The Chief has wings again!!
Turns out (knock on wood) that the water pump/serpentine/upper and lower intake gasket change wasn't the flaw that kept it from starting...but spark plugs that were toast!!
I've raced and burnt various components...but I hadn't seen a ground electrode thinned to this degree. There was enough of it gone to cause the gap to be over .1 vs .06.
The owner (friend of mine) swears less than 12 months since they were changed and no problems. Talked to the guy who did it and he confirms. Said he changed the wires.. but these are OEM, firing order numbered, in the original looms, heat caps etc
. Odds of these actually being changed previously? Like to get a quick ohm check on them.
Seems to run allright...this is a far cry from my old 455.
Thanks for help,
I'm off to track down solutions for the cars various ailments (boy, the turnsignal lever et al looks like fun!?)