Buick V6 Distributors


Active Member
Feb 22, 2003
These are some of the distributors I have collected. I thought it would be interesting to compare them side by side. There is a very big difference in size. The HEI is a great all in one distributor, but it is huge. MSD made distributors in both cast aluminum and billet aluminum bodies. I don't have any pictures of an MSD with a cast aluminum body but I assume they look about the same except for a vacuum advance cannister. Mallory made one model (or series as they called them) in all cast aluminum and another with a cast aluminum upper body and a billet aluminum lower body. Personally, I prefer a smaller bodied distributor with an external coil. Most of them are swap meet only finds these days. Starting on the left:
1) GM Hei for early 231 turbo #1110735
2)MSD billet aluminum mechanical advance #3551
3) Mallory 45 Series mechanical advance #4568101
Mallory made a couple different models of distributors for the Buick V6. Unfortunately they are no longer made. Mallory was bought out by MSD and MSD was then bought by Holley Corp. There were various features within each series designated by a letter at the end of the individual part number, such as mechanical advance or vacuum adavnce. Here is a side by side picture of a 27 Series dual point w/vacuum advance and the same 45 series breakerless w/mechanical advance that was pictured above for comparison. The 27 series has a one piece cast aluminum body and lower housing. The 45 series has a 2 piece cast aluminum upper body and a billet aluminum lower body. Both use the same distributor cap but the rotors are very different for each one. The 45 series is the one to get if you can find one. The 45 series was designed with a very low profile for blower applications or to solve clearance problems other distributors may have. Each Mallory distributor will have a tag attached with a part number. The first 2 numbers of the part number tells you what series the distributor is. You can see in the picture below how much taller the 27 series is than the 45 series. Starting on the left:
1) Mallory Dual Point 2768101A dual point w/vacuum advance (I converted this one to electronic with a Pertronix kit)
2) Mallory 4568101H breakerless w/mechanical advance
Now for an oddity you may never have heard of. Accel also made a distributor for the even fire Buick V6 in the early 1980's. It was sold as a kit with an ignition box and had a very nicely made specific wiring harness that was "plug and play". It may have also come complete with a coil. If it did, it is missing from the kit I have. MSD used to sell an adapter pigtail to use it with their ignition box but it is out of production now. Of course this kit was considered "For racing use only". The part number for the kit was Accel 39106A and there is a tag on the side of the distributor with that number. It has mechanical advance that can be adjusted internally. The distributor cap hold down brackets are unique to this distributor. Probably the strangest thing of all is that it is a tach drive distributor. Accel claimed some tachometers wouldn't work with this distributor so it was designed to be used with a cable driven tach. You can see the unusual distributor cap hold downs and the tach drive on the side. Accel used to have some well made products back then. And this was made in the USA!
Which distributer was the Buick V6 racing engine builders using "back in the day" on production style engines before the Stage II program? I found some pictures of one of Smokey Yunick's engines in the Garlits Museum of an IMSA engine running the Accel. Another I found was of a Ray Baker circle track engine also running the Accel. Gotta love that 6 into 1 header on those engines. Yunick claimed it made 25 horsepower more than any other header design. Looks to me like it would dump on top of the transmission, so I think these must have been dyno headers maybe? Baker Engineering worked closely with Smokey Yunick.


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The V6 built by Smokey Yunick is on display at the Don Garlit's Museum Of Drag Racing in Ocala, Fl. It had an interesting side oiling arrangement. I'm not sure if that is the same engine in your photo.
Smokey figured out those oiling system modifications while doing his initial R&D for Buick on the odd fire V6's. This article from 1980 touches on those mods taught to Baker by Yunick. The January 1978 issue of Hot Rod magazine went a little more in depth of Yunick building a 355 HP odd fire engine.

Thanks for the full article on Baker. He was the man back in the day, as was Smokey. Smokey's dyno is also at Don Garlits Museum.