I have an '84 Camaro that was being set up by the previous owner for drag racing. I am considering dropping in a 454 and an appropriate transmission out of a junkyard or on Craigslist for cheap thrills. The car presently has a Powerglide transmission. Factory-stock engine should be just fine just to keep the fun/dollar ratio high.
What I am interested in finding out is what year motors are worth looking for in terms of power and reliability, and which should be avoided altogether. A quick search on the local Craigslist shows a large number of 454 engines and matching transmissions out of mid to late 80's vehicles (trucks, most likely) going for between $600 to $1500 for everything. Some are rebuilt and others are "low-mileage". While the prices look attractive, would they be worth the investment?
Also, would a Powerglide (probably stock) hold up behind a 454, or should I ditch for a beefed-up TH-350/400?
Thanks in advance!