That's great. The Dana 44 is a better rear end and parts are eazy to get and cheap. I didn't know that they used the 44 in those cars. I thought it was a T Bird only rear end in back then.
You don't need a housing spreader. I've built many Danas without using one. I've had a spreader for many years but only used it on aluminum rear ends. If you decide that you want to use one Randy's Ring & Pinion has one that doesn't cost a lot.