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'84 4ksq not running

I have a friend in need of help.  His '84 4ksq will not start.  Actually,
you can start it but it only runs for 5-10 seconds at very low idle then
dies.  If you try to give it gas it will immediately die.  The car has 154k+
and seemed to have been getting progressively worse the last month or so.
We checked the connections around the intake/air filter and all seems well.
We disconnected the exhaust rear of  the cat to see if it was clogged
somewhere (both mufflers are rotted) as this happened to a Coupe GT he had
once.  When it was running the motor was quite strong.

As a side note, it keeps blowing the fuse that runs the tach, coolant & fuel
gauges.  You can put a new one in but, here's the weird part, as soon as you
select a gear the fuse blows!

Any help would be appreciated.  Are there any tech advisors on the Digest?

Redmond, WA
2 Alfa Romeos
0 Audis, at the moment