I'll be riding by Wintergreen on the BRP this week on my way to Overland East- but I'll be on the bike.
Another time perhaps? There seems to be a number of rover events in the VA area. Not so much around me, although the Mid-atlantic Overland fest is held not too far away.
So far as the 1.4 is concerned, I really like it for my use, which is as a daily driver on and around my home in the mountain and valley area of south central PA. I didn't find a lot of firsthand accounts when doing my research on the 1.4 swap, but there are plenty of opinions. My experience has been that, if it's just me and the dog and my lady and light gear and a light trailer (less than 1000lbs gross), it's great. 1st gear is useable for more than 20 feet, and the 15% increase in gearing keeps the engine rpms in the sweet spot for American road speed limits. Comfortable cruising speed is around 65 with 75 achievable on a good downhill on a calm day
That said, when the truck is loaded heavy or when towing a medium weight trailer (1000lbs-2000lbs gross) the N/A 2.5 just doesn't have the guts. No surprises there. Fortunately for me, I'm a lightweight traveller.
The 1.6 is a good case, but it definitely affirms the idea that these old diesels drive more like tractors. With the 1.4, the power and gear splits aren't changed of course, but the overall driving experience is more "lively" or "spirited" if I can use those terms without being ridiculed...