Pre-HE Opus Ignition woes

Yesterday I finally finished cooling system upgrades. New water pump and aluminum radiator.
I fired it up after repairing poor connections to input side of ballast resistor.
It ran and sounded great other than a slight hesitation on initial acceleration.
I turned it off after two or three minutes make sure I had no leaks. Ready for a drive finally!
Ten minutes later it would not start and sounded like no spark.
Sometimes it showed battery voltage at coil+ sometimes it shows correct 5-6v.
Sometimes it shows battery voltage at coil- sometimes it shows correct 2v.
I am ready to follow NZZach and his Pertronix upgrade with amazing photos as this seems like a quickly failing amp to me. (Someone whose experience is Kirbert, Bernard , and the rest of you fellow masochists.
Any ideas before I upgrade to Pertronix?
Or should I just bite the bullet and pull out the card? Kinda tired of this .
Thanks Mark

It sure sounds like the Opus heat soak failure mode.
Have you considered the later v12 HE ignition upgrade? It was designed for the engine, just get the Distributor and amp from a wrecker. The distributor may need a rebuild.
SNG also sell a complete upgrade kit of amp distributor and coil. This is a rebuilt distributor to the highest standard. The amp is using modern heat resistant parts, fitted in an original box. I fitted one about 8 years ago and it has been flawless. Plenty of other members have also done the same.
The one disadvantage of the SNG kit is that it still uses a vacumn retard capsule, as per the original pre HE spec. However SNG do sell a kit for the HE engine as well, you may wish to enquire if this would be OK for a pre HE engine. This kit should have a vacuum advance capsule fitted.

Thanks for the help. Bad Opus seems like a common lament. Just hoped I might not have to join the refrain.
I have considered SNG but $1250 versus $250 is a major consideration.
If I hadn’t dropped $2K into transmission rebuild I might feel less penurious.
Just want to go for a drive!.

I do have a NOS Vacuum Advance unit for use somewhere,sometime.

I’ve got 2 or 3 used amps in a box, but I don’t know if they work.

I’d be willing to send them, and if they work, send me some beer money.

Good luck,


Hi Cyderman,
Could you post a link to the petronix upgrade you refer to. Just interested.

Todds Custom Exhaust
298 SE Booth Bend Rd. #E
McMinnville OR 97128

If postage too much from where you are to bother l understand.
As long as you like award winning dry cider, well lets just say I have way too much and no customers due to covid, so hopefully I can send you some irregardless of amps working or not.

If I ever make it to NZ I will find you for drive in the countryside in your e-type. amazing car and even better views. Assuming you like dinner and a drink or two.
I actually was reading a thread here about the pertronix upgrade. Fairly new maybe August.
NJ Zach was poster.

Thanks Cyderman, now I understand where your handle comes from.
Yes, we are very lucky down here with climate, and lots of great driving roads. We would always welcome any visitors from the forum, if tourism ever gets going again.
Unfortunately not too many jags around our patch here at the beach, but a strong club about an hour away in Tauranga. Lots of American muscle though.
Went for my first drive today in a month, due to lockdown, car ran like a dream, no traffic on the roads, heaven.
thanks for the info.

I’ve heard Opus is British for “hopeless”…

as in “Its F###### opus mate”

Don’t be too harsh chaps, it was state of the art in 1971, 49 years ago.

I don’t think you’d find many other electronic gadgets from the era still functioning. Seriously though, I was glad to see the back of it. This was after I tried to use the Re opus amp built by a guy here in NZ, however it still had problems.

I don’t know; my 1962 EICO ST70 still sounds fantastic playing vinyl…

Hello Mark,
You may consider the Crane XR700-0300 system. It’s simple to install, costing only about $200 USD and reliable. I had one for 18 years and never had a problem.

Here’s a link on the system and installation:

Crane sold the system but I’m at a loss to recall the new company. Investigate and you may be happy with the system.

Happy Motoring,


thanks will look into it

Once came with a shutter disk for a V12, no longer does. We’re trying to talk John_John1 into fabbing some for us.

I think it’s Fast:

Hi Todd,

I could only find one amp, and I sent it

I hope it helps,


Just contacted FAST - Fuel Air Spark Technology ( regarding their SKU:700-0300. That kit is specifically for the LUCAS line of distributors and DOES come with the 12 slot rotor. Current price is under $100. Best ignition. I’ve used it for years without fault!

Happy Trails,


In a message dated 4/29/2020 9:05:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:


Thanks and probably getting one even if another opus works for awhile.

Mark Bailey

I also use the Crane XR700 ignition amp on my V12 been 25yrs , still works great!
changed to a Advance auto coil works great also! Crane race cams i like them also!