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Need a bit more information. Is it a factory tach? What type of ignition (points)? Pictures help!
 

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If the tach has failed electrically, the engine stops with the ignition wire hooked up like that. For example, if the rally pac was stolen, car would not start.
 

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A stock tach does not connect to the negative side of the coil. Instead, the 12v power source flows through the tach, through the pink resister wire (#16A) to the connector at the firewall for red wire (#16) and to the coil's positive side. If the tach fails the coil doesn't get power (except when starting and the tach & pink wire are by-passed by the white wire from the starter solenoid. EDIT; the negative side of the coil is connected to the distributor.
Modern tachometers are "three wire" and connect to the negative side of the coil (plus 12v and grd).
 
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