Kudos on your purchase. Joe beat me to the punch; definitely consider the -4L.
While the SBC doesn't have the looks of the bigger motors, your decision is certainly not a new one. There are quite a few reasons the SBC is a favorite street rod engine. You can certainly make it look similar to something from the late 50s if you so desire. Do yourself a favor; lots of pictures of your progress and consider a project journal here if you haven't done so already. This is a project that deserves to be properly documented and enjoyed.