Re: 79 Pace Car timing
If the distributor cap, rotor, plugs and ignition wires are as old as I think you are saying they are, you should start with a complete tune up. See how it runs after that.
If you are still having problems, you can check the camshaft timing, and cam chain wear, by removing the valve cover and checking valve lift, while turning the engine over with a breaker bar and using a degree wheel to check crankshaft position.
That's easier than it sounds, and easier than removing the timing cover with the engine in the car.