In the fall of 2018, after a summer of running like a scalded dog, I loaded the car on a flatbed and headed through the thunderstorms to the Maggie Valley in NC. I had hoped to drive, but the weather and the desire to continue in a happy marriage meant that I pulled the car down. The car ran well for about half of the first day in the mountains. Leon Chupp noticed a miss coming back from a run on The Rattler. By the time we got back to the inn, the car was running rough.
I carry no small amount of tools and spares, but nobody can carry the entire shop in the nose of a speedster. I checked the distributor, but could not get to the bowels of the science-fair project without a 7 mm socket (which I did not have). Stupidly, I forgot my maxim (99% of all carburation problems are ignition) and became convinced that my issue was fuel related (due to driving through Noah’s flood on the way out east). I tore the carbs off about 15 times. The car would run OK, then it wouldn’t. I had not come to the Smokys to sit in my hotel room, so I determined I would just drive it. On the way to the Dragon the next day, it bucked and farted and spit until I finally pulled off the road, defeated.
As I was standing there, staring at the distributor I knew was the issue, Tom Boney appeared and asked if he could help. Tom is one of the finest humans on the planet, but he has told me over and over for 10 years that he’s not a mechanic. I said, “without a 7 mm socket, I don’t think anybody can”. Tom went back to his car, and produced… a 7 mm socket.
I used the socket to get to the points replacement module and found the problem immediately. The module had loosened up on the mounting plate and was bouncing around in the distributor body. I tightened the mounting screws and the car started and ran much better than it had since the first morning. It still wasn’t right, but I drove the car for the rest of the weekend before I loaded it up and pulled it home. I pushed the thing into the garage and didn’t look at it for 6 months.