Which is why I think a 540 cid is a good start with a BBC engine's displacement. May not make as much peak horsepower as a 355 twisting to 8,200 RPM but it makes a lot more torque averaging over 650 foot pounds of torque from 2,800 RPM to 5,800 RPM with a peak torque of 707 lbs./ft. with a peak horsepower number of 736 horsepower at 6,300 RPM. It is torque that accelerates a car not horsepower. (it is also torque that breaks parts as it is an example of what happens when you apply an unstopable force against an immovable object; things like transmissions, universal joints and rear ends often suffer the consequences).
Chase isn't looking for peak numbers other than bettering the original factory numbers by about 25% to 30%. I think this is a realistic goal, and it preserves his family heirloom as well as getting a rare motor for when he pops the hood at car shows. The original intake for the 4GC four barrel carb is no better on the W engine than it did on the 327. The higher horse engines ran one or two Carter AFB four barrels on a different manifold. I would recommend a 600 to 650 cfm Holley on an Edelbrock (I was going to suggest an Offenhauser manifold but they only seem to come over carburetored with two fours or six two barrels).
www.show-cars.com - Edelbrock 1x4 small port aluminum intake manifold in Edelbrock Intake Manifold 24.030
That and a mild hydraulic cam, head work, headers and I think he will hit his mark with a motor that will be a pleasure to drive.
I can take a motor from mild to wild. I built hundreds for used car lots out of scrap metal I pulled off a ship headed for Korea or Japan. I have built race winning race car engines to compete in a lot of different race types from USAC to NASCAR to NHRA or IHRA (with my own personal car running on the national record in drag racing) not to mention a couple of Ford and John Deere antique tractor rebuilds. The only motor to kick my but was an Evinrude four cylinder out board engine I never could get running.
I think Chase is just looking for reassurance as he has most of the parts he needs now. I was just pointing out if he wants more power the 348 isn't the path to take unless it is a destroked SBC 400 running Small Block 2.2 12 degree NASCASR heads on alcohol then 800 horse is about the lowest power level he would get
[The old NASCAR joke was ... "Do you know how to get 750 horsepower out of a SBC 2.2 engine? Pull off a spark plug wire!"].
There are engines that have their fans from Olds to Ponchos to the Hemi from Chrysler. Every engine has it's own characteristics as they have different heads and bore and strokes to favor torque or horsepower. Believe it or not the SBC isn't the most powerful motor around, it is the cheapest to build which is why it is so popular. It yields the most bang for the buck. I have been building engines fo over a half century, and I even got an engineering degree while doing it. So I am familiar with just about everything from theory to machining to building a motor. But lets us not scare him off with too much too soon.