Installing a Pertronix Flame-Thrower/Ignitor III Ignition System

March 23rd, 2011

Text and Photos by Matt Emery

There are many ways to get more horsepower from an engine, but not many of them also include adding reliability. For many, a Chevy HEI is the perfect addition to their engine because the coil is part of the overall distributor package. But the HEI is a large unit and for some space is an issue. Such was the case of this Chevy Nova. There’s not a lot of space under the hood on one of these cars, and the V-8 Chevy engine takes up most of that room. As such, there wasn’t enough space (without pounding clearance into the firewall) for the traditional HEI.

That’s where the Pertronix Flame-Thrower billet ignition is perfect. It’s the same overall size as the Chevy stock distributor, but rather than having old-style points and condensers to worry about, the Flame-Thrower is equipped with the latest in electronic trickery in the form of its Ignitor III ignition module. The Ignitor III is the latest from item in the evolution of electronics from Pertronix. It features drastically increased spark energy over the traditional points-based system (especially when combined with the 45,000-volt-capable Pertronix Flame-Thrower coil), improved combustion thanks to throwing multiple spark throughout the entire rpm range. But one trick item that the Ignitor III has is a built-in electronic engine rpm limiter. Accurate to +/- 50 rpm, the new Ignitor III module allows for quick and easy setting/adjustment of the rpm limiter.

The Pertronix Flame-Thrower distributor looks great in CNC-machined billet. Adding to the charge is the 45,000-volt-capable Flame Thrower III coil and a set of Pertronix 8mm plug leads completes the system.

Pertronix supplies detailed instructions to make the setting of the rev limiter a simple task, and installing a distributor, on the face of it, is a simple thing. We went to Dave Lange Performance/Fuel Curve West in Upland, California, to watch as he did the swap on this Chevy. Lange is an engine builder who has not only raced NHRA competition events, he was on Jay Payne’s Top Alcohol Dragster for many years. His dad Dave Sr., who runs Fuel Curve West, was the crew chief. Between the two, they have forgotten more about building high performance engines than most people have learned. So it was a no-brainer for us to watch Lange when he told us about the install.

The heart of the matter is Pertronix’s new Ignitor III module. According to Pertronix, the Ignitor III module provides increased and more focused spark as well as a built-in rev limiter.

This is an install that can easily be done in a morning, which leaves the entire afternoon for cruisin’. So watch as Dave Lange adds power and reliability to the Chevy engine.



440 E. Arrow Highway

San Dimas, CA 91773


Dave Lange Performance/Fuel Curve West

1247 W. Ninth St.

Upland, CA 91786


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