I got it running today. While connecting the battery I did short the positive cable and smoke came from an unexpected place, but recklessly ignoring it I stayed my course. It started and ran, and I drove it around the block, and I am a happy man. It restored my morale about the car, despite additional rot I've found since last time.
I feel like with a couple hour's work and minimal money investment, I can get it roadworthy enough to drive to work (I guess I'll have to insure it, in that case). I'd have to repair the exhaust pipe at the rear; I have a piece of pipe already. I'd need a hose clamp for that exhaust whatsit. I'd have to spend an hour cleaning up leaves, debris, and mouse nest remains. I might have to get some tires mounted before it will pass inspection; I have tires that I got for an experiment on the VW which are a good size. Hooray!
So, the bad news: Surging/bucking at ~45mph with heavy throttle trying to accelerate to 60. A couple years ago I figured out that it needs new spark plug wires or other ignition parts when I noticed that it has no power at all during rain but runs ok in dry air; it's a bit muggy today, so maybe that's what that was.
From the sounds of it, get a new cap, rotor, plugs, and wires. I recommend the 100,000 mile AC Delco platinums. I have them in my Buick and in Rusty. They're also not that expensive if you find them on sale...
Today I took it out for its weekly (or weakly) drive around the block, and as usual when I got out on the main road I opened it up. This time it stalled during its surging/bucking behavior. Does that tell me I've got anything else to buy besides the aforementioned normal maintenance parts?