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MG MGB Technical - Electronic ignition or not?

We have an interesting local discussion on electronic ignition vs the traditional points and condenser.

So far I have chosen to let my MGB be an electronics-free zone. That is partly because I am not completely convinced about the reliability of the systems offered, and partly because if points or condenser fail I am not completely stranded, it is relatively easy to cure the problem.

Should I change my mind? What is the current situation - how many of you have changed to electronics, and how many have not?



Tore, I totally agree with you regarding electronic ignition. I shall be sticking with traditional points and condenser, and also the original type fuel pump (points type). I've always carried a small selection of tools (and a 2ft wooden stick) in the back of the car, and on the few occasions I've broken down I've always managed to get it going again.
Brian Shaw

Interesting that you mention the fuel pump. Last year my fuel pump just stopped working, and as it was a German made electronic pump I just had to call for help to get the car home. My insurance company did a very good job at that, but now I have an SU points type pump installed.


Electronic ignition systems have come a long way since they were first introduced in the '60s. Every new car manufactured today comes with an electronic ignition system. These have proven to be quite reliable and almost maintenance free. The fully electronic SU fuel pump has also proven itself over the past decade. I have both systems on my '67, which I've owned for over 40 years, and have suffered no faults with them. A lot has changed for the better, over the last 30 years, in regards to electronics. RAY
rjm RAY

Hi Tore,

I ran a home made CDI unit for well over 14 years, no problems with it.
I now run a 123 dizzy in both my MGB and Wolseley, again no problems.

Herb Adler

We have a problem with the reliability of condensers and points need careful examination too. We use Distributor Doctor rotor arms to overcome the tracking-when-hot problem of many 'standard' arms.

Here is an interesting link re condenser failure which lead us to manufacture our own for points systems.

Peter Burgess Tuning

Our GT is used every day and fitted with the cheapest electronic ignition from simonbbc (google them) 2 years ago.
It starts every time, runs perfectly and I have not touched it since.

My midget has a 123 ignition fitted and it is perfect for a tuned engine.
But for a std engine I would not want to pay the premium
Onno K

I've been using MGB GTs for the past ten years as daily drivers and used electronic ignition on all of them and never had a problem. Like Onno I'm now using a cheap unit from simonbbc which has been fitted to my current 1973 GT for over three years now and covered 25,000 miles without a single incident despite requiring zero maintenance. Try that with contact breaker points. Prior to that I've used Aldon Ignitor (pertronix) units which also proved faultless.

I hope I'm not tempting fate here, but in the ten plus years I've been using an MGB daily and covered tens of thousands of miles and not once broken down (save a couple of tyre punctures). The only one time the ignition system even gave a hint of a problem was when the heater valve diaphragm split and coolant water spilled onto the distributor cap causing a slight damp-related misfire.

If you really are worried about electronic ignition failure the units can be bought for less than

Have had electronic on my classics for 30 years, only one failure with a very early Mobelec unit. I carry points and condenser, it's a quick job to fit them if necessary., but as Mike said the units are so cheap, you might as well carry a spare electronic!!
Allan Reeling

OK, you MAY convince me... :-)


I purchased an Autospark unit witch replaced the points and condenser and my car runs fine on it, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking should I buy another one of these units because this one might fail then I would be stuck. Having said that this unit has been reviewed in the MG owners magazine and has had a good report.

REgards Pat Tighe
P.T. Tighe

I'm considering one of the simonbbc units. Are you saying that the ones for the Land Rovers are cheaper than for the B (assuming same 25D distributor)?
Steve Church


I can't find the kit for 25D distributors listed, the the Simonbbc electronic ignition for the 45D distributors is available from the UK distributor Britpart who sell through a number of Land Rover outlets as part number ETC5835K. You can buy it from for £18.18 delivered.

MGB Hive are now selling the complete 25D kit for £27.50 inc delivery via eBay, they were originally selling the same unit for £60 to cut just below Pertronix/Aldon.



Can't complain too much about the electronics setup. I had a Pertronix unit last about 10 years - it did finally give up, though. It went gradually, unlike what I had expected (thought when they went, they just stopped working all together). Mine started running poorly - spitting/coughing on acceleration. Kept getting worse. I ran diagnostics on everything, but the symptoms didn't change until I removed the Pertronix and replaced with points/condenser.
Right now, I'm not sure I will go back to electronics, but it sure was nice not having to "tune the dizzy" every year.

Patrick Callan

I must be doing something wrong.

I fitted a Lumenition ignition in my MGB in 1982 and did not have one single ignition-related problem (except worn plugs and the odd ignition lead) in all this time and certainly more than 200.00 km.
And I am using my car quite hard, just drove about 1.000 kms last weekend at the "Kitzbühel Alpenrallye", still with no probs.

But maybe it has to do with the fact that I fitted a solid and well made system, which – of course - is not available for a tenner or so.
Could it be that quality costs a bit more, but is a lot more reliable????


I've been using MGBs with points and condensers for over 17 and 22 years, pleasure and daily driver, and on many other cars since I started driving over 40 years ago and never had a failure. But I had an electronic pump on the V8 which started causing me no end of trouble, so that went and I put a points type on. Electronics *can* be reliable. But whilst vehicle manufacturers are going to do all they can to ensure that, after-market manufacturers are going to be tempted to source their components as cheaply as they can. We have seen what can happen with rotors, and indeed condensers and points, but fitting cheap components that don't last more than a few miles should not be used to condemn components from other sources that work as they should do. I'm staying with points and condenser on both my cars for as long as I can still get them, purchasing any electronic module after that will be a 'distress purchase' as far as I'm concerned.
PaulH Solihull


What you say is exactly what I think.

We all know that electronics can work well, even in hostile environments like airplanes. But if the quality of the electronic components and systems used in planes had been on the same level as those used in household appliances, planes would be falling from the sky faster than we would manage to build new ones.

For me it is a question of trust and quality. Will an electronic ignition in my MGB be as reliable as in my everyday Citroen and the two that I had before? Or will it be on the same level as that used in the fridge, freezer, two alarm clocks, three electric radiators and the dishwasher that I have had to replace or repair at high cost during the last three years for one reason only: Electronics that stopped working. I am getting very tired of it.

So if at some point I decide to go for electronic ignition, I think high quality will be about the only thing I will be looking for.



I've got a pertronix in my 64ish B. No problems at all and it cops a fair bit of heat here in Queensland in summer.
Went to a solid state fuel pump about 20 yrs ago and no probs either.

J Millsom

Various electronic systems on a number of cars since the 60s. One failure; on the V8 only (probably heat). At least eight pump failures over the same period - one on a pointless system and three HP injection units. You need to carry spares of both !

Tore - praecis antaendelse spare benzin ogsaa.
R Walker

"Tore - praecis antaendelse spare benzin ogsaa."

Det er helt riktig!

Tore :-)


Tore, my Norsk Mate. I changed from the points and condensor system to a Lumitronix system in 2004. The points kept collapsing and would not hold the setting. As much as I enjoy the old technology, it does get old fixing the same issue time after time. At age 66, I prefer reliability. So far the Lumitronix has served me perfectly.


79 mgb

I still have the map of Norway you sent me. Ancestry research has turned up some interesting items as well as cousin who is not too helpful to share information - thank you again
gary hansen

This thread was discussed between 04/06/2012 and 19/06/2012

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