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matchbox dist vs pertronix


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I personally am using a pertronix but never ran a matchbox. I hear the difference performance wise is not much different but my question is currently I am not using the vaccum hose port on the dist as my intake man does not have a provision for it and it is just capped off and it drives ok but if someone is to use a matchbox do they need to run the vaccum hose to get the vaccum advance to work. The only thing I can think of is it would maybe drive better since there is vaccum advance.


If anyone can enlighten me it would be appreciated as I always wondered if I can run the matchbox in case my pertronix dist ever dies.


thanks in advance



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The matchbox distributor does not require a vacuum line. It has the exact same vacuum advance mechanism as the earlier distributors. If you don't connect the hose, the engine just gets no vacuum advance but otherwise drives fine.


With the advance, the engine runs a bit smoother at low throttle levels, but more importantly the fuel economy is better.


For performance vs pertronix, you can't tell while driving. But the matchbox, when used with matching 12V coil, allows you to use 0.040 plug gap and the plugs last longer and burn cleaner. If I already had a Pertronix I would not switch over, but definitely would consider it as a backup.


I have used matchbox distributor for years, but am using a crank trigger system now.

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In my racecars (both 510 and 1200) I have used the matchbox distributors with excellent success. I remove the vacuum advance and fix the plate so the only advance is mechanical. I set timing at full advance and let static fall where it falls based on what the particular distributor has for mechanical advance (they do vary between distributors).


Here is a link with advance specs for various Datsun distributors thanks to Jason Gray:



I have never used a matchbox on the street, but with a 8-8.5K top rpm in the racecars they seem to work just fine. And they are much more reliable having had Electromotive HPV, MSD and Mallory Unilite ignitions crap out costing me race finishes.

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thanks all for the info. I assumed right. my dist has a fixed plated and it does drive good on the street and highway. I sometimes am curious about adding a MSD box but I have had the experience in past of hit or miss with ignition amplifiers

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Go with Pertronix or matchbox. Cheap but the best bang for the buck. Don't get fooled into buying what ever is the flavor of the month fad ignition system. Don't buy because everyone else has it. Being expensive or shiny does not mean better. You're spending money on something not needed and could be better spent somewhere else.

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Yeah I hear you on that. sometimes keeping it simple works out better. I ran into issues in the past iwith ignition amps and the trade off with issues was not worth the headaches. I do agree either going matchbox or pertronix does blow away the points and is more reliable. if anything I will invest in a jet kit for my carbs to fine tune those

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