So I was taking my '68 out for a cruise when she just died at a stop sign around the corner from my house. I turned the ignition off and tried to restart, but got nothing. The starter didn't turn, and it didn't even sound like the solenoid was engaging. I let it sit for a minute when my girl friend asked if smoke should be coming out from under the hood. I laughed until I realized that there was indeed a little smoke coming from under the hood. I jumped out and popped her open to see my wires frying. Fortunately I have a quick disconnect switch on the battery terminal that stopped the juice from flowing. It looks like the wires melted somewhere between the MSD box, the remote solenoid, the (Mallory) coil and over near the alternator. I have no clue what happened as the guy who installed my engine for me ran all the wiring and electrical taped EVERYTHING together. I wanted to upgrade the wiring to the Painess system for more modern electronics, fuses and heavier gauge wires, but it wasn't really at the top of my list. I'm okay with doing the work now, but I'd like to make sure it doesn't happen again. So here are the questions: 1) What could have done this?, and 2) Would an upgraded electrical system such as Painless Part #PRF-20101 prevent this from happening? I'm sure I'll be upgrading the alternator shortly as well.
P.S. There was some smoke in the engine compartment but not as much as from underhood. Does this mean the under-dash stuff got damaged or could it just be seeping through the firewall?