Speed cost money, how fast do you want to go? That is a very common phase in the automotive industry. Another line used by road racers is: Go in deeper and come out harder. Both refer to power and speed. However, the second also refers to brakes. If you brake later that means you lifted off the throttle later. To come out of the corner harder means that the car had to settle quickly and allow you to put the power down sooner. That refers back to a good braking system.
How much does speed cost? Cam kit is $500 and head porting is $800, higher compression pistons are $600 and so the bill climbs. Install it yourself and put up with all of the problems of parts not fitting together. Take it to a professional and it could cost $10,000 for the complete engine to be done. Installing a A-Series 1275 cc engine into a Bugeye Sprite may seem cheap because you purchased it used for $800. Now add all the things you need to get it installed and you spent another $500. OK, $1300.00 is a lot less than $10,000. But now you can go fast or faster.
Driving this little "hot Rod" maybe very enjoyable. You can race along side the kid in the loud Honda and beat him away from the lights and go down country roads as fast as the car can handle the curves. What a thrill until that lady in the mini van does not see you and pulls into your path. Stomp on the pedal and those old worn out brakes do not work or stop the car quick enough to save the high dollar front end sheet metal on your Bugeye Sprite. Speed costs money!
I hear it all the time, I am not going to drive this car very far or fast. The original brakes are good enough. Not true, with enough time to judge your stopping distances and enough time to plan ahead maybe the answer is yes. In today's traffic I doubt you will be given the opportunity, at least not in California.
To refurbish the drum brakes on a British car with quality components that will work as the system was designed will cost about $800 if you do it yourself.(depending on the car of course) Now this refurbished braking system will get you a car designed for 1958. How was traffic then? How is traffic now? Now that you have refurbished it, every time you go out for that nice little ride, you jack up the car and adjust the brakes before leaving, remember to take your brick for the E-Brake since the original never did work.
Or how about spending $1200.00 to $1500.00 and buy a disc brake kit that works. Spend less time working on your car as the disc brakes are self adjusting. Stop quicker, stop with more assurance and never panic when that guy in front of you that is texting stops short without any reason. Do good brakes cost lots of money - No. Initially, the cost going in is about twice the cost of refurbishing a standard brake system. In the end it is cheaper as you do not need to change pads or rotors as often as you will drums and brake shoes. In fact with our larger disc brake kits you will probably never change pads or rotors since the car will never travel close to 80,000 miles.
Think about your little "hot Rod" and all of the dollars you spent to make it fast, then think about how you are going to stop it. Disc brake kits cost less to purchase than a refurbished used front end for a Bugeye and that is without the cost of repainting that front end.