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Yesterday I had the oportunity to do a few laps in a Ferrari 488 GTB. It was quite amazing, but what stood out was its race preped brakes. Wow, what a differnce from my stock Pantera brakes. Those brakes could scrubb off a 100mph in a moment, over and over again. I was astounded. I wouldnt trade my Pantera for any super car, but sure would like to brake like they do.

We've had forum discussions regarding Pantera brakes. Most of the available aftermarket solutions tend to be considered a marginal in the improvement over stock. I see other posts that indicate that the stock brakes can be improved by removing the proportioning valve and improving on the rear wheel calipers. Under very hard braking with top notch equipment the rear wheel barely touch the ground, so the real improvement needs to be in the front.

I'd love to take my car to the track for vintage races, but not with it's current brakes.

What are real fixes? Money is an object, but my safety is more so.




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Last edited by George P
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The Ferrari probably has carbon ceramic brakes, but there are big brake kits that will stop the Pantera significantly better than stock, but it's a slippery slope as you'll want a new master cylinder, larger rotors, which usually dictates bigger diameter wheels.

For vintage racing the specifications on what you can use are typically pretty prescriptive and of period correctness, some sanctioning body's are more lenient than others. I just spent best part of year getting the Girling Group 4 brakes for my vintage race Pantera and it will be close to a $10k investment when complete, for what is still only 70's technology!


The Ferrari also has ABS, which means all you need to do is stomp on the brake pedal; the car does the rest. Also, the Ferrari has anti-dive suspension, so when you brake hard, all four brakes contribute to stopping the car. The Pantera doesn’t have that, so when you brake hard, you get lots of weight transfer onto the front wheels. This means too much rear bias will cause the rear brakes to lock up, causing a loss of directional stability. Braking isn’t just about calipers and rotors. Balance plays a major role. Like Julian said: a slippery slope!

Tom, you've probably already read the brake sticky. But for all who might read your topic, the brake sticky (linked below) has good information and debate.

Pantera Brake Improvements

For the record, I'm quite happy with the decades old Wilwood brake system on my Pantera. It stops hard and fast. No nose dive, no rising tail, the car stays flat. No proportioning valve at all, neither in the front circuit or the rear circuit. No premature lock-up of the front or rear brakes. 12.75" race rotors (thick) and 4 piston calipers.

Whichever vendor put the system together did well. I just wish it had a parking brake. Maybe someday I'll do that project.


Last edited by George P

I'm not overly concerned about remaining stock; the car will never get sold in my lifetime and has already lived with me for 42 years. I have 17" rims on the front and 18" rear, so larger discs are possible. Winter is coming, so there will more be time to fix things that 'aint broke'. I'll review the posts and try to get a feel for what makes the most sense.

Has anybody tried to install ABS brakes in an old car?



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Last edited by George P


Personally, one of my attractions to the Pantera is that it is, and remains, an analog exotic.

but yes, I have an updated modern ignition system and electric power steering. guilty on those charges. 😉

if I want a digital sports car, and all the “benefits” that go with them, I know where to go and purchase one.

IIRC, more than 10 years ago I believe Wilkinson had a modification project in his shop to install the Ford GT engine and Ricardo transaxle. It also was going to include an ABS system, but I think that project got shelved and returned to the owner before completion.

Maybe someone else has more specifics on that project?


Problem for most of us re a Ricardo 6-speed is -A- the sheer expense and -B- the box is much heavier-duty and bulkier than the ZF so requires either mounting the new transaxle higher so the lower rear a-arms mount under the gearbox, or spread the lower rear subframes & shorten the lower rear a-arms, then complet- ely re-do the rear suspension geometry. I doubt if G. Dallara would be interested in redoing his work of 1970 just for a few of us that want a pricy 6th gear. If I did, I'd go for Butfoy's 6-speed ZF and keep stock rear suspension.

Tom, since you've already gone from 15" to 17/18" wheels, your brake discs can also increase by 2"OD. That would massively increase the brake system leverage especially the fronts, and will noticeably upgrade your stopping power without increasing required leg power. The stock booster will provide enough assist.

I appreciate your alternate suggestions to driving a Pantera with 50-year-old technology brakes. Buying a Ferrari is not in my cards although I could live with one as my daily driver. Like most of you, maybe all, I love to drive my Pantera and do so every chance I get. It has 28,000 original miles on it, 21,000 since I bought it 42 years ago. Many are fairly spirited and probably unsafe rides as it has lots more motor now but the same brakes.

I live near Washington DC, Supercars are everywhere, and I love seeing them, but I wouldn't trade my Pantera. A couple months ago I rented a C7 Corvette and took it to track. It was nice, and it was save with traction and stability control, but it just didn't give me the fun factor that comes with a Pantera.

Have I sold you on Panteras?

Now back to getting better brakes. You gave me a few good suggestions.

Thank you.




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