If it is a show car I might consider a BBC, or if looking to run deep into the single digits in the quarter mile. Otherwise it is too much weight for little if any payback.
For a street car I would do a LS variant with an overdrive transmission. NOT a true LS1 or LS6 huge price premium on those
Knowledge is a great replacement for displacement. I have mopped up cars with bigger much more expensive engines in trailered cars with my true street car that had thoughtfully selected quality parts vs. just the ones that sounded good.
A 6.0l LS truck engine with decent heads/cam and a 4L60E in a true street car will run fast enough at the strip to need a rollbar( 11.5). Overdrive transmission will get you a deeper first gear and overdrive plus lockup so you can run a decent higher stall converter, and likely be friendlier to drive than what you have now. Even a few mods on a 5.3l like headers and tune will have it performing better and driving better than what you have.
i second this completely!!
I'm after a nice street motor with low end grunt. Somewhere between 400 and 500hp, enough to have fun but not to expensive to build. I am considering the LS, but think the BBC will look right in the car. I'm pricing out the options, and to be honest I was surprised how much a 383 was going to be. With the LS the parts to get it into the car add up quickly, and with the LS being so popular they sell pretty quick and the prices are climbing.
No doubt the BBC will be heavy, but they do make alot of torque and the car is not likely to win any autocrosses any time soon. Also the car isn't going to be a daily, so for simplicity regardless of what I do for a motor I intend to keep the TH400 and 12bolt, when funds allow I plan to go with a gear vendors.
If I do an LS I plan on swapping out the EFI because I don't want to mess with computers, for my fun car I plan on sticking with the KISS principle. I'm planning on taking the car out to shot some pics so I'll post something soon.
templa honestly the ls isnt expensive to built specially at the 400-500 hp level. we just finished up my brothers mustang with a 5.3 swap that the entire swap was cheaper to do than rebuilt a 4.6 5.0 mod motor. now with that said. we put a big cam in it.
We installed a cam, dual valve springs, new lifters (stock heads) mls head gaskets new head bolts a set of headers with all stock truck accessories. th400 and stock 8.8 diff. still finishing up the tune. but so far it made 455 to the tire at 5200 rpm and its still not done... it will easily make 510-525ish when its finished
my car setup is looking to push 800 on a stock bottom end 4.8
it was physically cheaper to swap the ls put the turbo on with the fabrication and parts for the turbo and the turbo itself, harnesses, bigger injectors, throttle body, cam, valve springs, trunnion kit, pushrods, arp head bolts, etc.. then it was to have a 355 built to make 700+ hp. i have around 5k if that!! In the entire setup including the cost of the engine.
For me the ls was a no brain'er just based on ease of donor engines/junk yard parts avail.
Machine shops around here wanted 35-$4500 just to build a 355-383 or even a 400 sbc short block.. then you need another $1500 in cylinder heads. not including price for rockers, valve train, cam, all the tin, intake, carb... your talking close to $10k and it isn't even fired up yet.
my advise to you is don't look at is a band wagon ls way... look at is as the SAE way.. you chose the ls because "this this and this".. not because everyone else did it..
That's how i look at it...
You can even dress the ls engine up to make it use old school sbc valve covers. An Holley makes an efi system that is self learning even runs the fans and ac .. it completely doable
But best of luck to you in what ever you choose. Did you ever get some pic's of the car by chance?