Driving a souped up jalopy is cool. The thumbs-up, turning heads, hoots and hollers are what it is all about; expressing yourself, having fun and getting attention. Sitting on the side of the road however stinks. If you own and drive any type of hot rod, classic car or truck, you have been there, it is inevitable. However, some of the causes of such roadside ventures can be easily remedied and still keep your rod in check with traditional technology (well the look at least). That’s where the Pertronix Ignitor comes in.
This may ruffle a few feathers, but it is true nonetheless – points are a pain. If you didn’t grow up in the era of hi-test gas and bias-plies, points had gone the way of the Edsel by the time you got your first wheels. Electronic ignitions took over for controlling the spark in the mid-70s, and they work. No adjustments, just simple operation. Even if you love points, you still have to give up the reliability of an electronic ignition. One of the biggest issues with points is that they burn up really fast in certain situations. The quickest way to kill a set of points is to get water in the distributor (like when washing the engine), or to leave the key on without the engine running. If the points happen to be closed and the key is in the run position, they will get hot and burn up. Electronic ignition removes these issues, but most other methods mean removing the distributor and losing the original look of the car. Adding electronic ignition to your traditional hot rod in a way that maintains the original look, but adds reliability and removes an item of maintenance has to be good.
The Pertronix Ignitor has been around for a long time; so long in fact, that Pertronix now has the Ignitor II, an updated version of the classic inductive ignition system, and the Ignitor III that includes a rev-limiter built in. With a 30-month guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Installing an Ignitor is pretty simple, it is no different than swapping out the points and condenser. Two wires hang out, they go to the coil. There are a couple more steps in there, but you’ll get the point(s).
We started with a classic Buick, a 1964 Skylark convertible to be exact, with a 225 Odd-Fire V6. The firing order (1-6-5-4-3-2) makes the engine shake and gives the exhaust a little rumble, like it has a bigger cam, but it is only good for about 175 horsepower in stock form. What makes this engine difficult to deal with is the odd-fire ignition system. Sure you could try to modify a GM HEI 6-cylinder distributor to run on the odd-fire, but HEI has its own issues. The Pertronix is just the ticket to drop those pesky points and it keeps the stock look, which is great.
You can make this swap for your old points engine and get excellent results. Pertronix Ignitor systems are available for just about every points engine on the planet, even tractors, so there is a kit for you. Once you do one engine, you will want to convert them all. Follow the steps as we have laid them out for you, and your days of parking lot points adjustments will be over.
Check out all the electrical & ignition system products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to install a Pertronix Ignitor, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.