilwood also has complete conversion kits using the factory drum brake front spindle and keeping the rear drums.
The earliest C2 Corvettes used a single circuit master cylinder to work the drum brake cylinders which is ill suited for use with a disc brake conversion, and doesn't have the safety redundancy built into later systems. The later cars with factory discs have a master cylinder that works fine with Wilwood replacement calipers, but those heavy cast iron units are best suited to museum restorations, not spirited driving.
Wilwood offers a compact aluminum master cylinder specifically engineered for the manual brakes on C2 Corvettes. Not only is this an all-new, lightweight unit, but the bore is sized to make the brakes more effective with less pedal effort. Part number 260-16521, with a 15/16" bore, improves line pressure by more than 10% for a given amount of pedal force compared to the stock 1" bore. For a further reduction in pedal effort or increase in caliper clamping force, part number 260-16520 has a 7/8" bore.
Wilwood D8-6 Calipers
The ultimate easy upgrade for your C2 or C3 Corvette is to replace the factory four-piston front calipers with Wilwood's D8-6 six-piston calipers. Hard anodized forged billet aluminum bodies, stainless steel pistons, and high-temperature seals put an end to the rust, bore pitting and seal failures that plague the OE caliper design. When GM introduced these cars disc brake technology was in its infancy, so why would anyone replace the factory relics with new versions of the same?
Wilwood improved upon GM's design with more modern technology born from building brakes for race cars. Not only do you get the more uniform clamping force of six differential bore pistons, but you also get lighter stiffer calipers and more durable square bore seals. Piston sizes were engineered to work with the stock Corvette master cylinder or Wilwood replacements, so no other parts need to be changed or adjusted.
Wilwood D8-4 Calipers
In 1965, from the minute they introduced disc brakes to their already excellent sports car, GM blessed the Corvette with four piston calipers. Though the C4 Corvettes were advanced in many aspects of power and handling, they moved backwards somewhat by going to a more pedestrian sliding two piston caliper. Wilwood took into account the factory mounting points, rotor size, and even brake pad shape, then designed a caliper within those constraints.
The result of combining years of experience on race tracks with GM's original design is the Wilwood D8-4 caliper. The surface area of the piston's matches the factory master cylinder, but they use the same seals and stainless steel pistons developed for racing. The body of the caliper is lightweight aluminum, but designed for added rigidity, and forged for an extra measure of strength.
Wilwood D8-4 calipers come in two different sizes. The front uses four 1.88-inch diameter pistons. The rear brake caliper uses four 1.38-inch pistons, to give the same front to rear bias as the factory brakes.
Piston sizes were engineered to work with the stock Corvette master cylinder or Wilwood replacements, so no other parts need to be changed or adjusted. Both four and six piston calipers work with the factory, or aftermarket stock replacement, rotors and pads.
Wilwood has better than stock rotors and pads that go right on, with or without the Wilwood D8 calipers.
Wilwood D8 Brake Pads
Wilwood also has performance replacement brake pads as an upgrade for the stock C2 and C3 Corvette brakes. The proprietary friction materials of these Wilwood pads are applied to D8 shape brake backing plates for GM calipers, or the Wilwood D8 replacement upgrades. Both are performance pads, but they are very different.
The Wilwood ProMatrix brake pad is designed to be a performance replacement for stock pads on cars/trucks that are primarily driven on the street. They give an aggressive initial bite, but smooth moderate overall friction. They are not intended for track use, but will maintain their friction characteristics from cold to over 800 degrees. They are perfect for street driven cars with low noise and less dust than your average pad. They can be used for aggressive street driving without fade, and are okay for autocross or the occasional track day.
Wilwood's PolyMatrix H is a very aggressive race pad meant for track use only. It takes some heat to reach maximum friction potential, but maintains a high coefficient of friction from 700 to more than 1300 degree Fahrenheit. These pads are great for road racing, and have a low wear rate to last for endurance events. Like most pad compounds meant for use on race tracks, they will cause accelerated rotor wear compared to a street pad.
ProMatrix SRP Drilled and Slotted Rotors
Wilwood engineers thought so highly of the stock Corvette C2/C3 brakes that they made their own replacement version of the calipers and rotors. Many OEM brakes use a single piston sliding caliper and marginally sized rotors, but not the Corvette. For the Corvette we optimized the stock brake package and added special Wilwood enhancements.
The rotors Chevy used on the Corvette are about as big as you can fit inside a 15-inch wheel, and plenty thick to provide a heat sink and cooling air between the friction surfaces. Wilwood ProMatrix rotors are the same size as factory, but drilled and slotted for a more aggressive bite, and high performance look. Our specially formulated iron castings are chosen for their thermal stability and high friction to make them better than stock or other standard parts store replacements.
But even with these improvements, the rotors swap right onto the stock hubs and work with factory calipers. Wilwood sells rotors in pairs, front or rear, or a set with all four.
This is a hard question to answer exactly, but I can give you the MSRP of our front kits that fit a 63-64 Corvette. Since these cars did not have factory discs, you cannot bolt on the D8 calipers without first sourcing the appropriate later Corvette parts.
Our least expensive Classic Series Dynalite kit starts at $840.26, which uses 11.00” one piece rotor/hubs and a four piston caliper. We also have Dynalite Pro kits with 11.75” and 12.19” rotors, and our forged aluminum hubs which start at $1,094.36. And even bigger kits from there that would require you to use wheels bigger than the standard 15” that came on your car.
You can look at all the options here – https://www.wilwood.com/BrakeKits/BrakeKitSearch?year=1963&make=Chevrolet&model=Corvette&option=C-2&axle=Front+Kit
You will also need to upgrade your master cylinder to either a disc brake version from a later Corvette or one of ours, with a bore appropriate for whatever front kit you choose. You will also need to run new hard lines to convert the car to dual circuit brakes as used on later cars.
There is no way for us to estimate the labor involved if you aren’t planning on doing it yourself. You’ll have to contact a local shop.
I have an original 1963 Split Window Coupe. Would like to install disc brakes on front of car. How much is the total cost for this conversion?Thank You
I have a custom 1973 corvette with close to 800 hp i want to change all the brake calibers and master cylinder i have a dual 8 inch vacuum booster than doesn’t work well because of the camshaft and i don’t have room for anything bigger