As for what I'm doing with the car...it's going to be my summer fun car. Basically I'll participate in some cruises and shows with it, and drive it around for enjoyment and make other people envious
It will not be my daily driver. From the Mustangs at car shows I've seen in central Iowa, mine, as I'm restoring it now, looks to be nicer than about 75% of them I'd say, but nothing here is remotely close to concours quality and neither is mine.
Regarding performance...horsepower is always fun to brag about, and I'd like to optimize that for what's realistic for my budget (~$3000, give or take) but I'm most concerned about maximizing low end torque in the 2500 rpm range. I want to have fast acceleration, but comfortable cruising at highway speeds. Maximum RPM will probably be around 5000-5500.
I really didn't have a roller cam in the plan because the art of the valve train is quite intimidating to me, and switching to a roller cam makes everything more complex pretty quick.
My initial plan with the 289 was the Weiand intake, Performer 289 cam (because it's a cookie cutter cam and hard to go wrong), Comp Magnum roller rockers, a Holley 600 cfm carb (it's the carb that was on the previous 289. I haven't looked closely enough to know which one it is yet, but I'm presuming it's probably a 600 cfm), HEI distributer conversion (this is only preliminary...I haven't researched much about ignition at this point), headers, and 2.5" dual exhaust with cross over and high flow mufflers (exhaust isn't factored into engine budget).
I'll keep the stock heads and do some minor porting and use a thin head gasket. The engine will be balanced, and I'll probably be running cast hyper Badger pistons.
To get a little more zip on the acceleration I was going to raise the ratios of the first two gears during the transmission rebuild but will keep the rear end the same (my rudimentary understanding of this would lend me to believe that this would cause the car to cruise at a higher rpm in 3rd gear, which would kill mileage and wear the engine faster?).
The engine block itself will be a remanufactured long block from Hiperformer
. They seem to have the lowest industry failure rate and have a 100,000 mile/7 year warranty. I can drop ship them my valvetrain component upgrades and they'll install them there. The nice thing about this is regardless of the fact that they're building a higher performance block than the stock blocks they build, it still maintains the same warranty.
A balanced 289 block with my parts installed will cost about $1900 shipped. There is absolutely no way I can buy a block, machine it, and put all new internals in myself for this price. Likewise I could order a 302 and the price would probably be about the same.
The point here is I have that option. But if I were to switch to a 302, how does that change my plans for the current configuration I was going with...if it changes them at all?