One of the more surprising things that occurred when I first looked at the car on that cold, snowy day, was that the interior light came on when I opened the door and the radio came on after flipping the key to Run. Mind you, the car hadn’t been on the road since at least ’78. Yes, the Motorcraft battery was in good shape and held a charge, and while maybe only a decade or two old, it had no trouble turning the engine over during our attempts at getting the points functional. Unfortunately, while the chemistry was in good shape, one of the internal links to the battery posts wasn’t and it went open during cranking recently. So much for that battery.
The modern replacement is a Group 24, which is what I bought. Clearly, the lower height Motorcraft wasn’t legit. With the 24 installed, I now worried about terminal height and shorting to the hood, my ground cable (recently replaced) was now too tight for comfort, and fastening the battery down to keep from bouncing into the hood, or off the battery shelf and into the belts, was now a real concern. A universal battery hold down kit for $6 uses the factory T-holes to capture new hold down rods. Another ground cable (4 ga) but slightly longer did the trick. Despite the hood having a special stamped area to accommodate the positive terminal, I don’t plan on taking any chances. Rubber terminal covers are en-route and are cheap insurance. Likely available locally, but equally cheap and with free shipping off that e-place.
A stroke of Pontiac genius, the battery distribution point is up on the driver’s side fender with the horn relay, rather than off the main terminal of the starter. This keeps the wiring short, clean, and out of harm’s way. It also makes troubleshooting a breeze. With terminals clean and tight, the engine should spin with ease.