Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
March 12, 2010 9:00 a.m.
stroker wrote: so what does a conversion like that COST? Hardly grassroots, methinks...

class.....repeat after me.....

"Grassroots" does not mean cheap!

Stuffing a V8 into a Miata (or having FM do it) and taking the beast out to the track is completely grassroots.

Not everyone has the time or expertise to take on a project of this magnitude. Just because you call in the experts, that doesn't mean you aren't "one of us".

Awesome build Keith! Thanks for sharing.

joey48442 SuperDork
March 12, 2010 9:50 a.m.

25k for a miata may or may not be "grassroots". I don't think 25k for a 10 mile time capsule 1990 that will never be driven is not very "grassroots". A 25k dollar LS fortified giant killing miata is, when it can perform like cars costing 4, 5, 6 times as much.

My theory is that to be "grassroots" is to take a much cheaper car and have it perform like a much more expensive car. A 1200 dollar miata put on track with 1000 bucks of mods and outperforming a lot of cars costing many times more than it is just as grassroots as a 25k FM miata costing 25k an performing like 200k.

In my humblest of humble opinions.

Joey

dyintorace Dork
March 12, 2010 9:55 a.m.

Grassroots or not, will this latest Miata still handle like a Miata? And, as blasphemous as it may be to say, is that much power in a Miata chassis wise? I can't imagine 100% of it would be useful HP. My LS1 FC RX-7 makes 405 at the wheel and it's quite a handful on the track, given the power level. Add 75 HP and take away a couple hundred pounds makes me wonder if it would be a little scary.

Just curious.

nderwater Reader
March 12, 2010 9:56 a.m.

<hyjack

Why is nobody selling a simple tube frame and fiberglass body which drops directly on top of this??

</hyjack

dyintorace Dork
March 12, 2010 10:03 a.m.
nderwater wrote: <hyjack Why is nobody selling a simple tube frame and fiberglass body which drops directly on top of this?? </hyjack

New Flyin' Miata business model??

ManBearSTIG New Reader
March 12, 2010 10:20 a.m.

I just want to drive it. On those tires. Would be a RIOT!

kreb Dork
March 12, 2010 10:22 a.m.
dyintorace wrote: Grassroots or not, will this latest Miata still handle like a Miata? And, as blasphemous as it may be to say, is that much power in a Miata chassis wise? I can't imagine 100% of it would be useful HP. My LS1 FC RX-7 makes 405 at the wheel and it's quite a handful on the track, given the power level. Add 75 HP and take away a couple hundred pounds makes me wonder if it would be a little scary. Just curious.

Few drivers will be able to get the most from that car. It's kind of like the corner carving version of the 1000HP monsters you see in the Car Craft magazines. Me wonders - if it has 4x the power of a stock Miata, will it go 4x as fast? I think that it's seriously cool. But it's also hard not to think that there's a certain amount of penis augmentation going on as well.

Why is nobody selling a simple tube frame and fiberglass body which drops directly on top of this??

Well it'd basically end up as a rebody, and other than saving a few hundred pounds, and picking up some styling/uniqueness points, what'd be the point? You'd loose the factory benefits of an engineered package, while not taking the opportunity to move the engine back for better weight distribution, or utilizing better suspension components.

Keith SuperDork
March 12, 2010 10:25 a.m.

Actually, I know of at least two people who are working on that exact concept. Seems pretty obvious to me. The Westfield is similar, but it doesn't use the Miata control arms or subframes.

I think $10-12k is a plausible budget for adding an LS powerplant to an existing Miata. Go all Challenge on it, and you can knock some more off it. That's assuming you use used parts and you're good at hunting down deals, of course. The little odds and ends can add up in a hurry, and it's more expensive to do the conversion to an NA like this one than an NB due to changes in the fuel system and gauges. Plus the stiffer chassis of the NB is beneficial, so it's worth spending just a little more for the newer platform. Besides, you'll get more for the parts when you sell the engine, transmission and rear end.

When we do a conversion, we use all new parts. It's basically a new car, despite what the body looks like on this one. It's got the engine from a 2010 Corvette, with a hot cam that gives it an extra 50 hp - and the engine carries a two-year warranty. The transmission is the same basic one used in the 'Vette. Assume we start with a $10,000 Miata and we do $35,000 worth of work to it. The end result has 50 hp more than a 2010 Corvette, weighs around 600 lbs less - and the total cost is $10,000 less than a 2010 Corvette convertible. Look at it that way, and it's a bargain.

Do they handle like a Miata? They do! I'm pretty quick around our local track. In fact, before the 2009 Open House, I was the fastest Miata driver to get around the track in my Targa car. This is a kart track that rewards handling more than sheer power. The first time I took Elvis - the slow V8 car, remember? - out, I went 2 seconds a lap faster than I did in my own car. Elvis is a street car, not a caged racer. They shared the same AFCO suspension, but still. We've also taken it autocrossing at a Corvette autocross, and we set FTD by something like 5 seconds. Yeah, they still handle.

It's not exactly like a Miata, though. The first time I came on to the fast sweeper on the back of our track, I hit third - and the back end lit up and stepped out. I came down that hill on full opposite lock as I rode it out. Other Miatas don't do that. My Seven doesn't do that. The turbocharged Westfield doesn't do that. So you do have to show a little discretion with the loud pedal. At Laguna Seca, it's magic - you'd be amazed at how well the diff works. But yes, it's got a very high power/weight ratio so you have to treat it as such.

I used to be skeptical about these things. I'm a complete convert now - and that's why I'm building what I am in the garage

And as for the desert pink? I'm a Land Rover guy. This is what I think of - the SAS "Pink Panthers".

