I have a '66 T-Bird I'm rejuvenating. I'm not as much interested in authenticity as I am in getting it to run. I like the idea of having the same car, but with better built components.

That being said, I need to replace the distributor. I can get a $95 one, or I can get a $500 one. I don't want to get into brands or reviews. Rather, what can be better about a more expensive distributor? Could an expensive one do something that a cheaper one doesn't, will it operate more precisely, or is it probably just a better warranty?

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    Do you have the specs/features for both distributors? We need them to be able to compare them and provide quality answers. Feel free to add links to the products. The way you've worded this question, I feel it can be answered objectively as long as the necessary details are provided
    – Zaid
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 21:10
  • What specs might be different from one to another that would be worth looking at? Especially because this is StackExchange, I'm trying to get a generic answer that'd also help someone else out, even if they're looking at different distributors. Thanks!
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 21:13
  • I would imagine the reviews to be a big factor in the decision of an expensive distributor. I could see your question as viable if you had examples and specs. As it stands I don't know how you expect us to answer this other than telling you if you dont want to spend 500 spend the 100. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 21:20
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    @Matt let me give you an example. Is the $500 distributor an electronically-controlled unit? Or did it just pass stricter quality control checks? Maybe it comes with a warranty? There is no way for us to know unless we can get a description of the distributor in question.
    – Zaid
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 21:23
  • Yeah, that's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for! Turn that into an answer! "Some expensive distributors are electronically controlled, instead of... these kind are better because..." "Some other distributors are expensive because their quality control checks reduce the likelihood of you getting a bad unit... or make it last longer... or reduce friction..." "Some are just expensive because you get a great warranty." Etc.
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


There is a huge collector interest in 1960s American stuff. Hence there are lots of aftermarket parts available of variable quality. Most people don't drive their classic everyday for reasons like fuel cost and wanting to keep mileage low. In the case of GM and its Australian cousin Holden there are cheap and expensive distributors to choose from. The cheap Chinese one has a short life bearing. The old stock one has a long life bearing. The cheap one may be valid for drag strip use but they wear out real fast so don't do this if you want to do Route 66. I would get the expensive one or stick to the stock one. Why spend any money on something that is less robust than the stock one?

  • This is good information. So, bearing quality has something to do with price. I'm assuming this also applies to other aspects of build quality? What about extra "features?" Electronically controlled components or additional parts? What other things influence the price? (Besides the obvious, "they want more money.")
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 14:34

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