I ride more or less this bicycle (1980s Raleigh, nothing special, but same problems from the dimensional point of view). I cold-bent the forks (eventually) with an improvised jig---before then I just sprung them open when changing the wheel with a wooden wedge---and swapped the front caliper for a spare rear caliper I was given at the local (2nd-hand) bike shop. (Rear calipers often have longer reach.) The bike rides fine for what it is, maintenance is easier since I can use modern cassettes, tires/tubes are cheaper.
Check your brake reach before you go this way.
Obviously if you care about preserving the bike you should think hard before substituting anything. If you're just out to ride it I've seen plenty of older road bikes adapted for modern wheels in English university cities. Get someone to do the bending if you're not comfortable with it, or go slowly. (Cold bending like this is hard, because you have to get the tubing beyond its elastic limit, but then in yield it... well, yields, i.e. doesn't require any increase in force to keep moving. Levers help. Expect to overshoot on one side slightly and adjust. Steel is quite forgiving if you're gentle.)