A fellow calgarian, welcome, there are lots of good sb crate motors to choice from and with the canadian dollar getting stonger they are far more reasonable. Can you tell us a little more about the application and goals you want from an engine?
How much are you willing to spend on this motor? 250 hp is good for a cruiser, but in a heavy car like the 65 Chevelle, you will probably get bored with the performance after a while. You can get 350 hp for a great price with 350 crate engines from Edelbrock or GM Performance parts, plus they are assembled, tested and warrantied. This will save you grief from chasing parts as well as saving a lot of time building the motor. Also, a 350hp car will be a blast to drive and leave you with a big grin after mashing the throttle. Honestly, if you are buying a completely new engine, you will not have to spend much more for a 350hp 350 than you would on a 250hp one. However, if you want to start making 400 hp or more, the price really goes up because you start seeing roller cams, better heads, and other $$$$ parts. Getting 350hp is possible with conventional, production style components, and this usually translates into a lower cost. The bottom line, you will get what you pay for, so evaluate your budget before deciding.
Low to mid 300 HP will do you fine if you want to stay in that price range...however if you eventually want more power you'll be shelling out the money at a later date. Think about spending a little more money for a little more power now.
Nice to see a few more Alberta members on the board.
Since it doesn't sound like you want big power, just reliable cruiser mill. Look into local guys. I'm positive if you lookaround Calgary you will find somebody who will build a engine for around $1500. If not check these guys out, I know a few people who have used these guys, and had great luck. http://www.canadaengines.com/
Or go to NAPA, I know they deal with a company out of Edmonton that does new engines at a real good price, I just cannot remember the name. A buddy just had a new 350 built there, nothing special, for $1200 with his old core.
Really 250-300 HP is not very hard to get. Another option would be to look around the buysell in Calgary, I personally have bought 2 of my race motors out of there, they were both built at Guyons (which I heard is now shut down).
For what you want you should not have to spend anywhere near $4k
Hey, I too am from Calgary and doing the research on motors. I was looking at the ZZ4 crate from chev - good package but big dollars. Talked to Davenport yesterday. they sound like they have some good packages and a bit cheaper than GM. Mopac also sells built motors as does Unlimited Performance.
I am curious to hear other people's experiences with these guys. Good... Bad... Ugly...?
I bought a new 283 from them for a very good price. They'll do it like you want it (within reason), mine has 305 Vortec heads and a very mild 240H Comp Cam. Runs really well too, but only time will tell in the end (it only has about 200 miles on it so far). They offer a 7 year warranty and claim to have a warranty claim rate of 1.4%!
I had to ship all the way to Germany, for you shipping would be no big deal (they're in Seattle). If you're interested PM me and I'll give you a name to talk to (I'm not a troll).
I just bought a German buddy a 350 for his '57 Bel Air too, also from these guys. Should arrive here in Berlin at the end of the month.