Home 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350, GT500 & GT500KR My 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350 Clutch and Pressure Plate

Clutch and Pressure Plate

McLeod Clutch and Pressure Plate

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When you take out an engine, that is also a great time to check out the clutch and pressure plate. In my case, I had put a stock unit in it during the last rebuild in 1983. Not a lot of miles on it, but I did a parade for John Chun. I don’t do parades with this car but this was a request from John. We did ok following a marching band until I got to this hill. If I’d let the clutch fully out I would have run over the band. Dilemma for sure. So I ended up giving it gas to go up the hill with the clutch partially engaged. Smoked it badly. The guy in the Mustang behind me said he thought my car was on fire. Oops. When we pulled it out sure enough, my existing clutch and pressure plate were burned. I was bumping up the horsepower so might as well bump up the clutch. The labor was going to be paid regardless so I went on a search to find a new clutch and pressure plate.

The pic on the left is my old pressure plate. The clutch surface was burned and discolored. This happened taking John Chun in a parage in his home town some years ago. It was in bad enough shape that this alone would suggest replacing it.

There are LOTS of new clutches and pressure plates available for this engine. Dan, the engine builder, told me to get a diaphragm pressure plate. OK, what is a diaphragm pressure plate? Turns out in 1968 the pressure plate used was a three finger unit. Often referred to as a Long or Borg & Beck style pressure plate.

Long or Borg & Beck style pressure plate with the 3 fingers. This is the style I took out of my Shelby.

The newer Mustang clutches are all diaphragm, meaning many fingers. The next question is whether to go with a stock level part or upgrade. I was hoping to add 100 horsepower. Maybe it was time to go with a heavier setup.

Racing clutches are heavier duty to handle more horsepower cars. But a racing clutch takes a lot more effort to engage a mechanical clutch and hold it in. My mechanic suggested staying stock, saying I wouldn’t like a heavier clutch. My brother told me about driving across town in a car that had a racing clutch and that he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to finish the drive using this real stiff clutch. I didn’t want that so I decided to go with a clutch that was one step above stock.

The next question is to how to choose a vendor. Too many choices. After much research I decided to go with the McLeod diaphragm clutch and pressure plate.

That decision turned out to be an excellent choice. I love this clutch. McLeod make it easy to see what levels their clutch and pressure plates are targeted at.

My Mustang had a 10.5″ clutch disc. The McLeod diaphragm clutch for my application was a 10″ clutch disc. Dan, my engine builder, said the 10″ would be fine especially since this setup was much better than a stock unit.

Dan asked that I get the McLeod clutch and pressure plate so that he could balance the engine with them on it.

McLeod MCL 75213 

Diaphragm Pressure plate

McLeod Clutch and Pressure Plate

Brand:McLeod Racing

Manufacturer’s Part Number:75213

Part Type:Clutch Kits

Product Line:McLeod Super StreetPro Clutch Kits

Summit Racing Part Number:MCL-75213

Clutch Usage:Performance

Clutch Disc Quantity:Single

Input Spline Quantity:10

Input Shaft Diameter:1.063 in.

Disc Diameter (in):10.000 in.

Disc Diameter (mm):254mm

Disc Material:Organic/Ceramic

Disc Style:Full face

Hub Style:Sprung

Pressure Plate Style:Diaphragm

Throwout Bearing Included:Yes

Alignment Tool Included:Yes

Pilot Bushing Included:Yes

Flywheel Included:No

Counterweight Assist:No

Mounting Hardware Included:No

Quantity: Sold as a kit.

McLeod Super StreetPro clutch kits are great Street/Strip performance clutches—perfect for use with moderate engine modifications, including intake and exhaust upgrades, camshaft and cylinder head work, and engine management programming. Super StreetPro kits provide a heavier pedal effort than stock, along with improved holding capacity, making these excellent high performance replacement clutches.

Additional features and benefits include:

* SFI-approved assembly
* Handle up to 500 hp
* Dual-faced organic and ceramic disc for smooth engagement with exceptional holding capacity
* Kits include a pressure plate, disc, throw-out bearing (unless specified otherwise), and alignment tool

This is the actual McLeod Clutch and Pressure Plate installed in my Shelby.

My Thoughts on this Clutch and Pressure Plate

I put about 300 miles on my Shelby at this writing. McLeod says to put 500 city miles on it to break it in. I like this clutch and pressure plate. This clutch and PP are a bit more stiff than what I had in it but not too much. it does a great job of grabbing the torque from this engine. It engages and gives you the confidence it will transfer the power to the rear end.

Side Note: I got the break in mileage done on the McLeod setup before I parked my car for the winter. I’m pretty happy with the choices we made. This clutch and PP are pretty awesome. I sure appreciate how easy McLeod made it to choose the correct parts. The other vendors do not approach it like McLeod does. No, I did not do a balls to the wall burnout on this McLeod clutch and pressure plate. I very rarely do that kind of thing. No, I did not drive it like I stole it. But I am confident when that time comes, these McLeod parts will handle it.