starter motor works perfectly, but the starter clutch only catches occasionally. it's got 9k miles on it and has been sitting for who knows how many years so that the question arises: Is this something that will come back to life with usage or do I really have to fix this? Really?
no, it won't get better on it's own. The screws that hold the cover that holds the one-way clutch rollers and their tiny springs in place may have backed out - and that may have let one or more of the rollers and springs loose to rattle around on their own. It's not a hard fix - just pop off the stator and there you are.