CB Static Got You Down? ACCEL Suppression Plug Wires are the Cure

If you were alive in 1977, you probably remember Sears Winners sneakers and JC Penney Plain Pocket jeans, Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, and Smokey and the Bandit at the movie theater, the introduction of the Atari 2600 and the Apple II, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, and NASA performed the first space shuttle flight test. At the drag strip, the funny cars had some of the best body lines of the class’s history.

Speaking of body lines, “foxtrots” and halter tops drew large crowds to the tracks. However, ’77 had some bad news as well. The US had the coldest recorded January in over 80 years (accompanied by record snow accumulation in the northeast). Pelé retired, Elvis passed, and the auto manufacturers were stuck in an emissions quagmire that had virtually eliminated all performance vehicle sales. Even worse (from your author’s perspective), custom vans became the focus of the aftermarket and all the trade magazines.

Inside the pamphlet, illustrations showed how the vans could be optioned with road wheels, fat tires, high-back buckets, and carpeting. Right from the factory, you could pick up a customized Street Van. The factory kept the paint schemes relatively mild, but colorful exterior paint was the norm. As part of the purchase, the owner received the “Van Clan” newsletter, which kept the owner up-to-date on “van” events throughout the US.

Dodge jumped headfirst into the van craze with its “the Adult Toys from Dodge” campaign depicted in the April 1977 Car Craft magazine ad. The aftermarket started pumping out front spoilers, grilles, moonroofs, fender flares, circle, diamond, and heart-shaped, etched-glass side windows, side pipes, whip antennas, and even simulated hood scoops. When the doors swung open, the interior was wall-to-wall shag carpet in a multi-tone color of rust, green, or blue.

Dodge sold the vans with a customizing idea kit that came with trick paint designs and full-size interior templates for the interior’s desired layout. The interior came with a “thick carpet” for the front seat occupants. Thick carpet was code for shag, which came in the multi-tones of rust, blue, or green.

A pair of swing-out captain chairs were anchored to the driver and passenger floor, and between the seats or overhead was a citizens band (CB) radio. The CB was the cell phone of the ‘70s. Of the 40 channels, channel 9 was for emergencies, and channel 19 was where the highway truckers hung out. The rest of the channels were open for everyone, and over the years, regional, recreational vehicle (RV), 4-wheel drive, and other groups unofficially adopted a channel.

The problem with the ‘70s CBs was electromagnetic interference (EMI), often caused by the vehicle’s ignition system, which resulted in static and interrupted communication.

There were (and still are) several options to attempt to reduce EMI, such as shielding with metal, placing a choke coil in series, installing a capacitor in parallel, adding additional vehicle grounds, and altering the secondary wires’ resistance to help reduce the static.

ACCEL employed the last option by modifying the resistance in its plug wires. As represented in the April 1977 Car Craft ad, ACCEL offered the premium 7mm and 8mm Yellow Silicone wires and the economical 7mm Sizzler wires.

Now a Holley Performance Products company, ACCEL still focuses on ignition components, including distributors, coils, spark plugs, and wires. Additionally, ACCEL has expanded its product line to incorporate fuel system components, including fuel injectors and pumps, late-model electronic sensors, and engine tuners. Check out ACCEL online for additional information, and we’ll be 10-10 on the side, good buddy.

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Chris Holley

Technical Contributor Chris has been a college professor for 25 years; at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. for the last 20 years. Chris instructs automotive classes in HVAC, electrical/electronics, and high-performance, including using a chassis dyno, flow benches, and various machining equipment. Recently, he added a vintage vehicle upholstery class to his teaching assignments. Chris owns a '67 Dart, a '75 Dart, a '06 Charger, and a '12 Cummins turbo diesel Ram, and he is a multi-time track champion (drag racing) with his '69 340 Dart, which he has owned for 34 years.

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