Well Oppo, I did it. I bought a tiny manual 4x4 to hoon in the woods and various dirt roads in rural Indiana.
1993 Geo Tracker 4x4 5 speed with the 1.6L. It has 176K miles on it but as far as I can tell only a leaky valve cover gasket and power steering fluid reservoir. I have driven it ~100mi already and it is freaking amazing (Except for the bra. I always prefer everything bra-less). The aftermarket hard top is actually pretty great but awkward to take on and off (I will probably only be using it in the winter). The steering is a little loose, probably due to the fact the 33" tires have been adding a little extra moment than the stock tires would have. It has a body lift to fir the meats so the suspension geometry remains intact.
I have replacement parts ordered to fix the leaks and super excited to start wrenching on it this weekend.
Future plans are longer travel suspension system, roll cage and maybe a custom turbo system of my design and/or engine swap.
TLDR: I am freaking excited to have a cheap fun running project I can drive anywhere.