Part of my challenge here is passing the wife test from an outlay perspective as we're looking to have no payments as we ramp up for saving for a new house... So I think no matter what I'm looking at an 00-02 since the 03+ cost jumps significantly and I'm a cash buyer. If the 4 speed proves unbearable I will look to "trade up" before I get too deep into modding the truck, but its a lot easier to make the case with a slow truck in hand.
It's funny how varied the pricing is on these trucks.
Luckily also don't have to commute in the truck, so gas mileage isn't really a big concern. If I can somehow scare up a TRD supercharger or figure out a turbo kit, even with the 4 speed, that + gears will probably keep me happy.