So after 5 or 6 months of furiously searching, I've found my newest project. I checked online ads from dozens of different sites for up to and over an hour a day. And some still call me lucky. Sometimes I am, but usually it's just hard friggin' work to score the deals I do.
Like this '72 J4000. I went round and round with the seller via email for several weeks and had to sit nervously on my hands without a phone number or address while other potential buyers who made contact before me came to check it out. Thankfully the 80-something year old seller was no pushover and rebuffed their lowball offers. Once it was my turn, I was up there with the full $2,250 asking price in cash and didn't quibble over the minor stuff.
It had a 360 with a swapped Holley two-barrel, rebuilt TH400, smooth Dana 20, and twin Dana 44s with 4.09 gears. My "J4500" 1/2-ton doesn't have the cool semi-float five-lug Dana 60 of the "J4600" or the eight lug floater Dana 60 of the "J4800" and the front is closed-knuckle. But the thing runs and stops like honey, has factory A/C, is largely unmolested with just over 85,000 miles.
I think I did we'll. luck? Nope. But sometimes hard work and persistence trumps luck.