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Technical Scintilla Vertex Magneto

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by De Konjel, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. In a box of parts I got I found a Sincilla Vertex Magneto. I have no experience with this type of ignition.
    Can I use this on a Ford Model A engine? It looks cool. How does it work? Can someone give me an introduction to Magneto's. The only numbers on the data plate that I can read are 400-450-1000. IMG_20210207_185933.jpeg IMG_20210207_185941.jpeg IMG_20210207_190017.jpeg

    Sent from my SNE-LX1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  2. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,529


    Anything is possible,
    It will need to be gone through, at that time they could add correct base, rotation, advance or whatever needed to make it work for you.
    Cap might be worth as much as the magneto as it sits if it's in nice condition.
    I wouldn't pay more than a hundred or so, considering how much work it needs.
  3. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,443

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Internet man, internet..! You'll find most all there is about them (Vertex) within...the internet.
    Not familiar with that shaft end configuration.
    What "box" did you find it in...a Model A, parts box ? If so, it might just fit, a Model A engine. What's left of the ignition wires suggest so.

  4. It was in a box with other A parts so I assumed it would fit my A engine.

    Sent from my SNE-LX1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

  5. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,002

    jimmy six

    Hold a wire end and turn it. :rolleyes:
  6. 19Eddy30
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,335

    from VA

    Or Pull the cap off there will be a contactComing from the base about 2 inch long ,hold it with fingers or about a 1/4 inch from metal spin the cam gear with hand see if it arcs or light you up !!,
    jaracer and jimmy six like this.
  7. MojoRacing
    Joined: Mar 24, 2013
    Posts: 42


    ^^^^ Scintilla shuffle!!
    jimmy six likes this.
  8. Angry Frenchman
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,758

    Angry Frenchman

    Please don’t hold the coil wire and turn it. That will juice you good. Looks like a model A and B magneto but it is missing it mounting plate/ clamp. The clamps I’ve seen are made of bronze. If it spins free and makes juice, run it.
    Elcohaulic likes this.
  9. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 229

    from Sydney

  10. What are the advantage or disadvantages of this type of ignition?
    This is new stuff for me.
    Think I have to do lot of reading.
    Would love to see it mounted on the front gear cover.....

    Sent from my SNE-LX1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,803


    The advantage of a mag is the faster it spins, the hotter the spark is, so it is well suited to high RPM applications.
    Another advantage is wiring it up. It is self contained so all that is needed to run the engine is a single wire to a kill switch ground.

    The disadvantage(s) of a mag is at slow speeds the spark is weaker. In the past this meant gapping the plugs down to .015" to prevent fouling at idle. Nowadays some upgrades enable gaps around .020" (on gas). Also, a tach cannot be wired directly to the mag - it requires a sender box. Also, in NHRA racing, you must use a relay to the ground (shut off terminal) so the master shutoff switch at the rear of the vehicle will positively kill the engine when activated. Also, a separate RPM limiter is needed.

    Here is a picture of a right angle gearbox I built to drive my mag, so it clears the intake manifold above.

    adv23t086 (2).jpg
  12. Hey there, anyone has Scintilla Magneto Manual, searched all the web couldn't find anywhere.
  13. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,212

    from so-cal

    Vertex is the exact same unit
    loudbang and Paul like this.
  14. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 10,002

    jimmy six

    Budget36 and loudbang like this.
  15. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,467


    I used to ride around with a few guys who had this kind of ignition. One was a white 57 Belair with a Z-28 302. He had a mag but he also had a Duntov cam that idled at 1000 with 4;11 gears and a wide ratio Muncie that had more gear whine then a 1950 Autocar tri-axle..
    That 302 had no issue keeping the current flowing in bumper to bumper traffic..

    Since your not racing this car, why bother with a mag, especially on a four cylinder.. They have so many nice ignitions out today both brand new and vintage.... That engine isn't going racing, go for the stock set up..
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  16. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 292

    Terry Buffum
    from Oregon

    The Frenchtown Flyer said
    "The disadvantage(s) of a mag is at slow speeds the spark is weaker. In the past this meant gapping the plugs down to .015" to prevent fouling at idle. Nowadays some upgrades enable gaps around .020" (on gas). Also, a tach cannot be wired directly to the mag - it requires a sender box"

    I remember trying an inductive coupled tach (like a timing light) on a mag and it did not work, but I still don't understand why it should not. Please educate me!
  17. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,855



