Friday, January 19

History in the Braking – How the Car Brake Disc was Developed


A new documentary explores the early days of brake discs on cars, and we talk to Norman Dewis about his time as chief development driver

A 29-minute-long documentary on the history of the brake disc isn’t going to be on many peoples’ Christmas list. Its appeal is niche, yes, but there are enough individuals – there are enough of us – who would want to sit down and listen and learn about the daring pre-“health and safety” development process of adapting aircraft brakes to cars.

For that small collection of us, we’re in luck, because Mintex got hold of Jaguar’s chief development driver, Norman Dewis (who helped test the new brake system), Stirling Moss (who needs no introduction), some period footage, and put them together to make a short film called History in the Braking. The documentary revolves around an interview with Dewis and the process and risks he, Jaguar, Mintex took to make disc brakes work on cars. We sat down with Dewis to find out a little bit more about how different testing and developing, as well as motorsport, was back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

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