Best Ignition System?

What is the best replacement ignition system these days? Looking to replace the Lumenition that went kaput after about 10 years of good service. I have a Petronix in there now ( I had it as a backup I bought years ago ) but am not happy with it.

There have been a lot of advances in this area since I last installed one…

P.S. Points are NOT an option ! For me, electronic is the only way to go.

Appreciate your recommendations / experience / thoughts / opinions, as always !!

1965 XKE 4.2L OTS

The 123 dizzy seems to be the best and easiest-to-install option.

123 + twenty caracters

What’s the problem with the Pertronix?

Any mapped ignition system will perform better than an old mechanical distributor any time.

kind regards

Hi Harold. Your question is really open ended. How deeply do you want to get into this? Is ease of installation important, do you want to be able to program the advance curves and if yes how extensively. What about long term reliability, ease of repair on the road - if you use your car for trips?

Many of us use a EDIS system which is taken from Ford, and others. It was in production for 20 plus years, is dead reliable, millions are in service, and parts are available everywhere. It is completely programmable, using a Mega Jolt on board computer, that also has been around for years - it’s so old it’s become difficult to program as modern computers used to program it have moved past it. (Apparently a new Megajolt is available) The system can be purchased from Trigger Wheel in the UK. Installation is time consuming - there are 5 separate components that must be mounted, plus wiring harnesses and vacuum advance, or throttle position sensor. It is crankshaft triggered so timing is dead accurate, and it has limp home capabilities if the Megajolt fails.

123 Distributors make two levels of programmable distributors. These are more plug and play. The first and oldest uses a dial on the side to select one of a number of pre-programmed advance curves, the second is programmed via Bluetooth from your phone. Most folks are going this way. Long term reliability is not yet proven, as far as I know, and if you have an on the road failure you better have a stock distributor with you. Timing will not be as accurate as crank triggered but that may not be important. I don’t have one of these but have assisted a few guys in setting them up. I don’t like any of the curves on the dial one - they don’t seem particularly performance oriented, and the Bluetooth one doesn’t seem as programmable as the EDIS, but in reality these things may not be that important to 97% of users.

No comment😳

My car has a Crane/Allison XR700 system. Optical trigger. About $120 last time I looked. Similar to the Lumenition, I believe. I put the electronics box inside the passenger compartment so it stays cool. Easy to install. Good reputation for reliability, but it does depend on the original distributer for advance curve, etc. I’ve read that none of the 123 curves follow the curve in the factory distributer. Apparently most users find that to be OK…or better.

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So again…what’s the problem with the Pertronix?

Arguably not as accurate as an optical trigger, but the difference is minute from my research. Also, the Pertronix have a (possibly undeserved) reputation for high failure rate. Many failures are apparently due to improper installation.

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Happy with my 123 set at #2 program.

Wow, this is a first. LMAO. But I already said it for him above…

Years ago, I put an electronic ignition system from a 1985 XJ into a '72, to get rid of the points.
I’m sure obtaining these used parts would be cheapest, but do you think the 123 is better?


Ooooo, careful: with some, that’ll make you an apostate!

And… I agree.

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Just my experience/opinion. I bought a Pertronix distributor about 10 years or so ago and replaced the Lucas distributor in my 1967 420 and I am very satisfied with it, Drop in plug and play. At that time total cost was $ 185. Pete

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People talk about “distributor curves”. What you actually have is a single curve but with a (vacuum) load dependent number added on top of that. It is somewhat one dimensional and the weights in the distributor and how they affect the centrifugal advance will naturally have a time lag on them, as will the mechanical vacuum mechanism.

By contrast, the mapped ignition will run from a crank sensor and a MAP sensor. A 36 minus one trigger wheel will sample the crank position and acceleration of the crank twelve times between each ignition pulse*, whilst the MAP sensor will be even faster than that, so the algorithm returning the amount of advance to command is way more on the ball than its mechanical cousin. Add to that, there is no mechanical wear and tear to either the rpm or vacuum measuring components. The coup de grace is that this allows not just for a single curve plus a preset vacuum adjustment, but lets you tailor the advance you want at any rpm or any load, or alter it for air temperature, fuel type or any other factor you care for.

kind regards

*6 cylinder engine = one ignition event per 120’
36-1 wheel = 36 teeth = 1 datapoint per 10’ crank rotation


If you have the very early dizzy, the Petronix wires need to make a 90 degree turn under the breaker plate. The wires aren’t a good fit. If you contact them they say “well, we’ve never had a problem with that…” Have you ever heard THAT before? This is an issue only with early units - I’d guess those are likely ‘flat floor’ kind of cars that most want to keep very original, so not a lot of cars affected.
Lucas points look to me as poorly designed (relative to Delco), so replacing them seems sensible.

Yes, this is all very true. This system is required for a computer controlled EFI fuel engine. However
that is not the engine we are talking about. No knock sensor ,no MAF, NO MAGIC on this lump.
SUCK,SQUEEX,BANG,BLOW thats all you have. Almost any ignition will provide the BANG and it
does not require a $ 500 distributor for that. Pete


Though timing seems important too - specifically how that timing varies at different engine speeds.

The curve on my S2 was pretty conservative (possibly due to emissions concerns) and I changed the springs to create a much steeper curve that I feel produces better performance (seat of the pants).

That was on a points ignition and was a rather inexact process using a Sun Machine but a programmable ignition would seem to me to be a much easier and surer way to get there.

The advantage of a mapped ignition system is a custom map. If you simply pick a standard #2, you leave that advantage on the shop floor. I could understand if you had programmed a custom map, but all you’re getting is initial at 10, max at 34, straight line in between.What’s the difference between that and a mechanical distributor? This is what I’m trying to understand… Traditionally, he most aggressive distributor curve available was Mallory. My Optilite is getting tired, and I’m wanting to hear a reason to put five on the table for a 123.

Fine. So let’s not attempt to pick a winner between Hall effect and optical. Let’s ask what’s the problem with Lumenition? Or Fast (Crane) XR700? Both are optical, and both are still available, if you care to hunt for them. There are also three generations of Pertronix all still available. I count at least five established point replacement products on the market.