78-79 are good candidates for installing lifts and using offroad, since they have a solid front axle from the factory. One issue with them is due to their age finding one with a decent body in your price range might be tough and you're going to hate the fuel economy of the carb'd V8 unless you drive REALLY nicely or swap in a newer EFI engine.
All the newer ones are fairly similar - TTB front axle, post 86 will be EFI. Shouldn't be too hard to find a decent one from the early 90's in OK shape in your price range.
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