The hemi's are cool. Back in the day hotrods used mostly caddy and ford engines. Hemis didnt come out until later and werent really fast until the mid 60's. i think there is more cool factor than the hemi. an original 1940 caddy v8 and hilborn style injection would be more cool factor for me.
More Cool factor than hemi:
40 caddy motor.
Chevy 50's vette motor with mech. injection
501 caddy motor.
good old 350 with little pep
the actual engine that came in the car
Rocket 88 (very cool and popular build back in the day)
Any straight 8 engine
Any flat head v8
any LS engine that will last and let you drive the car like you stole it!
Hemi engines were always expensive. That is why no one ever used them in there hotrods. If you see an old hotrod with a hemi it was built in the 70's to present not the 50's. Sorry but true.
That being said here are some great engines. some are hemis but some that look like hemis are not.
15 of the Best Hot Rod Engines at LA Roadster Show | MyRideisMe.com