This operation will be easier if you pull all the spark plugs. That will allow you to turn the motor over with a socket without having to turn against compression in the cylinders.
With a socket and long bar with a ratchet attached to the bolt head that holds the harmonic damper onto the front of the crankshaft, turn the crank clockwise while a friend holds his thumb over the #1 spark plug hole (driver's side, first cylinder at the front of the motor). Using the starter for this operation WILL NOT WORK. The starter spins the motor too fast. When your friend feels air pressure beginning to build under his thumb, that means that both valves are closed and the piston is coming up on the compression stroke of #1 cylinder.
Watch the harmonic damper and you will see the notch that is cut into the outer ring of the damper come up to the top. When that notch is at the top, STOP. You are now at approximately top dead center on #1 cylinder, where we will stab the distributor and install the retaining clamp and bolt. We will leave it a little loose so we can rotate the distributor housing. You may have to use a long screwdriver to line up the slot in the distributor driveshaft as you look down into the hole where the distributor goes. The distributor drive gear on the cam is not straight cut, it is beveled, so as you drop the distributor into place, the rotor will turn a little. If the rotor does not end up where you want it, pull the distributor up a little and turn the shaft a little to start at a slightly different place so that the rotor will be where you want it with the distributor housing seated on the intake manifold.
As if we were standing on the motor and looking down on it, we will want to point the rotor tab at #1 cylinder, approximately 5:30 O'Clock if you look at a clock face. Position the distributor housing so that you can twist it both ways without the vacuum advance can hitting on the intake manifold or the firewall. Replace spark plugs. Using your longest spark plug wire, plug it into the 5:30 position on the cap, coinciding with the tab on the rotor at 5:30 and run the other end of the wire to #1 spark plug. The longest wires will be for #1 and #2. The next longest wires will be for #3 and #4. Next longest for #5 and #6. The shortest wires will be for #7 and #8. Going around the cap in a clockwise manner, the next hole in the cap after you run the #1 wire will take the wire for #8 spark plug, then #4, then #3, then #6, then #5, then #7, then #2.
Now, depending on where the timing tab is on your motor (there were 3 different positions used), you might have to rotate the distributor housing a little one way or the other to get the motor to fire off, but unless I miss my guess, SHE WILL FIRE OFF. Have a timing light affixed to the #1 spark plug wire, adjust timing and lock the distributor down.
A little more info about the different timing positions. Like I said, there are 3 different ones. There is a 12:00 Noon position, a 2:00 O'Clock position and a 2:30 O'Clock position. Through the years, the timing tabs and front covers get mixed up on these motors, so you really should find top dead center and use the proper mark on your harmonic damper to line up with the timing tab on your front cover. Here is the procedure for doing this with the motor assembled that I wrote for the Crankshaft Coalition Wiki.... http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/...top_dead_center
If you can follow these instructions, the motor will be ignition timed.