Coil hot is very bad. (I'm not callable right now, I'm at work goofing off during meetings)
Coil hot means it's passing current
- i.e. the points are "closed"
Bad distributor cap can cause the motor
not to run, but will not cause a simple coil test to fail, 'cause the distributor cap isn't in the circuit.
Oh wait - the points aren't in the cap - they're mounted to a plate on the distributor. If that's real rusty (i.e. the points can't switch to ground) - yes, that's bad. But that's easily testable with a multimeter.
For testing a coil with a wire - watch:
Make sure you get spark that way. you may also want to ohm out the HT coil wire to make sure it's not open - i.e. it needs to be a good wire for this to work (and the gnd it's sparking to needs to be a good ground)