Depending on what you use it for, you can build a small block for a lot cheaper than you think, if you are going to wind it up all the time you will want to spend a little more money so it won't come apart.
I was just crunching some numbers and my 383 with:
Eagle rotating assembly
$350 in machining
Speed pro pistons
New HO heads completely rebuilt
polished weiand intake, polished valve covers,
Timing Gear Drive
Comp XE268H cam
Roller tip rockers
Brand new everything else, granted I don't have the distributor, plug wires, and carb yet but all the stuff above put together has cost me around 2100 bucks. As long as you are smart and shop around there is no reason you cant have a strong small block for less than 2500. You have to do the work yourself though and sometimes that takes research.
Different is nice, but you gotta have bang for your buck. How about a 397 or 434 small block. That will add about 1,000 to your build but those are definately different.
Last edited by Double_v23; 01-11-2008 at 07:19 AM.