A 350 swap would probably be a no-go unless you wanna put the Century body on an entirely different chassis (Why?). Your car has front-wheel drive. What I'd look into instead is shoehorning a supercharged 3800 (3.8 V6) out of a later Pontiac GTP, Bonneville SSEI or Park Avenue Ultra... that would make a great sleeper and be a LOT more feasible.
And in the end it's a 90s Century. A lot of people get a grandparent's hand me down and "soup" it up. I resisted that temptation and bought a hot car after college with a good full time job.
Find a used Fox Body Mustang GT without an engine transplant cost. This is a good high school-college car; affordable and fast. Plentiful parts everywhere and join a club. You will need more money for insurance than for the upgrades.
Or a first gen Cougar if you want an older car. Even the 302 then was quick. My mother had a 95, which she sent to an aftermarket shop for the wire wheel, top and luggage rack upgrades. A good reliable car, and I drove it. It's a dependable car, but not a sports car in any way, especially with 4 door. In fact any 4 door is fine as a cruiser, but I would wait for a 2 door before dropping a lot of dollars in it performance wise. I don't even waste my tires with a 4 door next to me at a light.
Really hard to justify all that effort and expense on an old beater.
Not like it would ever happen, anyway.
"Looking to see if it is possible to put a 350ci V8 in it."
You should've bought a Roadmaster instead.
The key point really is that is, while a good, reliable car and an incredibly durable and economic transportation bargain, it's still just a front-wheel drive car. If you want to mess around with performance, do it with a 'real car' - a rear wheel drive one.
A four-door Cougar?? Never existed, although for a short time in the late 60s the Thunderbird could be had with 4 doors.
Actually there was a 4-door Cougar. It only lasted from 1980-1982, and was built on Ford's Fox platform.
Wrong. There WAS a four-door Cougar, from 1977 through 1979 and from 1981-82. There was even a four-door Cougar station wagon in 1977 and 1982 only, so it's hard to find any now.
Funny, when I said first gen Cougar 2 doors I was referring to the late 60s. Make mine an Eliminator. Don't sink your money in 4 doors please. Drive them, but don't drop high dollar drive trains in them.
The Cougar from 1974-1985 was turned into Mercury's version of the T-Bird. The 77-79 models were a far cry from the beautiful and fast 1967-1973 models. The downsized late 80's and early 90's with either the 5.0 H.O. or the supercharged V-6 brought back some of the old performance and style.
If you want a solid V-8 rear drive G.M., a 1980's Monte Carlo would be a good choice. Easy to work on, and up to a 406 C.I. small block will drop right in. Keep the Century for an everyday or winter beater as it is.
All the early 80's GM G-body models would be a good choice. Going from a Pontiac 301 to a 400, or an Olds 260 to a 403 are easy swaps. I'm a big fan of them all, especially the Grand Prix. Before the horrible 1988 downsize.
I have my opinion, and it is wait vs grab any old thing to drop motors in etc. Wait 5 years, save more if necessary, or even longer. Then buy a car that someone else did most of the hard work. And one that's tagged and usable. Going cheap or a massive project usually means little use. Every one is busy these days, or they find even with their own free labor, they spend 2-3 times what they thought.
And I despise 4 doors in cars. And long beds in trucks. I would rather drop an engine in a 55-57 Chevrolet, 67-72 Camaro, pre 73 Chevelle or 64-70 Mustang, Charger, Challenger pre 74 and so on. These cars lend themselves better to your time, effort and financial commitment than odd or "orphan" cars with little parts support or broad appeal.
I like nice cars, and I like getting my money back out of them. Most, I made a good deal of money on to buy an even more desirable model. My next sight is a 67 Mustang Fastback 4 speed. I am willing to save and wait vs a plain jane 3 on the tree six banger 4 door. I could drop in a complete drive train rear etc and add a floor shift and never ever recoup my money back. And probably hate it til it is sold for far less.
Of course 2 door cars and shortbox pickups are more valuable and collectable, but they aren't affordable for a younger classic car enthusiast like myself in my mid 20's.
I prefer long box trucks myself; much more practical to have a full size bed if you are actually going to use it as a pickup. I have a 79 Chevy longbox that I use as daily driver; still gets a lot of looks and compliments. Short box trucks are nice too, but they are overpriced and usually driven by posers who have never put anything in the bed.
Also 4 door cars are much more practical if you actually have passengers in it. I currently own an 87 Caprice Classic, and since it seats 6 passengers and it's super comfortable, it's always the go to ride for road trips etc, as it's the most comfortable car anyone I know owns. I used to own a 2 door Cutlass, great car, but it's annoying to have to let passengers in the rear seats.
Just my opinion, but 4 doors are a lot cheaper to buy and retain their value just as well, so they are not always a bad investment. I always try to buy low mileage, one owner, senior owned, garage stored cars if I can, and usually resell for more than I paid, even with 4 doors.
The attention span for a teen or early 20 something may not last 5 years. Next year it could be an import that is favoured. A 1980's G-body with a good frame and decent body is a great place to begin. Could end up on the show circuit or the junkyard. But the relatively small investment would be worth the experience gained. A classic muscle car in good condition can cost as much as a college degree.
Back in 1980 I found a 1970 429 SCJ shaker hood 4-speed Torino with 60,000 miles, no rust, for $2200. My Dad refused to loan me the $1000 I was short.
I still haven't forgiven him.
The 5 year teen attention span never applied to us.
I started at 9 years old, learning the names of tools and handing them to my father. He had a British Roadster.
My son put new correct seat covers on my 69 SS Camaro as we restored it. He didn't even have his license yet.
If you are savvy, you can own a cool car. Find a Fox Body Mustang. My son just found another for 3500 and it was a convertible. Did all the body work and had it painted. He drove his Mustang through high school and college. By joining a club, he learned and became a scrounger. Taking off parts, selling on eBay etc, and buying Cobra parts slowly. Go on tech forums, YouTube etc today and do just about everything. Tune your car with a laptop.
If you stick with a popular car like a Mustang, parts are everywhere and often cheap, even on CraigsList. He's bought parts he didn't need and flipped for others, on a small budget at first. I flipped a lot of cars and so has he now. I started with a 150 dollar car and grew that into buys as much as my first home.
Old pickups by the way are hot right now. Found a '53 5 window Chevy stepside for 2k, no engine or trans. Needs a new bed. That's an ambitious project, but you can find deals, especially this time of year. People focused on Christmas, fuel bills, the holidays and having cars and bikes sit in the North. You aren't going to find a 428 CJ, but you might find a nice Mustang GT up to 95 at a great price. And still get the 302. That car has to be the best performance bang for buck if you're a teen or young driver. Insurance or not, it's a great one with plentiful parts and aftermarket resources. And plenty of others to pick their brains.