Hey Vintage, glad to see another "northwoods wisconsin" rodder here on HR.Com.
You point out an interesting option for the "budget" minded builder. While I have yet to find a Ranger independent I-Beam front suspension that looks right, the early F-150's (up to 1979) look somewhat traditional (especially head on) in my opinion. They are not as easy as a straight axle in terms of mounting and geometry, but once they are set up the ride is superior to the straight axle. I am using these IFS systems in both my '32 pickup (full fendered) and in my '32 roadster (fenderless). You can see how they were built and how they look finished by browsing through my journal.