I had a thread last month about switching out heads on my 327 to some AFRís for more power. While my motor is out I have been throwing around all kinds of ideas. Including a new crate motor. So I found West Coast engines and they build a 465 hp 383 for 4500 bucks (they have different stages and hp 383ís you can buy and list all the parts they use. All name brand stuff). They have lots of good reviews. Iíve never had a 383 and was curious how well itíd work with a Muncie 4 speed and posi 3.73 gears in the stock rear end? Too much power? Undrivable? Too much fun? Go for it? Keep the 327? Etc.
Iím up at 1:30 am in Amsterdam on a trip right now and canít sleep!
383s IMHO work great. I think both builders are decent values unless you have great choices near you that are proven. I live in the middle of no where so we ran a BP based on some friends outcomes and a good black friday deal. 1st be sure that you know what you are getting. I think either company will tell you honestly what you are getting. We went with a 396 SBC (essentially a 383) but the specs on it were higher than the basic 383. Dyno showed 529 at the crank. Cam specs and conversations suggest about 12-13" vacuum at 1000rpm. That's what it ended up. It sounds rediculous when at idle with the big roller cam. It's been a good motor overall. Huge power from about 2200rpm up and plenty of torque to cruise around at 1300rpm. We have a TKO600 5spd an wanted this to be an old school hotrod that I drive pretty often. It's done all of that and BP has been helpful on questions etc. Nothing is perfect and we did readjust valves and checked some things out. I would do this with anything. It runs on Super, and you have to get the timing right. the regular 383 isn't quite as far along and i know people who have been pleased with it too.
I didn't go with a GM crate just because I wanted a more radical motor and with the kind of mileage that is really put on my car, I didn't feel like the GM motor potential long term reliability advantage (maybe/maybe not) was going to be an advantage. Just not enough miles per year to justify.
FWIW, on the LS front. They are awesome, but not for everyone. They have their own special considerations. Again, for me I didn't want an LS here with the install challenges, different idle style and more power beyond the 500 or mpg wasn't that important for this car. We've broke plenty of parts... how much traction will determine what you'll break. With smaller tires, we destroyed the stock reared pretty quick. Eventually, mini tubbed, put big Hoosier cheaters on it and a 9" with 4 bar & coil overs. Twisted the cross member on the 4 bar pretty easily and reconstructed a custom beefed up cross member. Traction will find the weakest link especially on a manual.
I do have and LS in my 71 Camaro which sees more miles and daily driving type action.