Well the common sense approach paid off. Went out today rubbernecking and came upon a farm that had lots of hay piled up and it looked like half a dozen haybines mothballed and worn out sitting in the pasture. Figured this ought to be the place.
The gent came out to meet me, told him my story and that I really wanted a NH 404........he said I have one of those. Showed it to me, said he'd take $300.
Looking at it, all it needed was a spring for the roller locks, a new drive chain and some air in a very usable looking tire. I handed him $300 and that was that. Drive home was about 15 miles.
Walla, can't beat a deal like that.