Cams hum free
But, there's always that but, a nice running Pontiac V8 doesn't have to make 400, 500 or 600 hp to be fun to drive.My lowly 220 hp net L78-W72 stock smogger engine powering my 79 TA was a blast to drive for years.That is one of the reasons, not the only one, I shot for those figures on my 406 with 62 heads.Unlike your situation, you can dish the pistons and set it up that way and keep the chambers virgin.I'd shoot for about 9:1 /- and have no issues whatsoever. You named some key things: low maint, reliable, no track.The amount of power you may be giving up between 9 and 9.5 is virtually undetectable in most cases and easily compensated for with other attention to detail, cam selection, tuning etc. One at a time: Maintenance: High compression means keeping it in perfect tune and can lead to nightmares with triming, etc.There is a perverbial "brick-wall" associated with this topic at 9.5 to 1 compression. I won't know the exact compression until I know exact head chamber size, and where the deck height is at.Not exactly sure where, why, or how that started, but it has cost a LOT of folks building these engines considerable power..... I feel it's safe to say though, that the dished pistons will put me in the ball park of 9.5 to 1... and I'm comfortable with anything up to prob 9.7-9.8. Absolutely correct Cliff--if you want to optimize power, compression--high compression--is your friend--especially in a normally aspirated engine.
Finally, the engineers were able to bring back more and more power with a variety of engine changes that included engines with roller cams, aluminum blocks, FI, and ECM that made it a fly by wire engine.That 2000 sg foot home may be fitted with all the great amenities, provide comfort year round and be relatively maintenance free; in contrast to the larger, more robust home that probably requires more of every thing to provide comfortable living.Matt--if your dad wants a nice reliable and spirited Pontiac V8 engine it sure can be done today.Yes, there are always exceptions to the rules that are able to "get away" with higher compression etc., but that is why they are called "exceptions". Sixty8 is right, you can build a sweet machine but all things must always be right.If your luck is anything like mine, the only time I am an exception is when I am being made an example of. Reliability: a 9:1 engine is a piece of cake and will not cause any reliability headaches.
It sure doesn't have to be drag strip tested to prove it's a fun car to own and enjoy.