I may have been premature in my assessment of the motor. I started it up again on Tuesday morning and it sounded much better, so I went ahead and fixed my heater tube leak (I killed an o-ring trying to re-use it) and then drove the car to work and back (~75 miles) yesterday with no major issues.
This morning, after re-reading the replies, I fired it up again and listened closely from the driver'* seat. I think there is a bit of bottom-end rumble when it first starts, then it goes away. I'll check again when I have the opportunity to have my ear in the engine compartment at start-up.
Otherwise, I'm tickled pink with the car!
Sure, there are some issues, but hey, it'* twelve years old. It gives me the opportunity to research more older posts on things like A/C, Brakes and check engine lights...
Bottom line: I'll probably drive it as-is and let the yard off the hook. By the time this motor croaks I'll know if I'm in love of if it is just infatuation.