A 390 is old technology. It may cost more to build to the level you are looking for, but it is period correct for the vehicle. It is heavier, unless you are real good at scrounging, but will last forever. If he has his mind set on an FE, nothing else will really take the place. People that don't know them, do not realize just how potent those motors can be.
My first love are FE's, but with prices and scarcsity, (the cobra guys are buying up everything) it is costly...if or when you can find factory HiPo parts. The good news, is the aftermarket has caught on, there are more new FE parts on the market than there have ever been in the past.
To get to the level you are shooting for, 350 to 400 hp is more realistic, without the motor getting too tempermental ... will most likely involve some head work (larger valves and pocket porting or if you are bucks up; a set of edelbrock Aluminum heads), a good 4 barrel holley manifold and RV/torque cam. Along with 10:1 compression, you should be well within the range.
The 351 should be at 300 hp stock, with head work and cam...you can pull 400 - 450 hp, without stroking. You will not need to change the transmission or any of the rest of the drive train, the 302 stuff will bolt up to the 351 without trouble.
Personal opinion; if you are looking at it from strictly a cost basis...go with the 351, stock displacement or stroker. From a satisfaction point of view...I would either go with the 390 (maybe install one of the new fairly inexpensive stroker cranks that came on the market in the last year or so, make it a 410 (390 bore with a 428 crank) or get a bigger stoker kit, kick it to 444+) or swap in 460. You will have to change everything from the driveshaft forward anyway. There is something about FE's that just won't die
[ This Message was edited by: Beoweolf on 10/5/03 11:08pm ]