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Distinguishing Lucas from Marelli

Jaguar V12 Ignition Systems

Distinguishing Lucas from Marelli

Occasionally someone will ask, "How do I tell if I have the Lucas ignition system or the Marelli?"  Your initial reaction, of course, is "How can anyone be so stupid?"  Then, as you fumble to try to answer, you realize it's not that dumb a question after all.  You could just say the Lucas system has a large distributor cap, but that really doesn't mean anything because anyone unfamiliar with V12's thinks the Marelli is a large distributor cap.  You can say the Marelli uses two ignition coils, but then you remember that the Lucas uses two ignition coils as well.  You could point out that the Marelli has two coil connections on the distributor cap, one centered and one off-center, while the Lucas has only a single center connection -- but, as is apparent in the photo below, the Lucas cap has a vent hose connection off-center, and you can't be too sure that the uninitiated will be able to discern the difference between a coil connection and a vent hose.

And, no, you cannot describe the Lucas as the system with a vent scheme.  The Marelli has the same vent scheme; the connections are simply in the base rather than in the cap.

What can I say?  Just refer the person asking the question to this page and let him look at the picture for himself.  The one on the right is for a Marelli system.

Note that the picture depicts a genuine Lucas cap, while the Marelli item is actually an aftermarket cap.


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