Fresh 383 burns up pistons
A classic case of putting a tool in someone hands that don't know his ^#% from a hole in the ground. If you don't know what you are doing ask somebody first. I am sure the machinist explained the build to him and told him what fuel he would have to use. Being cheap he fills it up with 87 octane gas. Unless he was running an open exhaust he must have heard it pinging. Probably with the brand new Holley bolted it on with no tuning so it was probably running lean. There is no way that the spark plugs would have read normal with that much damage.