THE CJ-7 and heres why.
As a driver: the 82 to 86 CJs offer the best refinements in the CJ line. Sure, the transmissions aren't the strongest, but they have swaybars, wider rear frame, more spring choices, roll bars, hardtop and hard doors, wider axles and more stability, automatics if you want that, more comforts, etc.
The pre 76 CJs have shorter / narrower springs, lots of body roll / usally no sway bar, mainly soft top only, low back seat, lap belt only (if any), and so on. They drive like a farm tractor compared to the later CJs
Cost to restore: Your body is shot, YJ tubs are easy to find and easy to convert. Parts are way easier to find for the 76 on CJ. 1971 back was the short nose and limited engine choices.
Don't get me wrong, I love all the older Jeeps, but IF I had to pick one, It would be ANY post 82 CJ.
1975 CJ-6 1983 CJ-8
1986 CJ-7 Laredo 1986 TJ-7 Trail Jeep
2003 Inca Gold TJ Rubicon