Re: 396 big block...some questions...
As far as revving, on the highway in 2nd gear, slowly rev up to the point where she starts to lose power or rev up to the point of valve float (will start to miss) and set your red-line a bit below that. If she starts to break up in lower rpms, 4000 for instance, you'll need to diagnose problems with timing and/or fuel delivery first.
You'll need vacuum advance for ordinary street driving,.. esp cruise and idle. it will run better, better mileage, and stronger too.
As far as setting the timing, buy a timing light and learn to do this yourself because it's a trial and error thing with these old cars. Do a search on this site,..I'm sure there's instructions,..it's easy.
The BOP adapter for the tranny doesn't worry me.
Good luck with your new ride!