There have been as many variations in the distributor fitted to the Rover V8 as there have been changes to the engine.
Nevertheless, all factory-fitted distributors are Lucas items and all, with certain limitations, are interchangeable.
Early versions of the engine - Rover P5, P6 and early Range Rover - were fitted with contact breaker distributors, either single or twin points.
With the introduction of the Rover SD1 saloon, in 1976, came a new electronic ignition distributor, the Lucas 'OPUS' 35DE8. This was a completely self-contained unit, with the exception of a ballast resistor pack mounted away from the distributor.
In 1982, the 35DE8 was replaced by the Lucas 35DM8, an improved design with the ignition module located away from the main distributor (and therefore away from engine heat).
In 1985, an updated version of the DM8 - the DLM8 - was fitted to the Rover SD1. This distributor is similar to the DM8 but has an ignition module attached to the side of the distributor casing.
Other V8 vehicles, such as TR8 and Range Rover, have been fitted with versions of the same distributors, typically featuring different advance characteristics to suit their particular application. As stated above, most distributors are interchangeable, but early (pre-1976) and late (1976 on) units have a different oil pump drive gear:
Early are known as 'rigid shaft', with a tooth on the end of the distributor shaft which engages in a slot in the oil pump shaft.
Late unites are known as 'flexible shaft', and feature a flexibly mounted skew gear on the end of the distributor shaft, which has a slot that engages with a tooth on the oil pump shaft (see also Timing Cover and Oil Pump).
Most new distributors are sold on an outright basis. Reconditioned units are exchange.
In addition to original Lucas distributors, we stock Lumenition electronic ignition kits, which are suitable for pints type or 35DE8 electronic distributors only. We also stock complete replacement distributors by Mallory. Mallory distributors are available in early or late type configurations, and feature adjustable ignition advance facility.
Early vehicles (1970 to June 1981) have Lucas points type distributors. Electronic ignition was introduced in July 1981. From this time, an A-suffix after the engine number denotes points ignition, and a B-suffix, electronic ignition (carb engines only - all efi are electronic ignition).
From 1986, all distributors are electronic - either the Lucas 35DM8, having a separate ignition amplifier mounted underneath the coil, or on later vehicles, the Lucas 35DLM8, which has an amplifier module mounted on the side of the distributor itself.
From 1992 (c.9 & 4.2 litre), distributors have either a 2-pin or a 3-pin amplifier module on the body of the distributor. The later 3-pin can be used to replace the 2-pin when fitted in conjunction with the appropriate link lead, part no. STC1212. The latest 3.9 & 4.2 engines have a remote amplifier again, mounted away from the distributor.
Points type distributors can be converted to electronic ignition with Lumenition kit RB7323.