Keith SuperDork
March 12, 2010 10:34 a.m.

About the body modification - yes, it's pretty minor when you consider the magnitude of the change. We have to widen the tunnel slightly and knock off a corner of the frame rails. A new tab gets welded on the rear subframe to support the diff and the front subframe is replaced by a tubular one. It's fairly straightforward really. I love the fact that there is absolutely no clue from outside as to what's inside.

If you guys enjoy the build diaries, we have a bunch of them on the site.

http://flyinmiata.com/projects/build_diaries.php

Jay_W HalfDork
March 12, 2010 11:13 a.m.

I have been drooling over this swap since you guys first built Elvis. I haven't got the cash but let's just say this is on my bucket list. As sexy as an fd rx7 lsx swap is, I think a sleeper rat V8 miata is even better. It's a modern Cobra.

Tom Heath Marketing / Club Coordinator
March 12, 2010 11:44 a.m.

I've driven Elvis and lived to tell the tale. The chassis is plenty capable of handling the power. I'm only the right batch of lotto numbers away from doing an LS swap on the warbird Miata.

miatame2 New Reader
March 12, 2010 11:50 a.m.

No way I'd paint it tan, but that engine is juicy!

dyintorace Dork
March 12, 2010 11:55 a.m.

Thanks for the handling feedback. My impression is that the essence of the car, which is its attraction, would be irretrievably broken.

That doesn't seem to be the case! And lordy is that motor a great motor.

3Door4G New Reader
March 12, 2010 12:18 p.m.

Add one more dream project to the list...

poopshovel SuperDork
March 12, 2010 12:27 p.m.
The effectiveness of the end result is going to depend on execution. It could look awesome.

FWIW, I think it's going to look berkeleying awesome. Some 'graphite' accents would be teh secks IMHO. Any chance of seeing it at the Mitty?

Duke SuperDork
March 12, 2010 12:35 p.m.
Keith wrote: And as for the desert pink? I'm a Land Rover guy. This is what I think of - the SAS "Pink Panthers".

Heh, those things still give me wood. I built about 4 copies of that from the old Tamiya 1/35th model back when I was a kid!

neon4891 SuperDork
March 12, 2010 2:10 p.m.

[donning a flame suit and crawling into a fall out shelter] So, it's for a gay hairdresser with a small "willie"?

...

... I'm only joking, please don't kill me

PHeller Dork
March 12, 2010 2:24 p.m.

Couldn't 400HP out of a supercharged 4.6 or 5.0L Ford undercut that $12,000 by a large margin?

You could probably get the engine for $2000, Cobra/T-Bird IRS for less than a grand from a drag racer and be set.

Then again I'm not sure how easy any of the adapts to the Miata.

Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
March 12, 2010 3:06 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: "Grassroots" does not mean cheap!

Halleluiah, I'm quoting this in the 'Thinking about GRM' thread.

Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
March 12, 2010 3:12 p.m.

You know I'm ambivalent about V8 Miata's.

On one hand whenever I see one I think 'why bother, a 4 cyl Miata is such a great car I don't see the point'

On the other, whenever I see a Cobra replica I think 'Why not stuff a V8 in an NA Miata and have a cheaper, better looking, better handling and more usable car'

Damn brain cells.

ansonivan Reader
March 12, 2010 3:13 p.m.
PHeller wrote: Couldn't 400HP out of a supercharged 4.6 or 5.0L Ford undercut that $12,000 by a large margin?

The size and weight of the ford engine would be a problem, they're significantly wider and taller than an LSX.

John Brown SuperDork
March 12, 2010 3:16 p.m.

Ford jumped the shark when they stopped building the 5.0L

Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
March 12, 2010 3:20 p.m.
ansonivan wrote:
PHeller wrote: Couldn't 400HP out of a supercharged 4.6 or 5.0L Ford undercut that $12,000 by a large margin?

The size and weight of the ford engine would be a problem, they're significantly wider and taller than an LSX.

Not if your talking about a 302.

Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
March 12, 2010 3:20 p.m.
John Brown wrote: Ford jumped the shark when they stopped building the 5.0L

Yet still outsold the Camaro every year including 2009.

dyintorace Dork
March 12, 2010 3:23 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: You know I'm ambivalent about V8 Miata's. On one hand whenever I see one I think 'why bother, a 4 cyl Miata is such a great car I don't see the point' On the other, whenever I see a Cobra replica I think 'Why not stuff a V8 in an NA Miata and have a cheaper, better looking, better handling and more usable car' Damn brain cells.

Very accurate description. I feel exactly the same.

Though I do love the look of the Cobra replicas.

1 2 3 4

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

The Case for Good Enough

23 hours ago in Articles

On creating things from nothingness.

Ford Got the New Mustang Right

1 day ago in News

The Mustang is crude no more. 310 horsepower from a 2.3 liter EcoBoost.

Podcast Episode 35: Heyward Wagner of the SCCA

4 days ago in Articles

Heyward Wagner heads a new department that is pushing the SCCA into the future.

2014 Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio

5 days ago in New Car Reviews

For those who are not familiar with the Abarth badge, they are basically Fiat’s performance division, like Mercedes’ AMG or ...

Look for Us at COTA This Weekend

6 days ago in News

We'll be at the Lone Star Le Mans in Austin this weekend.

Hitting the Rollers With Our M235i

6 days ago in Project Cars

We dyno our little M-car.

The Latest Issue Just Shipped Out

6 days ago in News

Subscribe today and get it plus one extra issue per year subscribed.

OUR SPONSORS

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More