Very well put. I can relate, my ‘78 was not running when I purchased it. Purrs nowWell, mine was a good 'ol NA truck made in, um, Japan?
Bought it from a dealer who specialize in trucks, like newer trucks, but somehow thought this was some kinda classic that would demand a good price.
And the dealer paid some "mechanic" thousands of dollars (according to the sale manager) to restore it. I think the bulk of that work was spray painting the chassis, frame, axles, brake lines, shocks, dirt on the frame, skid plate, oil filter, fuel lines.. (I think you see were this is going).
Fortunately for me, that "mechanic" couldn't set the timing right, or get the carb tuned. So, it ran, sort of, but wasn't creating enough vacuum for the power brakes... (scared the s*** out of the sales guy apparently, who just wanted it gone off the lot).
It did have front disks and power steering conversion. A roll cage (held down with carriage bolts), very little actual rust and was kinda straight.
(Hard top was held on with pickup canopy clamps, BTW.)
I'm no purist, so the idea that the wheel well and back edge of the tub are about 8 gauge steel were bonuses in my book!!!
I just wish they'd have bought a new steel tank instead of plastic and plumbed the venting right, and not used bed liner on the interior... (among other things).
These were trucks. We love them due to the utilitarian design, but this also means people who needed to do work used them. And did so world wide.
IF YOU ARE PAYING FOR SOMETHING RESTORED, find out who restored it, what experience they have and what other work they've done. Otherwise, ignore the idea of it ever being restored and just evaluate on current condition.
I compared mine to a dozen other half complete projects that on craigslist at the time and decided on it because I could drive it home (in theory, I still brought a trailer, but I could drive it up the trailer which beats winching it).