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Giving A Ford Flathead A Jolt With A Mallory Unilite Distributor

Author: Bryan McTaggart | 03/05/2021 < Back to Motor Life Home
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In the world of showroom-fresh 700 horsepower machines with infotainment systems that might be more intelligent than the driver in front of you, it can be very refreshing to get into a classic and go back to a simpler time, where fixing the family car could be done with a set of wrenches, when the only electronics on the car ran the ignition and the lights, and when the engine had enough power to get you around but not enough to scare you to death if you used any more than a quarter-throttle. In the world of overhead valves, superchargers, turbochargers, and four-cylinders cranking out obscene horsepower levels, a 1939 Ford with a flathead under the hood is an antique. Driving said 1939 Ford more than just to car shows is almost unheard of. Yet some do, and for the owner of this particular De Luxe sedan, driving it when the weather permits isn't just for special occasions. His 1939 Ford, which is largely original, unrestored, and lacks most of the hot-rodding touches that one would normally expect to find in cars that have managed to make it eighty years fully intact, sees quite a bit of mileage.


Any car that's eighty-ish years old, unrestored, and still being driven is a great find. But for this De Luxe, it was time for the old points ignition system to be retired in favor of something more reliable, considering the car's use. Nobody wants their classic on the side of the road with the hood up and no classic car owner wants to subject their ride to the indignity of being hooked to a tow truck. Wanting to break from the points and condenser, the decision was made to upgrade the ignition with Mallory components to improve the Ford's reliability. A Unilite three-bolt Ford Flathead distributor (3772101) and Universal Chrome Canister Coil (29219) were picked to do the heavy lifting, while an MSD Coil Ballast Resistor (8214) helps keep things happy and the Pro Sidewinder 90-degree universal plug wires (937) send the current to the plugs. Follow along as we show you how we set up the Unilite distributor for service in the De Luxe:

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