There are at least two generations of performance enthusiasts who never had to suffer through the trials of dealing with and servicing a points type ignition system. Since electronic systems became the OEM norm sometime in the early to mid 1970’s most of us have never had to deal with changing a set of points and setting the gap properly.
Those out there who know how to set up points, often find that it’s a time consuming process, that if not done correctly causes all manner of drivability issues with a car.
For over thirty years, PerTronix has been offering the Ignitor series of products for converting breaker point style ignition systems to a more reliable, and maintenance free solid state electronic ignition system. The Ignitor can also replace many of the more trouble-prone factory electronic ignition systems on the market as well.
There are several advantages to installing an ignitor system. First is that it’s a fairly simple operation, not requiring any specialty tools, and something that can be done in less than an hour on most distributors. In many cases the distributor won’t even need to be removed from the vehicle being worked on, although PerTronix does say that it’s never a bad idea to remove and inspect a distributor before performing an upgrade.
Second the system fits inside the stock distributor, retaining a stock appearance. In most cases unless you remove the distributor cap, no one knows you’ve made this switch. This can help retain that factory look that many in the restoration crowd go for, while providing the increased reliability of electronic ignition.
Last is versatility and simplicity. The Ignitor system works with a stock coil, but PerTronix does recommend upgrading to one of their Flame-Thrower 40,000-volt coils for even greater performance. It’s also compatible with many aftermarket and capacitive-discharge ignition systems, making it an alternative to more expensive complete distributor replacements.
In the accompanying video PerTronix demonstrates how easily a stock Motorcraft/Autolite distributor is upgraded from Points to an Ignitor system. We’ve also included a graph from PerTronix showing how big of a difference there is in ignition system output between a stock breaker point system and one upgraded with an Ignitor and a Flame-Thrower coil.
For more information, check out the PerTronix website.