add some powerful stopping power to your fox
When you are former NMRA True Street champ like Mike Jovanis, and own a '89 LX that runs mid sevens in the 1/4, what kind of a cruiser would you want? Let's be honest, when one car runs 170+ in the quarter, anything else is going to feel extremely slow. However, there are those times when something a bit more tame is soothing to the soul. A huge foxbody aficionado, Mike had his heart set on one specific car, which took him three years to acquire, as the previous owner had no interest in selling. The persistence did pay off, however, and this beautiful 1990 Saleen found its way into Mike's garage. While the exterior of the car remains untouched, the car is quite heavily modified. Rocking a complete Maximum Motorsports suspension, 331 stroker based on a FRPP B50 block, Vortech supercharger, and T56 trans; it has plenty of beans.
Rewind back a few years, Mike had developed a great working relationship with the folks over at Baer brakes. Essentially torture testing their products on his wicked fast '89 LX. What better way to test a product than hauling down Mike's hatch from 170 MPH blasts? So if you ever wondered if Baer brakes were solid enough for your build, trust me when I say they have been tested in the most extreme conditions.
Getting back to the Saleen, the car had already been outfitted with the FRPP M2300K brake conversion, which included SN95 spindles. While the Cobra spec brakes provide much improved stopping power over the stock brakes, Mike wanted the confidence of larger brakes. Never one to do anything half way, he contacted Baer about fitting their "R" version of the 6S forged calipers, with massive 14" rotors. These calipers offer extra machining for reduced weight, machined top for pad changes without removing the calipers, and notched stainless steel pistons. Go big or go home!
The tough part about this job was making sure the calipers would clear the Speedline wheels, as changing wheels was not an option (I wouldn't change them either). The team at Baer sent Mike over a template to test, and everything seemed to clear. The other tough decision was color. If you stop by and browse the Baer website, they have virtually limitless color options. Mike spent many nights in the garage, agonizing over which color would be just right. With the car being black, and the stripes being deleted, Mike settled on a bright yellow hue, that mimics the SSC yellow, as well as the SA10. While it may be a bit bright for some, they work very well on the car, and are true to Saleen heritage.
With the car already wearing upgraded brakes, the install was very straightforward. On a standard LX or GT this would have been a breeze to do, however, some of the Saleen specific parts threw a wrench in the works. The first issue was the tie rod being too close to the rotors for Mike's liking, so a call was placed to UPR for their bump steer kit. Problem solved. The next issue revolved around the Speedline wheels. While the caliper did clear the face of the wheel, and the barrel, there was a small area where the face and barrel met that touched ever so slightly. The issue was resolved by sending the rotor rings back to Baer for additional machining. Had he been using a 13.5" rotor all would have cleared fine, but the additional shimming to run the 14" is where the issue popped up.
The third issue came in the rear of the car. Saleen uses a longer rear axle, and larger brake offset. To make things worse, the rear in this car had been beefed up with 9" ends. So once again, on a standard car, everything would have bolted up with ease, but the additional mods complicated things. After some measuring and head scratching, Mike sent Baer some measurements, and the problems were solved.
The final results are more than impressive. Having this kind of stopping power on a fox is amazing. This kit would handily haul down a heavy GT500 from speed, so you can imagine what it will do in Mike's Saleen, which is nearly 1,000 lbs lighter. Not only that, but the massive yellow binders peeking out from behind the Speedline wheels looks stunning. Regardless if Mike just chooses to cruise the car, or hit some open track events, he can now throw out the anchor with confidence.
Baer does offer several different options for foxbody owners, in different price ranges. The entry level kits offer plenty of clamping force with the four piston calipers, and 13" rotors. You can also choose to stay with four lug configurations, if you want to retain your current wheels. Another interesting note is Baer offers a modified stock spindle, which allows it to keep the factory geometry, but will accept a new style hub assembly. The kits come pre-assembled, and use pads that will be available anywhere, which is a huge plus when a pad change is needed.
Baer also has kits to convert the rear to disk, and uses a one piece "bankisa" parking brake design, which is a more modern system. The rear kits come with braided lines just like the front, and use off the shelf style pads for easy replacement. The rear kits are available in four or five lug, which is a nice option if you don't want to change axels and/or wheels.
Once the New Jersey winter gives way to spring, Mike will be out doing some testing with the new system, and I look forward to seeing the results. With the car already making big power, and rocking a fully sorted suspension, the Baer brakes are the final piece to the puzzle. I must say, I am hoping to install this kit on project Road Warrior once the coyote swap is complete. CR