Matt's Old

Fiddling with Rambler's since 1995

Rambler American Restoration

Replacing The Parking Brake Lever Handle - Take 2

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August 28, 2003

A few years ago, I replaced the missing parking brake handle on my American with one of the metal reproductions. I later updated that page to indicate that the handle didn't hold up well. While I was working on my cowl last year and looking for a supplier for the proper caulk for the windshield on the car, I discovered that early Mustang's use a similar handle. I finally decided to try one out (it was about $10 for the part and about $9 for shipping) and I wish I knew about these a long time ago!

The part is different but it does fit and it looks close enough that most people probably would not notice it's wrong for the car. I purchased my handle from Mustangs Plus ( and it's part number 03011, which is for 1964½ through 1966 Mustangs. I did notice one functional difference that I'll have to fix but it shouldn't be a big deal. That difference is the roll pin goes into the bottom on American's but it goes in on the side on Mustang's.

Here's pictures of both handles (note: the American handle is from my parts car and is typical of the condition these are in after 30+ years of use):

That's it for now. In a few weeks, I'll have this installed (and the front parking brake cable replaced) and I'll update this page after that happens.

December 5 Update

Okay, it's been more than a few weeks but I do have the handle installed. Instead of re-drilling the attaching pin hole in the new handle, we ended up drilling a new hole in the shaft itself. It ends up being drilled at 90 degrees to the original and a little further back on the shaft. Here's what it looks like when it's installed.

December 29 Update

I installed the parking brake lever with the new handle recently. One thing I didn't notice until it was way to late is that  the hole that was drilled for the new handle isn't exactly 90 degrees to the old one so the handle is a little bit crooked. I think I'm going to try and shim the mounting stud a little to see if I can't make it look better. If nothing else, I do have another lever I can try but that may come later in the project. For now, just being able to apply the brake easily is good enough. To that end, I also replaced the original cable that goes from the lever to the equalizer (the rear cables were replaced back in 1998). Here's what it looks like now:

A few other notes on this install:

  • The Mustang handle is slightly longer than the Rambler handle which keeps the lever from going back as far as it should to make installing the cable easy. I'd recommend installing a washer on the end of the lever to shim the Mustang handle out about 1/8".

  • If you've never had the lever out of the car, it is much easier if you disconnect the cable at the equalizer and undo the cable clamps (there should be three) which will allow you to pull the lever out from under the dash. There's a grommet on the end of the lever that's about 3 inches long and you have to pull it back to get the cable out. It's much easier to do this when you're not working under the dash.

  • To remove the old handle, drive the retaining pin into the lever. Once it's drive in, you can remove the old handle and then drive the pin the rest of the way out. You may need to tap on the back of the old handle to free it from the lever.

Last Updated 01/04/04 04:51:47 PM