Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/7/19 12:19 p.m.

We’ll spare you the long introduction and start with a simple truism: Car enthusiasts always want more power. The problem? The days of seeing a 20% horsepower increase from a simple intake and exhaust change seem to be behind us, as modern cars come better and better optimized from the factory thanks to ever-increasing fuel economy and consumer demands.

These days, adding a cat-back exhaust is just as likely to give you a headache as it is to free up horsepower. Face it, unless your car came from the factory sporting a turbo, it’s tough to quickly and cheaply make big power gains. Fortunately, there’s another avenue: engine swaps.

They’re nothing new, and you’re surely thinking about the last 400-horsepower LS swap you saw. This isn’t a story about those kinds of projects.

It’s about a different phenomenon, one brought about by a limitless well of online knowledge and Lego-like parts interchangeability. We’re talking about barely detectable bolt-in swaps that increase displacement without requiring special wiring, custom mounts, or a healthy payoff at your local safety inspection station. Case in point: Good-Win Racing’s 2.5-liter-swapped NC-chassis Miatas.

What’s the big deal? Here’s the elevator pitch: Find the engine in any salvage yard, bolt it in over the course of a weekend, then pick up 30 horsepower and a ton of mid-range torque without adding any noticeable weight or losing any factory drivability or creature comforts. In short, it’s a 20% horsepower increase for less than the cost of a new set of tires.

It sounded too good to be true, so we booked a flight to San Diego so we could see it with our own eyes. Our plan: We were going to engine-swap an NC Miata in less than 24 hours.

Read the rest of the story

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/7/19 1:21 p.m.

A few weeks ago, just before the challenge, I took a peek on CoPart to see if there were dead engine'd NC's for cheap.  There were.

So an obvious class for some challenge is the 2.x NC swap class- keep the set up reasonably equal- perhaps someone can suggest a cheap spring/shock combo.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
11/7/19 1:42 p.m.

I still haven't come to terms with the looks of the NCs. The other three generations I really like, but NCs just do not appeal to me in any way.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
11/7/19 2:42 p.m.
alfadriver said:

A few weeks ago, just before the challenge, I took a peek on CoPart to see if there were dead engine'd NC's for cheap.  There were.

So an obvious class for some challenge is the 2.x NC swap class- keep the set up reasonably equal- perhaps someone can suggest a cheap spring/shock combo.

I like this idea.

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
11/9/19 3:29 p.m.

Very cool write-up, thank you.

So a 2.5 MZR is capable of 196 hp, with a header, cams, and intake? I'm surprised, and excited.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/9/19 5:17 p.m.

Do look for a second opinion on NC dyno runs, there are some optimistic claims that get thrown around. 

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