So I went with the Edelbrock 4242 and like John, I like it too. The backing plate with the oil pan lip seal is steel and the groove is spot welded on. I just packed the joint between the groove and backing plate with a little Ultra Black on the inside to help prevent oil weepage between the spot welds. It was an easy install.
I switched the water pump back cover bolts to 1/4 20 x 3/8 button head cap screws for extra clearance. I haven't installed the water pump yet but, I fit it with out a gasket and it seems that one gasket should give clearance. If not, double gaskets should be plenty, definitely don't need spacers.
Best part is, when i do the cam change soon, I don't have to mess with the oil pan at all.
I think it is a nice unit and the best of all words for short pumps in regards to functionality, economy, looks and, it doesn't seem like there will be any leaking issues.
Backing plate installed:
the little nuts on the bottom are 9mm nylock and directions say to only snug them so the don't loosen:
Blurry pic but, these button heads give needed clearance for the cover:
I also made a template of the removable cover gasket so when the cover is removed I can make my own gasket instead of buying the gasket kit.
Will update in a month about leaks if any.