Jim Smart
June 28, 2011

If you’re wrestling with a rough-running Ford six-cylinder engine, you’re not alone. Drivability issues exist mostly in the induction system thanks to a poorly engineered log-style integral intake manifold coupled with the antiquated Autolite 1100 series one-barrel carburetor. However, Ford’s Loadomatic distributor can be another source of misery for rough-running 170 and 200ci sixes. Because old-fashioned ignition points are electro-mechanical in scope, they become pitted, burned, and worn through time and use. There is a better way to light the fire in your nimble Ford six.

Founded by Lavar Holman in 1962 as a manufacturer of lighting systems for big trucks, PerTronix was originally known as Per-Lux. In the early 1970s, one of Per-Lux’s engineers came up with an electronic ignition for point-triggered distributors. In those days, retrofit electronic ignition systems were intended mostly for lift trucks and industrial applications. Fleet managers loved the Per-Lux electronic ignition system, which came more into widespread use as time went on.

The Per-Lux electronic ignition system evolved into the PerTronix Ignitor, which has been the classic Mustang’s most popular retrofit for more than 20 years. Enthusiasts love the Ignitor, Ignitor II, and new Ignitor III for ease of installation and precision tuning in about 30 minutes. It doesn’t take any longer to install the Ignitor than changing and gapping points—and it never has to be tuned again. The Ignitor II system develops up to four times more electrical energy at 3,000-5,000 rpm than your point-triggered dinosaur, especially if you combine it with PerTronix’s Flame-Thrower II ignition coil.

Note that the Loadomatic distributor is compatible only with an Autolite 1100 carburetor equipped with the spark control valve for proper spark advance. If your Autolite 1100 carb doesn’t have a spark control valve and you have a Loadomatic distributor, you will not have proper spark advance.

Terry Simpson at The Restomod Shop in Stockton, California, had a customer bring him a ’66 Mustang that has been a pleasure cruiser for 45 years. The Restomod Shop gave this car a nice freshening up, including a paint job, but couldn’t get past the perplexing drivability problems. They tried carburetor tuning and swapping, and they also tried adjusting points and ignition timing. It was decided this Mustang needed the PerTronix Ignitor II from Mustangs Plus to stand half a chance at good performance tuning.

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