There are numerous choices when it comes to choosing an ignition system for your vintage Ford. You could go all out right off the bat and buy a billet distributor from any number of aftermarket parts manufacturers along with a capacitive discharge (CD) ignition box that could light off a small city. You can get by with the stock points system that vintage Fords came with until about 1975, but you will need to do a little maintenance now and then. Ford Duraspark came out in the mid 70's and offered electronic ignition that was trouble free for the most part, and is still a good choice today. There are Pertronix conversions that allow you to convert your points distributor to a more trouble free electronic ignition. You can even buy a brand new distributor that is basically GM's HEI distributor that will bolt right into your Ford engine.
I am going to show you an alternative ignition system that most people overlook, but that is relatively inexpensive, reliable, and packs a punch bigger that most of the stand alone electronic ignition systems.
The system I am referring to is a "6 series" capacitive discharge ignition box like those made by MSD, Mallory, Accel, Crane, and Jacobs, triggered by a points distributor. What? A points distributor? Most people look at any points distributor as an archaic piece of technology that has seen its day come and never want it back. You get the advantages of a CD style ignition that no points replacement kit can give you using a set of points that trigger the box to fire.
There are a number of advantages to using this system:
• Most Ford guys usually have an old Ford points distributor laying around or can get one for relatively little or no expense.
• You can still get a stock rebuilt points distributor at most parts stores for about $40.00.
• They are easy to work on and you can change the ignition curve pretty easily.
Longer Points life
There are 3-4 amps going across a stock set of open points. With a points distributor triggering the box, this is reduced to .2 amps on a set of open points, which greatly reduces wear. As a matter of fact, the points will probably last forever triggering a 6 series CD box. Since CD. ignition boxes use capacitive discharge technology, the points gap doesn't affect performance. I have a set of points in a CD triggered ignition system that have over 50,000 miles with no wear at all, and as long as the points open and close, the gap really doesn't matter where it is set.
Redundant Ignition System
A really cool aspect of the points triggered CD ignition system is that in the unlikely event of an ignition box failure, you can switch a couple of wires and be back on the road on points power alone in a short amount of time.
There are alternatives to the stock points distributors from the aftermarket made by Accel, Mallory or Cragar that you can still buy new or very inexpensive on Ebay or Craigslist, because most people don't want them. There are severe duty Accel and Mallory dual point distributors that have bulletproof parts and engineering in them 30-40 years after they were made, and parts are still available for them.
For this style of ignition system, a dual point distributor is nice for its ruggedness, but only one set of points is needed. Any of the popular aftermarket coils and spark plug wires can be used with a points triggered ignition system.
All of the aftermarket 6 series ignitions still include the white trigger wire for using a points distributor to fire the box. The white trigger wire connects to the distributor. All of the other connections remain the same, except that the magnetic pickup harness is no longer needed...
Here is a polished stock Ford points distributor using an MSD cap to fire a 6 ALN on a 5.0 in my '63 Ranchero. I am using Ford Racing 8 mm spark plug wires and a Blaster coil...
This is a severe duty tach drive Accel dual point distributor firing an old school 6A in my 351 C powered '64 Galaxie. The spark plug wires are MSD 8.8 mm with an Accel Super coil...
My 289 Ford powered '27 Track T roadster has a Mallory dual point with a marine cap firing an 6T ignition box with an Blaster coil and 7 mm wires...
The old standby points distributor still has a place on your Ford Muscle machine. Add on an aftermarket CD ignition box and you will have a faster starting, smoother idling engine as soon as you turn the key. Multiple sparks from a high performance ignition box are a plus that no points conversion kit can deliver. The points will require no maintenance as there is now far less voltage going across the points and the points now act as a switch to fire the ignition box. In the event that you have ignition box failure, you can switch a couple of wires on the coil and get home on points power alone.