Why do you like the f1.4 more? From what I've read, the 1.8 is sharper, has less distortion, and cheaper.
In what way does it not match up with pre-AI lenses? I'm not entirely familiar with Nikon's lens history. And I have zero interest in flash, in fact I'd put the FE2 under the category of having too many features I'll never need.
I like the f/1.4 over the f/1.8 for the extra speed. It's there when you need it that way. It was at f/2 most of the time indoors for me, but it was nice to have that extra there when I needed it.
As to the pre-AI, I've never had one.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.