    In looking at that tag is that a zero above 400? I see 6 degrees above the 1000, and the number above 450 is illegible to me but I think that may be where the advance curve begins.
    Keep in mind that the magneto turns 1/2 of crankshaft rotation so the advance curve probably starts at 900 RPM and is all in with 12 degrees @ 2000 RPM.
    loudbang likes this.
  18. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,538


    Dizzy 's sister...
    loudbang likes this.
  19. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 229

    from Sydney

    Forgive my poor Aussie English… we were sent out to this colony partially for our misuse of the Queen’s English:p

    magneto - maggie - mag
    Distributor - dizzy
    Points - contacts (never breaker)
    Condenser (rarely capacitor)

    Harv (mangler of grammar, not to be trusted with a verb). :D
  20. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,238




    That is one of the funniest things I have read in quite some time. You are a character J6. Knowing 9 volts can give anyone a jumpstart for laughs, this Vertex Magneto holds and delivers a lot more power going to the spark plug wires. My brother was a funny guy. Working with him was a challenge.

    But, since he was knowledgeable, it was a fun activity when both of us were working after school and on weekends, from morning until night. Our goal was to get the 1940 Willys Coupe built to compete in the B/Gas and C/Gas classes at Lion’s Dragstrip. The difference was added weight to go race in the C/Gas class.

    When we were getting to the initial start up point for the 671 powered SBC, he wanted to be the guy throwing the switch. When he fired up the motor, the revolutions and the noise was outstanding. It was as if we were in the pits at Lion’s Dragstrip. He revved up the motor a few times and then shut it off. He was smiling from ear to ear. It was his project and I was the valuable helper. So, he wanted to thank me for the great help that I contributed.
    671 Isky Gilmer Belt/6 Strombergs/ and A Joe Hunt Scintilla Vertex Magneto spilling out the juice on our version of an SBC, for C/Gas coupe class racing.

    He told me to take out the spark plugs and to replace them with a set of racing Lodge pink plugs. We had been given a couple of sets of Lodge plugs only to be used when racing. He wanted to get some fine tuning done and wanted me to replace the plugs. When I reached for the first accessible plug, he told me to take it out and check the coloring and ceramic. So, that was easy enough. We went through the whole bank and when we got to the last one, I was in a groove. Easy out, no breakage and great color on the plugs.


    Now, the last one took some time to remove and when I had it in hand, he told me to put on the spark wire, look at the end, and check the electricity flow. When I grabbed the wire and connected, he turned on the key and a huge jolt came flying into my hand and arm. Luckily, I had put a canvas tarp below the open area near the plugs.

    It was like a 1000 hot potatoes all at once and I actually jerked back with a flourish. He was laughing inside of the cab behind the steering wheel. What a character. That was his reward for me doing a great job on the 671 SBC motor. Now, we were ready. Then I asked what the %$#@!!! And he just laughed and said he wanted to check if the new Packard wires were working… yea, right! That Joe Hunt Scintilla Vertex Magneto packs quite a punch.

    A good tune, right plugs, even burn and a powerful 671 SBC chugging the Willys Coupe to a 12.60 e.t. time by the end the day at Lion’s Dragstrip. It was good enough to be in the final C/Gas elimination run after a series of victories in the earlier rounds of eliminations.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
    Budget36 and kadillackid like this.
  21. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 803

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    from Upstate NY

    Similar way I was introduced to the zap of a Vertex mag. It was hande to me without the cap on, and I was told that whatever I did don't drop it. The other guy spun the gear just as he handed it to me. Shocking!
    jnaki and loudbang like this.
  22. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,092

    Marty Strode

    Also Liquor Store- Bottle Shop.
    Truck64 likes this.
  23. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,224


    In my day all sprint cars ran magneto's. I was always told a mag didn't put out much voltage at low rpm. I was surprised to find that a small turn of the drive gear would cause a very hot spark to anything metal, a work bench, a file cabinet, etc. Many guys have gotten the shock of their life by dropping a mag in a small block Chevy with the distributor cap off.
  24. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 229

    from Sydney

    Bottle shop, or Bottle-oh.

    The faster they turn, the quicker the points open. This "breaks" the magnetic field faster. The faster the magnetic field disappears, the higher the voltage. Having said that, spinning one with your fingers is more than enough to make you do the Scintilla shuffle.

  25. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,498


    Being as De Konjel is in Europe, perhaps asking around the Antique Farm Equipment people would come up with some info on the post-WWII 4cyl Ford powered machinery : many of those used a Scintilla/Vertex for reliability(even if the battery "died" the motor would still be "in service") & the motor was a "modernized" Model A.
    loudbang likes this.
  26. Harv
    Joined: Jan 16, 2008
    Posts: 229

    from Sydney

    loudbang likes this.

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