man am i jealous. a 55 with 454LS6 for your first build. stuff that dreams are made of. have you ever taken a v8 apart?
i believe they are easy to rebuild for the common man with common tools. do you have any freinds who have built and started their engines ? maybe they could help you drink the beer it will take to get the job done.
you can do it. keep the work area very clean.