Thoughts...

July 12, 2016

In my life I try to keep things that happen to me or around me in perspective - a frame of mind, a viewpoint that is, in essence, philosophical. While I attempt to follow this path, it is not flawless for me. There are plenty of examples of events in the world that do concern me, bother me, annoy me and anger me. Trying to take a deep breath and b-r-e-a-t-h-e  does not always help to keep me calm and collected. 

What I want to write about concerns my attempts to try to keep calm in the face of adversity. As I related in my last writing, I felt overwhelmed and extremely frustrated when the newly manufactured ignition coil in my ’34 Pontiac burned out prematurely. It is understandable, given all the other incidents of troubles I have had with the car over the years AND the considerable expenses associated with them. This latest “challenge” for me on the heels of trailering the old girl from Phoenix to Ohio and having had the overdrive installed (with no small expense to do so) was all it took for me to lose it and overreact. 

Tom, my brother, was able to fix that situation quickly, but, as I saw it, only temporarily. For my peace of mind, I needed to know the why and how of the failure and then to set about finding the best way to permanently find the cure. 

 I had converted the points ignition to Pertronix electronic ignition several years ago and had had no problems with that operation  up until installng a custom manufactured coil (that proved to be incompatible with the electronic system). 

The reason for the update to the electronic system was done in an effort to avoid frequent adjustments and troubles with the points method. 

Two camps, those with opinions on how to resolve the issue, offered their suggestions on how to properly make the repairs. One group preferred that I return to the original points ignition system, offering that that was the way the car was designed to operate and not to mess with it. The opposing point of view was to keep my upgraded “electronic” ignition and add a (compatible) Pertronix ignition coil. 

Phiona up on Tom’s lift for a brake adjustment.

Both opinions had merits that would probably been a perfectly good way to fix this so that I would not have to worry further about another recurrence. Over the week I felt like Lady Libery weighing my options and wanting to feel confident that whatever choice I made would be the correct one. I will admit my tendency is also to want to have an instant fix. I can be very impatient in that way.

 The last person to offer his opinion was David Wonderly, who is well known in these parts for his mechanical knowledge. His advice was to keep the Pertronix electronic ignition and purchase the Pertronix compatible ignition coil. Interestingly, that coil is trademarked as the “Flame Thrower” producing 45,000 volts of current.

Consequently, I ordered the Flame Thrower coil and a new bracket and once they arrived we installed them on the firewall under the hood. 

Then the test. 

Turn the key on, hit the starter and the engine sprang to life - QUICKLY.

That quick response was unexpected, as it normally takes a lot more cranking until the engine starts. I thought that quick start might just be a fluke, but in all the starts I’ve done since, whether with a cold or hot engine, the response has been the same - a very quick firing and start. In relating my pleasure at this outcome to my brother Tom, he replied that if I got hit with 45,000 volts, he was sure that it would get my attention and quick response too. 

Now, with time behind me, having that time to calmly consider the recent series of episodes with Phiona, I am approaching this as I try to do when other unsettling things happen to me. 

As I see it, the coil’s failure most likely was a blessing for me. That I am now experiencing much quicker starts and the real possibility that I might achieve better gas mileage with the hotter spark (this is one advantage of this Flame Thrower claimed in their literature), are all to my and the car’s advantage.  Additionally, with the overdrive, I lower the RPM’s and will help preserve the engine. I am hopeful that these improvements to the car will help to create a better and more reliable machine.

Things do happen for a reason in many cases. Keeping a positive attitude and looking at the bright side, what was a relatively minor inconvenience, I can now view as a step forward toward improved performance and more peace of mind for me.


Remington, one of my great nephews, enjoyed riding in Phiona and her running boards (or lounging pads).

Remington with great nephew Wes Campbell and his girl friend Katy Roberts.

July 4th antics with Cooper Ridgway, and great niece and nephew Kira and Radek Fox.

We had a fun family reunion this past Saturday, with a roasted pig that we prepared and served - a first for me, helping dress, truss and put the pig on the cooker. Euchre and Cornhole tournaments were enjoyed for the adults and lots of fun games for the kids. 

My 50 year high school reunion is this this Friday, June 15, an event I’m looking forward to attending and reacquainting with my classmates. I will then be wrapping up my visit here in Ohio and intend to start the drive back to Phoenix in my pick up truck. With a plan to leisurely drive back and sight see along the way, I plan to take a full week until I get home.

Having a couple of appointments already scheduled in August back home, I will return here to Ohio late in August, participate in the Sandusky County Restorers of Antique Power (S.C.R.A.P.) event over Labor Day weekend. Of course I will have Phiona there as well. Before returning to Arizona, I will be doing some touring around in Ohio, possibly with Phiona. Near the end of September the plan is to drive back home with Phiona when the weather has started to cool making for a much more comfortable drive.


kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012