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I think your guru buddy is mistaken, though I have no doubt that racers adapted the crank-driven system asap.

The way I heard it, Porsche developed the front mounted distributors in order to ameliorate the spark scatter and timing adjustment issues inherent in the original design. The early cars—both 550s and 356s—originally all got the early outboard distributer treatment, as seen (barely) here.

Ed, you are correct, the Spyders had the distributors on the opposite ends, 'cause mid-engine. But both the early Speedsters and Spyders had them on the camshaft.

The factory did indeed move distributors to the crankshaft with an auxiliary housing on later engines due to spark scatter AND vibration problems. I have some books to look it up if anybody cares for references. It wasn't a plain bearing only thing either.

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