any no-run situation may have very simple, easy to find and cheap to fix solutions. Yet, even on this list there are stories about very reluctant non-runners - just check Max’ saga: today he is happy camper, but it took him quite some stamina and time to get there. So I guess this should be your turning point: do you have space to store the car and work on it regularly to have a plan B for a resisting non-runner - maybe up to buying a donor car with an engine to transplant.
Even if any SIII needs attention to all fluids, hoses and wear-and-tear items, as Doug writes, it’s a lot easier to listen to the car while you use it and satisfy its needs accordingly. Hence the markup in price for runners.
I’d always tend to buy a car that has been kept similar to my own habits: no trailer queen or show car, but fully functional and reliable, with reasonable mileage (anything under 80.000 will leave you many years until you run into head gasket issues) and maintenance, garaged and kept away from salt, waxoyled or similar, regular and serious drives, no drive-to-church car (except when the church is 20 mls away;-)
Buying dead cars risks to get you into shipwright’s disease and a full restoration endeavour. Fine, if that is your retirement project, but problematic, if you have to devote your time to your professional activities or the family, whatever …
At the bottom line, however - if you’ve got such a massive supply around: I’d go for the very best body and interior. A 40k mileage shows (not only on the odometer). Clean body (rear quarter panels and valance easy to be replaced, check out sills and wheelarches … rust often hidden under chrome finishers; windscreen corner rust!!), good and original paint, good and supple leather, good veneer) is what you’re searching for. Non-functional power locks and windows will lower the price, but are easy to fix.
The mechanics of the car are massive. On a low mileage car you can hope for good bushings and shocks even after 40 years. Easy to do with the right tools, patience and a lift.
The worst case scenario is a combination of fuel tank/pump issues, FI issues and bent valves … so If you’re ready for plan B (buying a rusty runner to transplant the engine) there’s nothing to object against buying a dead car.
75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)