Time to start thinking about a new rig and I am in the paper planning stages of it but unsure of what to get. I have a couple of options to go with and each has its pluses and minuses/ head vs. heart arguments. It will be coil sprung (or coil over) so no leaf springs, 4 cyl diesel transplant and smaller than the 60 in wheelbase and length (tired of dragging and bumping on everything), and be a 4 seater.
1) First gen 4Runner, head argument. Everything is available for it. Relatively available, pretty tough and electrically simple so a diesel swap will be very easy. The right size. Downside is that its only a 2 door and will require a SAS but kits are everywhere. Resale will be okay.
2) First gen Trooper, underdog argument. Not as strong in the aftermarket. 4 doors and tons of room. Timeless box design and very tough. Parts will eventually be an issue as more Isuzus fade from the world. Very cheap to get a hold of for less than a grand in good condition. Will require a SAS and that will have to be custom. Electrically simple making diesel swap easy. Resale will suck.
3) Land Rover S3 109, heart argument. Can get a Designa chassis allowing coil conversion with off the shelf D1/ RRC/ Defender kits. Longer in wheelbase but same overall length as the first two options. Will require a good amount of work to make comfortable (because they are anything but). Really thinking about it only because I am an LR guy that abandoned them because they, well, suck. Thats okay, I can admit it. Huge aftermarket but not an ideal vehicle. Retrofitting AC will be a pain. Resale will be iffy. Oh, and since the fiance/ future wife will be in it and eventually a kid, lack of things like side impact protection, etc... are a concern (a cage will fix that but still not ideal).
4) Willys Wagon, wild card. same size as the Trooper and T4R but only a 2 door. An LJ frame slides right underneath it requiring only a couple of body mount outriggers to be changed. LJ means Jeep aftermarket. Will require a TON of work as things like sheetmetal just arent available. Possibly more work than is worth it. Modern things like AC and heat/ demist will require a complete, from scratch firewall rebuild to fit. My welding skills will jump up but I will have to spend so much time working on it that I might get frustrated with all the garage time and no wheeling time. Resale will be iffy. Again, lack of safety features is a problem.
What do you think? The T4R is the smart option in terms of quickness with which I can get everything together. The Trooper will take a little more time and effort. The S3 will be a lot of work but no where near as much as the Willys would.