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Ignition systems: what's the point?

A lot of motorists these days weren't even alive when new cars still had distributors with points, carburetors and manual... well, everything. I bet if you stop 10 people and asked what "ignition" refers to (especially those that drive an electric vehicle or hybrid), most would say ignition was an R. Kelly song, start up fund or something that happens when lighting a fat one.

Pontiac GTO distributor diagram

 

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