First of all, your driving habits appear to me that you really need overdrive. If you went back to a 1:1 drive tranny, you'd be unhappy with that motor spinning up. You'd constantly be shifting into neutral looking for the next gear!
I've installed 700's on more than one healthy big block Chevelle and I can tell you from experience that it's not the transmission itself but how it is built and with what parts as to how long it will last.
The 4L80E is one HEAVY trans! Yes you can make one work but you'd be spending your money on a used piece from a junk yard. It's a roll of the dice. In stock form they're not totally indestructible you know. If it were me, I'd have it rebuilt with good parts and that would cost you $500-700. Then the controller, then you're probably going to use the factory lock up convertor that came with it, right? 1500 stall speed. Not very performance oriented. I've installed 5 700R4's from Phoenix transmission. Check out the site and info. They will build the 700R4 of your dreams and stand behind it 100%. how's up to 600 ft lbs of torque in a 3700 lb car sound? 2 year 24,000 mile warranty?
Ask for Scott and tell him that Jimmy from Granbury told you to call. You'll get extra special attention! www.phoenixtrans.com
Re: Tired of having 700 R4s fail behind my BB should I do the 4L80E or gearvenders TH
stage 3 700 R4 in my big block SS chevelle from Bowtie overdrives no issues! hardened input shafts etc. I had a local trans shop build me one and it lasted 200 miles. Got my money back and go a bowtie overdrive trans.