Survivor! Mark Stielow’s 1978 Chevy K5 Blazer
Mark Stielow helped pioneer the pro-touring movement more than 25 years ago and has built a string of performance-bred ’69 Camaros that are now legendary in that scene. The most recent project for this GM engineer, though, is much more of a cruiser – a classic-meets-modern SUV based on a survivor squarebody ’78 K5 Blazer.
After deciding on the Blazer platform, Stielow scoured to find a nice original example, eventually locating one in North Carolina. While Stielow mapped out the plan for the build, he enlisted Matt Gurjack at Sled Alley Hot Rods to execute it.
A take-out drivetrain from a salvaged late-model truck provided a 5.3-liter, 355hp LT engine, six-speed automatic transmission, and all related components for the build – including the air box, powertrain control electronics, and exhaust parts. The Sled Alley team did a great job of making it all look at home under the hood and even retained all three catalytic converters from the donor vehicle.
RideTech suspension components were enlisted to update the Blazer’s stance and handling, with 18×9-inch Detroit Steel wheels offering an OEM look to complement the original exterior. Inside, Stielow had SPC Interiors craft stock-style plaid seat covers and used Dakota Digital instruments to help integrate the electronics from the modern drivetrain.
Aside from being a Blazer, this squarebody is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Stielow. It’s precise, clean, and performs just as well as planned. Utility with a proper amount of sport and style – what more could you want?
Photos by Barry Kluczyk