Curious as to how this worked out...
1) I own a Pearson 32. My research showed that they were the BMW of boats back in the day - not as fast as a Porche, but more well-rounded with comfortable performance. Mine is a 1982. The older the Pearson, likely the better the boat (obviously, depending on owners and maintenance), because Grumman bought the company and had decent quality control standards until they sold in 1986.
2) I sail/race on SF Bay. Compared to modern boats, my light wind performance seems better. In ~25kts I have to fight the helm off the wind as the main is overpowering my jib - but I have a 90% high cut jib, so with a larger jib I'd expect more balance. So she can sail close to the wind, but not fast in high winds compared to those I race against.
3) If you didn't buy this boat, and I hope you didn't given that the owner had no pride of care
, then there are a number of boats from that era which are well built and worth a look. Keep in mind you're buying the owner as well as the boat, and get to know both. This book helped me a lot:
Your First Boat, by Pascoe
I'd say Tartan and C&C, would be quality if maintained.