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The Engine Swap Hall of Fame:
Mark Stielow’s ’69 Camaro

September 15, 2011 by Matt

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro

I love engine swaps. My first major car project was an engine swap between two first-generation RX-7s, and it was great fun, albeit challenging. However, even the trial of simply replacing a car’s existing engine with an identical one served a purpose: It reinforced my admiration for guys who can combine disparate engines and chassis. There aren’t many more ambitious or exiting projects for us shadetree mechanics, and guys who do it right become heroes in their respective niches of the automotive community.

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro Engine LS7 LS9

One such hero is Mark Stielow, owner/builder of the above ’69 Camaro, as reported in Car and Driver. Beneath the legendary first-generation F-body skin, Stielow has crafted a thoroughly modern car. He has either upgraded or replaced every bit of ’60s engineering, bringing it completely into the modern era—except, of course, for the styling. The spec sheet reads like a car nut’s fantasy: Supercharged combination of LS7 block and LS9 heads, Tremec 6-speed, Truetrac LSD, Brembo rotors and calipers, hydroformed subframe, rack-and-pinion steering, coilovers all around, 756 hp. Yep, 756. The acceleration figures (4.1 seconds 0-60, 11.8 1/4 mile) won’t impress many muscle car buffs who hone their cars solely for performance at the drag strip, but consider that Stielow’s Camaro can hang with the best modern sports cars on the road course as well, and it’s completely civil and tractable around town. The bandwidth here is amazing. As the automotive equivalent of a 60-year-old decathlete, it’s almost without peer.

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro Dashboard Gauges

Granted, it is a “money no object” kind of endeavor. Stielow obviously had the resources to select the best parts to perform his time-warp makeover on the ’69. But pigeonholing him as some kind of “credit card racer” would be an insult to the attention to detail required by the necessary fabrication, and what’s more, Stielow’s ability to fine-tune the components to work together to extract both the savagery and docility. Make no mistake—it’s one thing to bolt-on all the most expensive geegaws you can find in the catalog; it’s quite another to have the skill to get them to “talk to each other” and make the whole more than the sum of the parts. From the looks of it, Stielow has resoundingly succeeded.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series showcasing awesome engine swaps and builds. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: Chevrolet, Engine Swap Hall of Fame, Muscle Cars, Technical, Tinkering

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