Yes, I have looked at the v8 conversions and really don't think that's the direction I want to go. I actually like the sound and character if the B20 and I really am leaning towards the mods you refer to since (warning: barely-believable comment ahead) I don't think I want all that v8 power. I'm not racing the thing, after all.Good show - looks like you plan to keep this fine ES and put a few dollars into improvements.
The B20 can be brought up to about 150-160hp with the usual mods including head work, cam, headers, exhaust, etc.
New black interior pieces are available but may require an early 401k withdrawal.
The brakes are more than adequate once brought up to OE standards.
Suspension upgrades are also shop-n-swap but be aware that hard plastic bushes and stiff shocks will make for a non-cruiser ride.
Since you will need the AC for your Texas Hill Country retirement the power steering option may be a no-go (no space available) but armstrong steering is needed only at very low speeds.
As for the suspension, I think the only modification the PO performed was a swap for the lowered springs. I may be wrong, though. So far I haven't been able to get in touch with him but I will keep trying.
The AC blows hot right now so I have to work that out. No manual was provided so more research is necessary. I hear the compressor engage when I turn the knob on the under-dash unit but the air never cools past ambient. The 'off-highway-city' knob makes no appreciable difference, either.
As for the steering, I absolutely don't want PS. I was thinking more along the lines of an unassisted rack and pinion setup. It's a car built in 1973; the steering is supposed to be heavy, IMO.
I am visiting a local auto body shop that can cut and weld the rust areas tomorrow to have them take a look.
As for the interior, well... I guess I will look at all my options. There are about a dozen local places that say they can redo the interior so that is an option, I suppose. The PO had the interior redone in CA for about $2k not long ago.
Thanks for your help, George.