So today we're driving my own personal 1970 Buick Riviera and this cars got kind of a long story behind it with me I used to have one of these many many years ago and was a couple certain things I liked about this style of car the typical 1970 Buick Riviera had a vinyl top and a big side sphere and wheel skirts and wire hubcaps and it just kind of kind of looked like an old man car and back in the day I found one that didn't have the vinyl top for the chrome Speer and it was bright red and it had cool wheels on it and I bought it really liked it and I had to get rid of it because my life moved on and about a year ago I found another one and that's this car it's very similar to the one that I used to have so. This is my nostalgic guilty pleasure and today this car is just showing right over 29,000 miles on it it came out of a one owner family in South Dakota and I'm doing everything I can to kind of keep it alive 1970 was a transitional year for the Riviera gone were the retractable headlights of the 68 and nine cars and it wasn't quite to the boattail design that you saw in 1970 one two and three.
It's a one year only design and it's kind of an oddball these cars don't get a lot of love in the collector world but that's one of the cool things about them because you can get kind of a neat and unique car without spending a whole bunch of cash it's still powered by the ten to one compression 370 horsepower Buick 455 with a four-barrel carburetor dual exhaust and a turbo 400 transmission and the great thing about that engine is that they make 510 foot-pounds of torque which is needed to get this big two-door moving this car has a 307 rear gear and unfortunately there's no real options outside of finding an original 340 to posi out of a Riviera GS car but you can't just go get off-the-shelf ring and pinion parts because. This is a unique rear-end design on these cars inside this one has black interior and. This is really one of the most basic Riviera's that I've ever seen there's no real power accessories no power windows no air conditioning things that you'd find on just about every rib this car doesn't have.
It's really pretty much of a stripper which also makes it kind of unique the front seat is a split bench design with the fold-down armrest but the seat backs appear to be buckets at first glance.
It still has that style but it's got a column shift and a bench seat and no console many years ago the car I used to have had a white interior with buckets console and floor shift and all that jazz this one is kind of the opposite this car is wearing Teesha and red which is a Buick Riviera only color and the exterior is basically all stock except for we changed the stock hubcaps in favor of a correct set of 15 inch chrome buick road wheels and added some raised white letter tires for a slightly more aggressive appearance. This is definitely not a show car and it's not something I'm interested in restoring because it is a legitimate survivor and it's got some rough edges under the hood and some paint rubbed off here and there but our mission is to keep it alive and drive it and enjoy it wearing mostly all original paint it's got in fact it was.
Original when I bought it it had the gate coated plug wires on it and at the original cap and rotor the original exhaust system and I've never had a car that was all original.
It's kind of a new experience for me but today we're working on doing a few things to this car to improve its drivability without sacrificing any of its original look and we're going to do this in the ignition system by installing a / tronics igniter ignition the whole purpose of this project is to build in a little more reliability and a little more performance into this 72 degree Vieira's ignition system it's only showing 29,000 miles on the odometer but a lot of years have passed.
It's time to do an easy upgrade one nice benefit about the Petron exciter is that it provides a solid-state reliable magnetic pickup style ignition system but the other cool thing is it hides under the original distributor cap.
When you open the hood you can't tell that anything ever changed the first thing we wanted to do is verify the ignition timing on this car I noted that the ignition timing was set at about 10 degrees before top dead center where the timing light I also took a minute to mark the distributor and the engine block.
That when we put the distributor back in the car it would land in the right spot and we wouldn't have to retime the whole thing then it's just a matter of taking off the distributor cap disconnecting the wire off the coil and unbolting the distributor and taking it out in our case we had to cut that wire because it didn't want to come off our old ignition coil but that's. Okay, we were putting in a new coil and a new wire anyway.
It didn't really matter once we got the distributor out we fixtured it up on the bench to do the port Ronix igniter install on the bench we started to disassemble the distributor there's a couple of screws on top of the rotor we took those off we also found on this one that there was a couple of covers covering the points mechanism we took those out and that exposed the ignition points on the distributor.
Underneath that cap and those two little covers you've got your breaker points and a little cam follower and as the distributor rotates that follower moves those points apart and literally breaks the circuit that's what I call them breaker points when the power is disrupted it induces a high voltage charge in the ignition coil which feeds the distributor and then lights off the spark plugs it's kind of a long convoluted and these work. Okay, except for over time these little breaker points wear out and then there's a screw here that you need to adjust them every once in a while because as they wear they get thinner and you want to have the right point gap.
The concepts pretty good but today we can do this with an electronic device that doesn't wear out and is much more consistent and that's what the igniter is.
That's why we're putting it in the breaker points are easily removed by taking off the two screws that hold them down to the breaker point plate and then you cut or remove or pull out the original wiring there's also a condenser on the other side which will no longer use as well.
You take a screwdriver and remove the screws to pull out the condenser we took a minute to clean the base plate where the points were mounted and after that was all cleaned up we mounted our / Tronics igniter pickup coil on that plate it reuses the same screws that held the points in place originally once we had the igniter module screwed in place we had to add the magnetic ring to the top part of the distributor and this was a little bit of a challenge to feed it around the distributor weights and advance mechanism but once we looped it over you feed the to screw shafts up through and then you run down the nuts to keep it in place to do a little demo on this we left the rotor off to show how this compared to the old one.
Now rather than that little cam and breaker point operating we have a magnetic pickup and a ring and the ring has magnets in the bottom of it and every time this turns one of these magnets comes past the pickup and that's what triggers the coil.
Now we've got no parts to touch each other so. This is nice and precise next the air gap space between the igniter pickup and the magnetic ring needs to be verified this space needs to be no less than 10 thousandths of an inch and no more than 60 thousandths of an inch ours came in right in the middle at about 25,000 now the next trick was to feed the wires through the distributor body which was a little bit tricky but once we got them through use the supplied grommet and install that to protect the wires from rubbing against the distributor housing for the final install we properly mounted the ignition rotor using those two studs sticking up from that magnetic ring and tighten down the two lock nuts we also elected to install a per Tronics flamethrower ignition coil it looks again like a stock part once it's installed in its bracket you can't really tell if there's anything that's been modified but now this coil is 45 years newer than the one we had and their claim of thirty thousand volt output.
I'm sure it's gonna light off our stock view at 4:55 I had to wrestle with the bracket a little bit to get it to fit because it was slightly bigger than our original coil once the coil was mounted we installed the distributor and we got pretty lucky because it fell in on the first try the teeth on the gear lined up properly I was kind of pinching the wires a little bit I pulled the wires out of the way and stabbed needed to be.
We reconnected the distributor hold down clamp and tightened up that bolt then we connected up our ignition wires put the cap back on and then connected the two wires back on the ignition coil to power the electronics igniter and then we decided to just turn the key see what happens. Okay, here's legitimate first test start right didn't try this before was the door I don't know it's overall we were very impressed with this job it doesn't take long it takes longer if you're explaining it on camera but in reality you can do this probably in a half an hour or.
The other cool thing is right away we noticed a smoother idle and driving the car around we noticed a little more throttle response than it had with the stock points and the stock coil this isn't a high rpm race engine.
I don't really expect this thing to be you know able to turn 7,000 rpm now but at the end of the day we have a smoother running engine that starts faster and we're getting that reliability that we wanted and we'll never have to adjust the points again you can learn more about the Petronas igniter at pur Tronics com or learn more about the story of my 1970 riviera on our forum be a tv-show comm slash forum and the member rides section.