About those “Fly-Off” handbrake levers…

I suppose it was all the rage with the racer boys back in the Thirties to have a parking brake that would disengage with a tap on the lever (accidently or on purpose) but I’ve never liked it. I much prefer to have the lever to engage automatically and only release with an explicit lift of the knob. As it happens it is very easy to reverse the default action of the stock lever. Easy that is, if the lever is off of the car.

Unscrew the chrome button and remove the spring.

Remove the rod lock screw on the side of the lever casting and drop the rod/pawl out the bottom.

Make a spacer from ¼” inside diameter tube 3 ½” long.

Reassemble by putting the spring on the rod first and adding the spacer.

Insert the rod/spacer/spring into the bottom of the lever casting and tighten the rod lock screw.

Screw the chrome knob onto the top and reassemble to the car.

Test by pulling the lever back. It should click-click-click over all the ratchet teeth and release by lifting the knob and moving it forward.

If the lever is in the car; it is possible to make the change but it is not easy. Option 1: remove the transmission cover (ugh!) or Option 2: Use a 2” or so diameter hole-saw and drill through the side of the transmission cover to access the pivot bolt. Use a socket wrench to remove the pivot bolt and remove the pin from the brake cable clevis. The lever can then  be dropped out below the floorboards.

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