Thank you for the fast response, and for the info. Some updates...
Since I posted this, an old mechanic who I love got back to me. He doesn't do private work often, anymore, but he is an amazing mechanic. He has suggested that I could just bring him the c8041a and a rebuild kit and he would rebuild it. It would be much cheaper than getting a new carb. But I assume there are other advantages to switching to a new carb, like the aforementioned efficiency and performance? I am waiting to tell him about the info you gave for when I think he is done with his work for the day. If anyone was to install a new carb and tune it, I would prefer it if it were him, as he has tons of experience with carburetors and is reliable.
Is the 600cfm a better choice than the 650 that Holley recommended last year (the 0-80783C)? Or is it just less expensive? Eventually I would like to build up the engine, and I was hoping long term to get a carb that would support that without being terribly inefficient, and that was the model Holley suggested when I said that. They also said to get their part 20-91, which is the ford kickdown, and a 108-12 adapter to use as a spacer. Would that be a proper spacer for this, or is that Transdapt better? Other long term suggestions they gave when I informed them of various issues were:
For spark issues I have had, with one distributor replaced already, and plenty of misfiring"
MSD 8350 Distributor
MSD 6425 6AL Ignition Box
(no solid core wires to be used with these)
Is that distributor a "properly curved" distributor? I don't really know what that means.
I have had starter issues when more aggressive timing was set, and have burned out solenoids, and they offered the following suggestion:
Model 509223 Starter
and a MSD 8984 "Starter Saver"
When I thought I was having fuel pump issues again:
12-460-11 Fuel pump
What do you think of these suggestions for long term goals (1 year out or so)?