Petronix honest long term opinion from drivers

My 66 has the Petronix distributor and wire combo from about 10 years ago.
Its starting to buck and break up .
Anytime Ive used it in ETYPEs ive never had much luck.
Im going 1 2 3 its on order, but Ive noticed my Petronix in my tbird started the same thing.
Anyone have the same?

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I have a Petronix in my Mk2. It runs well (came with the car). My marque specialist tells me it’s a matter of time before it fails as it’s more than 10 years old. He suggested I put a 123 in my E Type and it’s perfect. Fitted one to my XJ6 with similar results. At some stage I will swap the Mk2 for a 123 as well.
The other point is that the body, weights, springs and other rotating parts are probably as old as the car - 1963. This can also be a source of problems of course. Paul

Not if you have the Pertronix distributor and not just the ignition module. I have it, car runs great.

True enough, I just have the module. Paul.

There’s this.

The red car has the then NEW distributor complete………not the unit in the old distributor.

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I have the complete dizzy. I set the timing up 10K miles ago and haven’t touched it since. No plans to swap it out for something else.

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Been running them in both E’s, a 42 Chevy truck, and Ford 8N, with the Pertronix hot coils for many years. Burned out the unIt in the truck when one of my sons left the truck ignition on and boiled the coil. Smoked the module too. No other problems.

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I have had Pertronix module in my E-type and two Vega Delco distributors for well over 10 years. Only problem I have had is on my daily driver Vega when the pivot point for the vacuum advance plate elongated allowing the module to move away from the magnet piece sometimes resulting in an intermittent miss. I ordered a new Pertronix but while waiting for it to arrive I drilled out the the elongated hole a little over size and reattached it with a short pop rivet. Checked that the module was secure and vacuum would still advance properly. The new one I bought is still in the glove box in case the old one fails.

68 E-type FHC

I have had a couple of Pertronics and all have failed. I don’t use them any more.

Bear in mind that something that fails in 10 years on a car like an E Type that probably only does 1000 miles per year isn’t actually very reliable.

I have had better luck with the old optical “light and chopper” type in the past although I’m not sure if they are still made.

To be honest I now use points on all my cars. I buy quality brand name ones, not the cheap EBay stuff.

That’s the Crane–nee Allison–I posted above.

Crane sold ignition systems to FAST (Fuel Air Spark Technology). Look them up on-line, give’em a call and they’ll advise what system you need. They cover all the bases and a total system is usually under $100 USD! Been running an old Crane XR-700 for years without a problem. It’s now a FAST XR-700. No affiliation with the Company, just a good system for our cars - 6 cyl and 12 cyl’s!

Happy Motoring,


I had the old 70’s Mallory light beam unit, it lasted forever in my 66 corvette.
Yeah theres something going on with the unit. We shall see.

I’m using the XR700 in my '64. The electronic box is velcro’d to the top of the passenger footwell (inside the car) to keep it (comparatively) cool. The wires to the optical “chopper” run through the choke hole in the firewall and then forward along the lower edge of the top frame rail …virtually invisible… So far the unit has been bullet proof. Certainly more accurate than a Pertronix style, although the performance advantage is probably insignificant in the low performance XK engine. One real advantage is that an antitheft kill switch is easy to install and conceal. The other technology can be jumped fairly easily, I believe.

Yep: have the Crane in my Rover: have loved them since the Allison days.

Simple, reliable, and I cannot recall a failure, ever.


Now you’re revealing how long you’ve been at this. I, too, have an original Allison and as far as I know it still works! Took one apart moons ago. Nothing much special but reliable…

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Ok, I’ve got a Pertronix that I installed in 1998. And from the discussion here it seems that it may be wise to switch to 123. I actually had been thinking of doing that while SNG had the basic one on sale a few weeks ago. Too late now. So I search online and find Zimmer Bros in the UK and they list them for $306. A big difference from the $440 or so that SNG is currently selling them for. Reviews of Zimmer Bros are either glowing or horrible with some saying they are selling reman parts as new etc. Anyone purchase from them before?

I installed Pertronix ignition and coil with stock distributor in mid 2007. ($103 delivered.) It still works fine. On US Gulf Coast humid summer mornings, I could not get a pop out of original points and condenser, though it would fire by mid-afternoon. Pertronix fired any time, any weather. Our E goes only a few hundred miles a year, which contributes to the Pertronix longevity.

I installed a 123 dissy into the S1 of a friend an can only say good things about it: 123 dissy

My only 1st hand experience on Pertronix is with my '59 Chevrolet 3100 (Apache) with the 235ci 6-cyl engine which came with points. I have no desire to put up with the issues related to points and thus purchased an Ignitor-II which makes it run sweetly. I would not recommend Ignitor-I because Ignitor-II has variable dwell and does not require a ballast resistor.

In this day and age, with anything but the rarest and most limited of cars–Bugatti Royale, King Alphonso Hisso–I simply don’t get why anyone would.