Originally Posted by hcompton
Assumeing ford 302. Ford 302s are famous for ppl putting lots of money into them and getting 240 hp back in the end. You will want clear goals and budget.
Best to search out a good build with dyno results and copy that success if at all possible.
What year, car, race or street and goals.
I don't know where you're coming up with 240hp but they're pretty much just as capable as a sbc 302, they do have some weaknesses, but also have some better design aspects.
For a Ford "302" I'd start with a 5.0L HO engine, and do a cam, heads, and headers upgrade. Stock Ford heads really aren't that good, but the aftermarket ones are more than capable- as a trade off some of the stock HO short blocks are VERY durable and they can handle 400-500hp is bone stock form. The stock intake also isn't too shabby and they come with EDIS and MPFI on most applications- two great things to start with. Also have a slightly better valvetrain than sbc's. Unfortunately parts cost a little more than for a 350, you're starting with less displacement, you have a shorter deck (limits displacement), and the blocks can crack if you rev too high (a 6500 rpm redline would be pretty safe though). You can also get a good WC T5 to start with and upgrade as needed for a cheap transmission option.
If I didn't already have my chevy 302 combo I'd be VERY tempted to go the Ford route instead. (or LS which is better than both of them)