87/88 Olds SW (Custom Cruiser) questions (sigh...)

Why the sigh? My wife fell in love with an 87 Custom Cruiser (body and interior mint, engine opposite). She paid $1500 for it w/o asking me, and told me to "fix it". (She's moved out, living with another
guy, and driving my car. I'm renting a car to get by, temporarily). Why, you may ask? Divorce is a possibility, along with taking the house & kids, yada yada. So for various reasons, I'll accomodate. Anyone out there with knowlege of that or similar GM models that can help me out will be greatly appreciated!
Let me outline a few things. The engine is the standard 350 with four barrel carb. Though the title says 87, the emissions diagragm in Chilton's that matches is labeled 88-90 Olds 307 (shows the solenoid assy with 6 tubing connections, where the 85-87 diagragm does not).
It has failed Arizona emmissions several times prior to now, with marginally high NO2 (I will clean EGR valve, and possibly replace CAT convertor).
I noticed that all the rubber emissions tubing was cracked, so I replaced all. Also noticed that the Air Switching Solenoid and Air Control Solenoid seem to be missing, and there are 2,3, & 4 conductor connectors laying loose on the left side of carbuertor. I realize that the manual I have (for Buick/Olds/Pontiac 75-90) has not got enough specific information for this model to correctly assess and fix the emissions stuff, but will try to obtain the specific manual, or get some copies of the emissions section if possible.
An immediate problem was that it wouldn't always start. Then it wouldn't start at all, but it was in my driveway. I checked, and no spark (but +12 is present at 'bat' term). I pulled the HEI cap, ohmed the HV coil, and found the primary intermittenly open (sometimes near zero ohms, sometimes open). I also ohmed the pickup coil (860 ohm, but leakage to ground of around 3 meg ohm; should be 'none'). I replaced the coil, and reassembled, but although it tried to start, would not. I then pulled the four plugs on right side (left side impossible), connected to harness and cranked. The observed spark was red and weak (.069 gap on plugs, battery up to 14 volts), rather than blue and snappy.
Question: Could a pickup coil leaking a little to ground cause that? (I could replace it for $50, but the entire distributor is in bad shape (sluggish advance due to rust and scale inside), or buy a rebuilt for $120.
I don't question that a replacement distributor is a no brainer, but I'm wondering if I can ever figure out what emissions stuff is missing, and even be able to find replacements. Whether it'll be worth it to invest all that time, as well as possibly replacing the oxygen sensor, CAT convertor, and possibly even a rebuilt 4 barrel carb (if available).
To summarize,
1: Marginal pickkup coil cause weak spark? 2: More detailed emissions diagragms available for that model? 3: Decent shop manual available? 4: Actual emmisions devices available for that model anymore? 5: Rebuilt 4 barrell available for reasonable amount?
and finally ... 6: Is it even worth it?
Thanx in advance for ANY info, even condolences.
Lee Bowman

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