Custom Master Cylinder, Pedal Box and Hydraulics

Master Cylinders/Pedal Box

We had been using the original tandem master cylinder originally designed for the bugeye; however, it was a master cylinder sourced from Gerard Chateauvieux of Gerard’s Garage that was modified to incorporate 3/4″ bore pistons for the brakes and the clutch.

Twin Chamber 3/4″ Master Cylinder

Sebring Sprites used a custom pedal box with two offset Girling master cylinders with their own fluid reservoirs. We purchased a replica of the Sebring Pedal Box from Brookfab in the U.K.

We were quite pleased with the Brookfab assembly including the master cylinders, push rods and springs – very professional job.

Brookfab Pedal Box with Girling Master Cylinders

Brookfab Pedal Box

Brake Pipes and Hoses

All new cunifer copper alloy brake pipes with stainless fittings were formed and installed on the car for the 2024 restoration. In addition, Goodridge Stainless Braided (black) were also installed on the car. Both can be seen in the image below:

Cunifer Brake Pipes and New Fittings

Cunifer Brake Pipes and Goodridge Hoses

Brake Fluid

We have decided that because all of the brake system and clutch system are totally new we will use Dot 5 silicone brake fluid in the Bugeye.

Front Disc Brake Conversion

We bought the Bugeye in 1998 and shortly thereafter the car was taken to Grand Touring Classics, Inc in Stanarsville, VA for a safety inspection and a conversion to front disc brakes. Garland Gentry and his assistant took care of collecting the needed parts from a post 1964 Midget and installing them on the car. After some period of time we changed out the 7/8″ master cylinder for a 3/4″ which worked much better.

Of course, it is not as simple as just switching out the brakes. it is also necessary to install new stub axles and king pins, dust tubes and springs, hubs, back plates, calipers, hose brackets, rotors, pads with pad retaining plates with clips, new hoses with banjo bolts and copper washers. For the complete restoration of the car in 2024 all of the front brake components were updated and/or replaced. Parts were sourced from A.H. Spares and Moss Motors.

The front brakes, steering and suspension are integrated in assembly. Details of all of these  mechanicals are detailed in other posts regarding these subjects. The build up of the front hub assemblies and brakes ,may be found in this post:   A video showing the assembly is included in the post.

Rear Drum Brake Upgrade

A common upgrade to the braking system for Bugeyes is the replacement of the rear  drum brakes which use a single action 7/8″ rear cylinder with later MG Midget rear brakes using a larger 3/4″ dual action rear cylinder. We were able to acquire the later backing plates, wheel cylinders, and brake shoes with springs, and handbrake levers from Gerard Chateauvieux of Gerard’s Garage. He indicated that the donor car was in the 1968-72 time frame.

Rear Brake Components

LH Rear Brake Assembly with Shoes and Cylinder

LH Rear brake assembly

The conversion also required using new crossbars or rods for the handbrake system as the original Bugeye crossbars are not shaped properly for the later brakes. These were purchased from Mini-Mania.

Adjustable Handbrake Crossbars

We did have problems with the drums rubbing against the backplates and had to grind away some material from the hub edge to avoid the conflict. 

More information about the build-up of the rear brake conversion including an assembly video that details the problems we encountered may be found in two other posts: “Rear Drum Brake Upgrade” and “Bugeye Rear Axle Assembly” in the restoration series. These posts and their included videos show the mounting of the rear hubs and brake assemblies to the rear axle.