Electronic ignition is one of the best improvements for a classic car. It does not interfere with the authentic look of a classic car. But electronic ignition will improve the reliability, overall performance and gas mileage! It is true that a classic ignition system will do the job, the downside of a classic system is that it requires regular maintenance. For someone like me (that has a lot of hobbies but is always struggling for time) fitting an electronic ignition is a win / win situation.
Installing the electronic ignition
There are two different ways you can convert the classic ignition system on the Ford Zodiac. Both ways are very easy to do and will take someone with modest d.i.y. skills only 30 – 60 minutes of his time. As long as all the necessary bolts and components are easy to remove and reinstall 🙂
Method number one is to replace points and condensor with a kit. Method number two is replacing the old distributor with a new one. One that has an electronic ignition kit installed. I opted for method number two. Installation of the new distributor is pretty straightforward. Do not forget to take your time, read the manual, pick the right tools, use common sense and label the parts that come off!
I also fitted a new ignition coil and new leads. And naturally I changed the sparkplugs also. If you want to know the modern equivalent of your old sparkplug than check this document.
The installation of the electronic ignition (and replacing the coil, leads and sparkplugs) has had quite an impact on the old Z-car. It starts better, the engine runs much smoother, torque has improved and somehow it feels a much more “solid” ride. I have not checked the gasmileage but I can imagine this has also been improved.
Ok, so now I was the proud owner of a 1964 Ford Zodiac MKIII. What to do next? Like most classic car owners I like the idea of Improvements for the car but I do not want to lose the ‘authenticity’. For me this means that improvements that make the car more reliable for everyday use are acceptable but they may not be seen on the outside. I do not think that to improve a car like this means putting a big V8 into it. For me that is modifying not improving your classic car. That does not mean that I do not like or enjoy the creative mindset of other people!
What to improve?
The Zodiac looks pretty decent on the outside and the interior is clean and complete. To get the big Ford looking any better it would require a bare metal respray together with a complete overhaul of the interior. And that just is not happening any time soon. It is the age old story of time and money that stands in the way. Sounds familiar? 🙁
For now I will concentrate on Improvements for the running gear only. Starting by replacing the coil, ignition cables and sparkplugs. And a electronic ignition unit will be fitted. This will make the car a lot more reliable, improve fuel economy, torque, power output and make the car more enjoyable overall.
There are lot of other (regular) things that have to be done. Like changing the oil and brake fluid. Adjusting the valve clearance and checking other components of the six cylinder engine.
One thing that does not require changing or replacing is the exhaust. it is an aftermarket stainless steel replacement that gives a nice ‘burbling’ sound. At low and higher RPM’s the sound this exhaust makes turns heads 🙂