By todays standards, breaker-point ignition systems are generally considered antiquated and obsolete. While enthusiasts running some of the more popular powerplants can sometimes retrofit electronic ignitions from later models, these operations can entail wiring surgery many would rather avoid. Even easily swapped ignitions, like GMs HEI, may not be the answer. Members of the retro set often balk at the HEIs obvious incorrect appearance, and in some cases, the large-cap distributor is physically incompatiblejust try running one with three deuces.
We discovered an alternative in the Pertronix Ignitor II. Many rodders are likely familiar with the original Ignitor; its been available for over 20 years. The original Ignitor system consists of a Hall-effect pickup and, depending on the application, rotating cobalt magnets that are installed in the original distributor. Installation is quick and painless, enabling the conversion to electronic-spark controls for a wide variety of OE breaker-point distributors.
With the Ignitor II, installation remains just as simple, but the addition of a microprocessor provides further benefits, like expanding dwella feature found in many modern OE ignitionsalong with an increase in voltage available at the spark plug (1-½ times as much as the original Ignitor). The Ignitor II can even sense if the ignition power has been left on with the engine off, in which case the unit automatically shuts down to protect the system from damage. That same feature also kicks in when an incorrectly wired unit is sensed.
The Ignitor II can provide the performance benefits of a modern electronic-ignition system without altering the appearance of your vintage engine, and installation couldnt get much simpler. The following steps outline the procedure.