Thank you Joe.
People spend a lot of money on "hot rod parts" to achieve more horsepower, but also ruin the enjoyment of driving the car. I love horsepower that can be gained without ruining the drivability of an engine. Although attaining such horsepower can cost as much as purchasing those "hot rod parts" I consider it free horsepower because it cost nothing in terms of drivability, and it doesn't impact my enjoyment in driving the car.
The Ross pistons are more expensive than other pistons, BUT they are the least expensive forged - flat top - round skirt pistons on the market. If they are being added to a block originally equipped with dished pistons, that's all the better. FYI the "off-the-shelf" Ross pistons have a taller pin height, for more compression, so keep an eye on the dynamic compression.
A good quality OEM thickness 5/64” plasma moly ring set using a barrel faced ductile iron top ring will cost about $100 to $120. A top-of-the-line "thin" 1/16” chromium nitride faced ring set using a steel top ring will cost $280 to $380. So improving the technology of the piston rings will cost $280 or less.
I believe that combination is worth every additional penny it costs.
The rods are another story. The 351W Eagle H beam rods are $500. The fact that they are made of chromoly steel, have doweled caps, and have 7/16 cap screws fastening the caps makes them a big improvement in strength over the factory rods. Their extra length means they reduce thrust on the cylinder walls (same as the round skirt pistons), they prevent the wrist pin from being pulled out of the bore at BDC, and the piston has a shorter pin height (needed because the connecting rod is longer). The piston having a shorter pin height means the piston will "rock" less within the bore. This is all good engineering which appeals to my German nature. That's worth $500 to me alone, the fact that it frees-up horsepower too is just icing on the cake. Now, the majority of 351C engines are operating just fine with factory connecting rods, so I don't expect everyone to feel the same way I do in this regard. But ... yes ... your $500 expenditure for the connecting rods purchases not only superior engineering and strength, but more "free horsepower" as well.
I can't express it better at this moment.