The Chebby smallblock is still the most bang for the buck going in the 1:1 world, and will probably be for some time to come. Tired as I am of seeing them in everything, if I were going to build a V8 rod, I'd go little Chebby just to get something fast, on the road quickly.
...Well, I would have if I hadn't just happened to come upon a '49 Olds 303, complete with Hydramatic gearbox, for $250.
I just scooped up a Buick Straight 8 for when I get around to my rod. 25-7 Tall T, something different.