Back in the day, engines lacked knock sensors. If one was going to make a mistake; it was best to be mistaken by using higher octane.
Even though we made less, gas was inexpensive. Once 5 of us went to the city and passed the hat for gas. As I had never filled a tank, I said $13; the man said your tank is only 20. Being a kid, I said OK but stop at $13. LOL

Today, you can buy almost anything which is really cool. The tradeoff is to do what one once did, now one needs to know computers, electrical, and mechanical. I had an Accel distributor, after removing the point table, the weights had socket head screws to change the advance. Today one needs a handheld tuner or computer and a $600 program or pay for dyno time.

One of the "gang's" father owned the junkyard. In the beginning he was the man. As time passed, others became machinists, engineers, welders and he collected back rent.