1987 IROC Z Engine question

Hi, wondering what the engine gurus thought might be the cause of this problem I've encountered on my old 1987 IROC with the LB9 305 TPI engine. The engine ran fine for years, and has about 134,000 on
it.
Now it would always start instantly with the flick of the ignition key (even under the coldest winter mornings - gotta love TPI !).
But recently, it became intermittently hard to start, just turning the key would only crank it, I had to literally floor the accelerator while cranking to get it to run, and then gradually let up on the pedal or it would sputter and quit.
What's strange is I left the car indoors in my garage for a week or so (used my wifes car that week), and went to start it, and it fired up perfectly on the first turn of the key.
Drove it to work, car sat outdoors all day, came out to start it and it was back to the floor-pedal-while-cranking routine. Engine again was almost sputtering out if I took my foot of the pedal, after a minute or two, it ran okay. BUT, under the hood, I noticed the odor of gas. I checked for visible leaks, didn't see any - under the hood or under the car.
Drove it home, while driving, the gas gauge dropped from 3/4 tank down to empty in the span of only 10 miles ! made it to a gas station by sheer luck.
Now starting it up, (again hard start), it runs very rough, and will quit unless I keep my foot on the pedal above idle.
The exhaust will blow out HUGE clouds of white smoke.
The oil level is fine, looks clean (ie. no water in oil), no odd mechanical noises coming from engine, no leaks of any sort visible.
I parked it, and well probably flat bed it to a local shop to have them diagnose it, unless the engine/mechanical gurus in this newsgroup can think of something obvious I can check that I might be able to DIY repair it.
I recently replaced spark plugs and distributor cap and rotor, and wires, but this was months ago, and after doing that I actually drove the car from NYC to Miami without a hint of any problems, So I don't think it's anything I did, since this problem just developed out of the blue.
I have the shop manual and will attempt to troubleshoot it, but without a scan tool, it's going to be difficult.
Why the car consumed 3/4 of a tank of fuel in 10 miles is obviously related to the problem of it blowing out huge clouds of white smoke, but I'm not sure what type of engine part failure would cause that.
Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated, regards.
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That white smoke could be one of two things, cacked cylender head, or blown head gasket. look in your radiator to see if there is any goop in it, as well as your oil for white foam (just double check, okay). Could be a fuel line that got snagged too. Go to the gas tank under the car, and run you hands along the lines from the tank all the way up as far as you can go. You may find some gas dripping down the line from a small fissure in the line.
Brian

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In the name of "Jesus H. Christ", you limey guys are so...........uninformed.
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Have you tried replacing the summer air in the tires to winter air?
Just kidding, who farted?
-=JB=-
On Sat, 25 Oct 2003 08:42:49 -0400, "silentbob"

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Try replacing the Fuel Filter and maybe use that ingition cleaner stuff in ur gas
wrote:

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