Ok, late night, Hutch can't sleep 'cuz of ruptured disc pain rant.
1) I want to copy your color scheme cuz it looks very cool. A fine looking machine sir.
2 No more "Jeep (rather CJ) wave".
3) Value will likely only increase.
4) Long winters for wrenching up there. But I do like those spare toilet paper covers you've said you always wanted to learn how to knit. (sarcasm)
5) As lucdog said, 2k for a mid-line lift???? And mucho more work installing.
6) Didn't somebody offer you a 304? FREE!
7) We are really just custodians of these classics.
8) I REALLY wish I kept my NT axles!
9) Tear it down and do it the way that would make you happiest. V8, stick etc..w/o a timeline, but a progressive, measurable and realistic timeline.
10) Air pressure sensor lights that NEVER go out!
I went through the same thing w/Brit cars @ 16-18, before my CJ.
Sonny Barger, founder of the "Hells Angels" was quoted in his book, IIRC..."With all the miles we do, the way some dealers treat us, we should be riding BMWs". "But there's just something that people dig about that V-Twin sound that chicks dig!". So there's your cover for a newer jeep!
Sometimes when I'm on a Harley going down a back road, I wonder about a guy on basically the same machine riding along ....just like me. I feel a connection to those old guys and the same sounding Machine. Was he a WW2 vet returning home after 4 years away. A guy thinking about the engagement ring in his pocket, and that honey at the end of this road.
When I'm creeping along a trail in my CJ, rutted up by wagons eons ago, I imagine a GI getting a load of ammo "to the front" in practically the same basic buggy. Or maybe a trapper or syrup gatherer in the '50s? Did a father & son drive a Willys wagon over this power line on their 1st hunt? A young man looking for solitude while he opened the letter from the draft board?
Harley and CJs just have soul. And infinitely rebuildable too. I can change the speedo cluster, but 25 years from now rewiring a new jeep dash? Peshaw! Maybe soul comes from memories that YOU make in a vehicle that belongs to YOU! Are the locking hubs and balky T-case lever part of a ritual, not to be replaced by the turn of a knob? Not a lot of changes to the untrained eye. The simplicity is the beauty.....and the beast.
Good luck in your decision. One I wouldn't want to make. Keep in mind, even Ron Jeremy has a bad day too!
On the bright side, your keeping it in the family, 4wd vehicle wise.
At least we won't be seeing you on that new show "Quear Eye for the Toyota FJ Guy" NTTIAWWT
Sorry to ramble on. I know it didn't make a lot of sense, but I tried to convey a sense of Nostalgia that I've found in owning my '79 since '84. I likely failed and made myself a fool again. If you do understand it, I can give you my Therapist and Analysts' phone numbers! Just don't tell them I referred you