A healthy 3/55 engine in a 780 should start in ANY weather you have in Virginia with no aid.
The very easy way is a QUICK shot of either, the early DBs actually have a screw in plug in their intake with a wick on it made for dipping in a bottle of either.
That said, the easy way is a block heater. Plug it in and an hour later you should be good to go.
The manifold heater you speak of it called a "Thermostart" It is a 12V powered diesel burner that screws into the intake manifold. This is the best way to do it. Proper install will require a new ignition switch with a "HEAT" position, some wiring, and a way to get fuel to it. The cheap and easy way to do same thing is to use a heat gun on the intake manifold before you try to start it in the cold. 2-3 minutes should be more than enough.
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