I'm a newbie here but not new to Jeeps. Eons ago (20 years) I owned a CJ5 and loved it! Most recently I've owned a 99 Cherokee and currently I own a 05 Grand Cherokee. I love the classic cars and of course that includes the older jeeps. I also have a 71 Chevelle but find I'm not driving it in the summer as much and would get more use out of a CJ5.
So I'm looking to buy a CJ5 and from what I have researched I've narrowed it down to a 78-79 year model. Correct me please if I'm wrong but I read that from 78 on they were a little wider? Not sure if I'm correct on that but there was some important reason that I focused on it being at least a 78 on up year model.
I do like the CJ5's shorter wheel base also so I've ruled out the CJ7's.
I'd like it to be a summer cruiser but also use it for crawling around on Northern Michigan sand dunes.
Is there anything specific I should look for as far as things like;
What is the best engine in your opinion?
How much "lift" is good and how much is too much?
Any peticular suspension I should look for?
Is original better than fiberglass? Or does it matter?
I think I'm basically looking for something that has been restored. I've seen some gorgeous CJ5's out there for sale but really want to know what I'm looking at before taking the plunge. I'm also wondering is there a certain price range I can expect to pay for a restored CJ5? I don't need one with a ton of mods but one that runs excellent, looks nice and serves it's purpose. When I envision one it looks sort of like this. (Note this is NOT mine and I don't know the seller, just posting it to give you an example of what I'm looking for). Does the price of this one seem reasonable? http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/cto/4004792972.html
I want a winch on mine as well. Other stuff like roll bar lights, etc., I could add myself if I had to have them.
Thanks in advance for any advice you all might have.