I had a 1986 Sami for a couple years when I lived in NC.
It was an absolute blast. Custom winch bumper extending the front frame, Jeep YJ springs, 9" total lift, TSL 33"s, ARB air lockers w/ takeoff hose, 5.10 gears, custom skids, and a big Weber carb. The PO did most of the work, I added the lockers and compressor, lowered the gearing, and installed the bigger carb.
With the Weber carb and the lockers engaged, that sumbich would wheelie! Of course, the extra power started chewing through the drivetrain piece by piece right after I swapped the carb. The driveshaft U-joints went in two weeks, the PO's aftermarket 4.56 ring and pinions went after about 6 weeks (thus my new lockers and 5.10s), and after a few months the transmission started feeling crunchy, and I elected to sell her as-is instead of dragging her out here to AZ.
That Sami was a mud-bog beast, and I had her straddling ravines on 2 kitty-cornered wheels many times. Just an unstoppable truck! When modified appropriately, Samurais are full-on Jeep-eaters. The downside is that Jeeps will be classics some day, but you can dump $10K into a zook and still have a truck that's only worth $3500. Not a big deal if you're gonna keep it forever, although parts can be hard to find. I waited weeks on mail-order replacement parts, and I had to have the 5.10 gears custom made. Yes, that was STUPID expensive!
Some of those issues can be fixed by converting to a newer 1.6L Tracker engine and Toyota drivetrain, but those aren't cheap either.
My heart races a little bit every time I see a Sami out on the road or trail, but as much as I loved mine I'm not sure I'd get another one. A fully convertible Blazer or a Jeep CJ is going to be much less hassle to keep on the road, and the aftermarket is more robust too. They're all expensive to mod and maintain compared to our TWs, but it seems to me the "classic" 4x4s offer a stronger return on investment when it comes time to sell over the quirky ones like the Sami.
Still, there's just something about 'em! If you do get one, I'll be jealous.