That was a funny and informative post.
Judging by your post,I seem to fall into the category of not being a cheap bastage and don't have serious money to throw around,so the second choice seems perfect.Your recommendation appears to be a brand I looked up called Craftec.
It looks like the one to get.
I'm in the cheapest bastard, I have one that someone else made!
I have see the $400ish one on someone else's El Camino at a show, and they seem nice. Very light, not sure how weather proof. Mine (like the 1st choice) is very waterproof except at the back window. Mine had a cover on it when my dad got it in 1997, with the turn connectors at the front, and snaps all the way around with the 2 bows in the middle. We re-used the connectors at the front, by the back window since they were already there. I don't like the latch system on the Craftec one, (at least on the 64-67 ones). Mine has a key lock at each back corner, that grabs tabs under the cover. And since it overhangs the top of the tailgate, it is basically a locked trunk. In the way of "Keeps honest people honest" like most locks. And if someone did tear into it, it wouldn't hurt the Bed, just the cover attachments.
I have contacted Craftec in the past, asking if they could make a blue one, no luck.
The only downside to mine is that it is a bit heavy, and unless you get real creative with padding, is a 2 person (even 2 kids) job to put on or take off (but simple to open and close)because of the size, not weight.