Hello again :)
Fuel gauge is likely to be at the pump end, maybe a disconnected wire or maybe something a bit more serious. If the sender unit is stuffed you'll need another of course, I suggest getting an old CFI pump and using the sender unit off that (or I have plenty.....) :s6:
Rust bubbles there are fairly common....is the paint metallic? In any case, a panel shop should only want a couple hundred to sand them back and paint over them.
Hell, you could borrow my gear and DIY! I can give you advice etc. at the least....
Proud TQE Operator and President of SEFAG - the Society for the Elimination of Ford Automatic Gearboxes
Pacemaker headers + 2.5" exhaust
EF Fairmont interior
Lowered King springs
5 speed manual
Newest mod: EF Ghia wiring loom and dash