I've finallly managed to replace the Merc. My new car's a 1987 Chevy Celebrity, and I absolutely LOVE how simple this car is, no power options, no acessories, and no problem getting to any thing that could possibley go wrong with it.
It's even got quite a few MPG friendly features, a fairly high gear ratio (about vrmmm at 60) No excessive horsepower (top speed 90 vs 130 in the merc.) electric fan, and a super simple fuel injection system (one injector)
Future modifications include the standard underbelly beneath the engine, but this one's also going to get all the lights ( front and read domes, lighted rearview mirrors, map lights front and rear, since the headliner is sagging anyways, if I'm going to be removing it replacing it, I may as well upgrade a little.