Problem solved. Kinda. The dead engine situation turned out to be the ignition module. I was much more confident that it was the module after visiting three auto wrecking yards and finding 20-30 cars that used that coil-pack, THEY WERE ALL GONE except for one!!! Common problem?
The coil-pack on the dead car checked out okay according to the manual, so I seperated the coils from the module I got at the yard and bought the module for $20. It worked!
So now the car is back on the road, but it doesn't run all that great. It cruises very nicely, runs smoothly most of the time, doesn't burn any oil to speak of, no smoke, still a very strong motor at 257k miles, but it hesitates under acceleration and the tach has recently started to "hop". The hesitation problem seems to be worse in the first five minutes or so, but it still does it from time to time after warmup, just not as badly. It feels fuel related, almost like its running to rich, but I've yet to see any black smoke. The tach jumps about 300 rpm every once and awhile but doesn't seem to effect the engine. I would suspect and ignition or ecm problem, but I'm just guessing.
Nothing has been done to try to figure out the hesitation problem.