Last month, we showed the install of our hidden nitrous-oxide kit in the Valiant. We may be dumb, but we aren't completely stupid--hitting the giggle-juice button with the stock points ignition would surely cause a problem. Point-breaker-style ignitions simply send the current to the correct cylinder as determined by the cam on the distributor shaft. The limiting factor is the voltage that the points are able to carry without fusing themselves shut. To burn the extra fuel and nitrous, we needed more spark than the points could safely deliver.

To solve this dilemma, we contacted Crane Cams--yes, we said Crane Cams. Crane has long been known for their quality cams and valvetrain parts, and since they developed an ignition called the FireBall system, we decided to give it a try. This capacitive discharge (CD) ignition will, under low-rpm starting conditions, generate up to 12 sparks. At idle and cruise rpm, the number of sparks fired is adjusted to maintain a total spark duration of approximately 20 degrees of crankshaft rotation. Above 3,000 rpm, the CD unit generates a single powerful spark. We decided on the HI-6 unit, which has a sequential rev-limiting circuit for staging, timing retard capability (with optional TRC-2 controller), and system diagnostics. In addition, even though Crane Cams recommends its LX-92 coil, most OE coils are compatible.

To ensure everything was up to par, we added Crane's LX-92 coil, XR-700 optically-triggered points conversion, and a set of its new FireWire plug wires. Usually when we do a conversion like this, the inevitable problem arises--it will not run, even though you know you followed the instructions. The installation of the Crane ignition system literally took less than a day. The nicest part was the initial fire-up. The engine made about three revolutions and was purring like a kitten... OK, we'd like to think of it as a large cat, but nonetheless...