Flyin’ Miata: Attaining Ludicrous Speed

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Written by The Staff of Motorsport Marketing

From the Nov. 2015 issue

Posted in News and Notes

Stuff a V8 into a Mazda Miata? Sure, why not? In reality, a lot of these conversions produce cantankerous, ill-tempered beasts that suffer from a lack of refinement. Flyin’ Miata has been developing their V8 swaps for years, though, and we recently took one of their house cars for a spin: a fully loaded 2009 Power Retractable Hard Top model.

First, the damage. Yes, it’s about a $50,000 conversion, not including the donor car. However, for your money you get something that could be sold to the mass market, not just adrenaline-fueled gearheads willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience. It’s a valid alternative to a late-model Corvette, Porsche GT3 or Alfa Romeo 4C.

The heart of the swap isn’t a junkyard-sourced engine of unknown heritage. They start with a brandnew, 430-horsepower, 6.2-liter LS3–basically a new Camaro SS engine that carries a two-year warranty.

Then, just about everything else on the car is upgraded, replaced or blueprinted: repainted engine bay, custom aluminum driveshaft, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, GM wiring harness, heat and sound insulation, seam-welded chassis, custom engine tune, fresh hubs fitted with ARP studs, and more. Each car is dyno-tuned, and the air conditioning even blows cold.

The Flyin’ Miata Habu fires up at first attempt, idles like anything sold at the local Chevy dealer, and doesn’t ask its occupants to make any compromises. The clutch isn’t too heavy, either.

Once underway, the experience changes a bit. It’s fast. Like, it’s stupid fast. And if the standard car isn’t quick enough, for $1780 more Flyin’ Miata will do the swap with GM’s 525-horsepower V8.

Here’s the kicker, though: While the Habu offers enough performance for more mere mortals, it’s so docile and refined that it could have come from a major manufacturer, not a small tuning shop.

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Reader comments:

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
Dec. 6, 2016 3:55 p.m.

I can't quite believe anyone would pay for the swap and NOT spring for the 525hp motor.

OldGray320i
OldGray320i HalfDork
Dec. 6, 2016 4:05 p.m.

Flyin' Miata V8 math for me: $50,000 + Hospital bill < $50,000 + $1,780 + much bigger Hospital bill.

I'm gonna hurt myself either way, so...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 6, 2016 4:27 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I can't quite believe anyone would pay for the swap and NOT spring for the 525hp motor.

It's a relatively recent addition to the line. But more importantly, it has a very different personality. The 430 has production car manners, great for a GT style car. It feels like it came from the manufacturer that way. The 525 is feral but is a bit more of a hassle in low speed driving and it is very obvious at idle. Bill at FM prefers the 430, I'm a big fan of the 525. We have the 430 in our NC PRHT and the 525 in the Targe Miata and the ND. All have the correct engine for their station in life.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
Dec. 6, 2016 4:32 p.m.

So when are you strapping a pair of Nelson mirror twins to one?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 6, 2016 4:34 p.m.

That's an Internet Special kind of question. Forum racing. Nobody has ever got out of one of these and asked that question.

paranoid_android74
Dec. 7, 2016 3:18 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: That's an Internet Special kind of question. Forum racing. Nobody has ever got out of one of these and asked that question.

Hmmm... Would that put you at plaid speed?

einy
einy Reader
Dec. 7, 2016 4:46 p.m.

Keith ... are you guys going to be at PRI this week?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 7, 2016 9:02 p.m.

We don't sell B2B so we don't exhibit there. A couple of the guys will be walking the show, though.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
Dec. 8, 2016 7:14 a.m.

I can't help but think that the targa car needs a pair of those mirrors (preferably of EFR variety) and another trip to a certain maritime Canadian province.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 7:22 a.m.

At this point you guys really need to apply for manufacturers status. You are doing as much as Saleen ever did to a Mustang.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 8:13 a.m.

I found this online...

12/8/2016 - Hiroshima - Japanese Automaker Mazda announced today the Zoom Zoomiest car in the car manufacturer's history, the Habu Edition Miata featuring an LS3 V8 from Chevrolet Performance. The Habu is a collaboration with Flyin' Miata out of the United States who provides the parts and engineering expertise to transform the playful MX-5 into a well-sorted - if tastefully overpowered - beast for the street. The Habu edition will be sold in Mazda dealerships with full factory warranty with an MSRP of $43,500, although a 20% discount is available to forum members of Grassroots Motorsports who have achieved "MegaDork" status.

...on a fake news site run by a Trump appointee.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
Dec. 8, 2016 8:15 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve:

I'm dying over here.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 9:59 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: I can't help but think that the targa car needs a pair of those mirrors (preferably of EFR variety) and another trip to a certain maritime Canadian province.

Lack of power was not the car's weak point in that race (well, lack of HORSEPOWER, lack of electrical power was a totally different problem), and it's packing about 50% more than it was last time already Turbos would only make it less reliable so the internet nerds could more easily fawn over the broken car in the parking lot.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:00 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote: I found this online... 12/8/2016 - Hiroshima - Japanese Automaker Mazda announced today the Zoom Zoomiest car in the car manufacturer's history, the Habu Edition Miata featuring an LS3 V8 from Chevrolet Performance. The Habu is a collaboration with Flyin' Miata out of the United States who provides the parts and engineering expertise to transform the playful MX-5 into a well-sorted - if tastefully overpowered - beast for the street. The Habu edition will be sold in Mazda dealerships with full factory warranty with an MSRP of $43,500, although a 20% discount is available to forum members of Grassroots Motorsports who have achieved "MegaDork" status. ...on a fake news site run by a Trump appointee.

I learn the coolest things about our company on the internet!

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:03 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

You gonna honor that price AND the 20% off?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:15 a.m.

I don't even care about the discount, you sell me a new ND with a V8 for $43k and I'm camping out in front of FM like a concertgoer waiting for tickets to go on sale. First guy in line.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:21 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

I figure with EFRs, drinking corn syrup and some water/meth that though horsepower isn't the problem, that 900+HP could be the answer. The answer to likely having a Formula Drift team campaign a Flyin' Miata and possibly not much else other than how to die smiling with poo coming out.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:25 a.m.
Flight Service wrote: In reply to Keith Tanner: You gonna honor that price AND the 20% off?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I'm assuming that if it has a factory warranty, that you have to order it through your Mazda dealer. Let me know how that goes...

NickD
NickD Dork
Dec. 8, 2016 10:57 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: In reply to Keith Tanner: I figure with EFRs, drinking corn syrup and some water/meth that though horsepower isn't the problem, that 900+HP could be the answer. The answer to likely having a Formula Drift team campaign a Flyin' Miata and possibly not much else other than how to die smiling with poo coming out.

Danny George did campaign both an NA and an NB in Formula Drift with 700+hp LS engines (Although not built by FM). Neither was particularly successful. And then recently Mike Whiddett built an NC (with ND front and rear bodywork, RX-8 suspension parts and RX-7 widebody components) with a 1000+hp twin turbo, quad wastegate, 4-rotor. It too has struggled to find a place in the sport.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
Dec. 8, 2016 11:07 a.m.

Danny's putting that drivetrain in an E36 right now. The Miata is just not a great drift car. Although Danny did have a run in our ND V8 for Top Gear Magazine...

Trackmouse
Dec. 8, 2016 2:50 p.m.

What is the origin of the name "Habu"? Is it a precursor to when I have to go to re"habu"?

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